He is the author of the influential textbooks Basic Marketing: A Marketing Strategy Planning Approach (now in its 19th edition with co-authors William D. Perreault, Jr. and Joseph P. Cannon) and Essentials of Marketing: A Marketing Strategy Planning Approach (now in its 14th edition).
In 1960, McCarthy introduced the Marketing Mix (sometimes called the "4 Ps") as 4 controllable variables the company puts together to satisfy a target market: product, price, place and promotion.
Product: The product aspects of marketing deal with the specifications of the actual goods or services, and how it relates to the end-user's needs and wants. The scope of a product generally includes supporting elements such as branding, packaging, warranties, guarantees, and support.
Pricing: This refers to the process of setting a price for a product, including discounts. The price need not be monetary; it can simply be what is exchanged for the product or services, e.g. time, energy, or attention. Methods of setting prices optimally are in the domain of pricing science.
Place (or distribution): refers to how the product gets to the customer; for example, point-of-sale placement or retailing. This third P has also sometimes been called Place, referring to the channel by which a product or service is sold (e.g. online vs. retail), which geographic region or industry, to which segment (young adults, families, business people), etc. also referring to how the environment in which the product is sold in can affect sales.