Illustration by Avery Adamson

“The Four P’s” refers to the four crucial aspects of marketing: Pretzels, Pancakes, Pizza and Popsicles. Just kidding. Actually – the four P’s are Product, Price, Promotion, and Place. If you want to successfully market something, you’ve got to get those four things right.

Eat Your P’s

Say you start a business selling pancakes with pretzel chunks on popsicle sticks from a food truck, for $10 per stick, and hoping sales will take off from word of mouth.

But it doesn’t happen. After two weeks driving the truck around at breakfast time, you still haven’t sold a single pancake stick.

So you start asking customers: Why don’t you want my pretzel pancakes on popsicle sticks for ten dollars?

And they tell you exactly what they think:

“I don’t go to food trucks for breakfast.”

“Pretzel chunks in pancakes are gross.”

“Ten bucks is too much for something I don’t already love.”

“Pizza on a stick could be cool, but only if the stick is big enough”

“I mostly try new things when I see them on social media.”

You write all this down, and then sit down with some pancakes (you have lots) to contemplate next steps, keeping in mind the four P’s:

Product: Maybe pretzel chunks would go better in pizza than pancakes? And maybe I need to use the pretzel itself as the stick, rather than a popsicle stick?

Price: Maybe I should start at $4.99, to make it an easier first-time purchase decision?

Place: Perhaps a food truck isn’t the right place for breakfast, so I should try lunch or dinner instead?

Promotion: Maybe I should use social media to get the word out?

And tah-dah (sound of pretzels crunching), you have a new marketing strategy!


Two years later, your business has taken off. Pauline’s Pretzel Pizza Pops has become a global mobile food phenomenon, with thousands of trucks in operation, dedicated pretzel factories, and your own in-house social media marketing agency.

All because you paid attention to the four P’s… and listened to customers!

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