One of the first things you’re taught in your Introduction to Marketing class is that marketing can be best explained using the marketing mix — also known as the four P’s.
They are — and say ’em with me, because if you took that class, you know these four words by heart:
One of the first things you’re taught in your first marketing internship or job, however, is that marketing entails so much more than can be simplified in a four-section marketing mix matrix.
Still, there’s an undeniable benefit of marketing teams organizing their work into the marketing mix framework.
When you stray too far away from the four P’s, it can be easy to lose focus on your purpose as a marketer.
Marketing truly is about teams and individuals working together to promote a product in the right place at the right price point. Efforts beyond this scope are essential, but they do all stem off of this foundation of the marketing mix.
Here, we’re going to dive into what a marketing mix is and how to develop a successful marketing mix strategy for your own company.
The marketing mix refers to the actions a company takes to market its product(s) and/or service(s). Typically, it acts as a framework for breaking down the four key components of marketing — product, price, place, and promotion.
The marketing mix helps companies organize their marketing initiatives by task and department for more process-driven and impactful marketing campaigns.
This framework has roots back to the 1940’s and has been evolving ever since. While some elements have been added or tweaked over the years — most notably for the modern digital age — the core elements of the marketing mix (i.e. the four P’s) have remained consistent for decades.
Need a way to visualize your marketing mix to share it with your employees or investors? Use these four marketing mix templates to organize your initiatives and activities by the right section. Click here to download them now.
The core elements of a marketing mix are product, price, place, and promotion — known as the four P’s of the marketing mix. When perfected and synchronized, these elements provide a well-rounded approach to marketing strategy.
Product refers to what your business is selling — product(s), service(s), or both. The bulk of the work in this element is typically done by product marketers or managers. Nailing the product element of the marketing mix means doing extensive research and development, understanding the need for the product, developing a product launch plan and timeline, and educating customers and employees — especially salespeople — on the product’s purpose.
Price refers to the price point at which you’ll sell your product(s)/service(s) to consumers. Arriving on this dollar amount requires consideration of multiple pricing strategies, analysis of similarly priced products in your market, and insights from consumers through surveys and focus groups. Price speaks to positioning in the market, the speed at which you want to penetrate your market, and your company’s revenue goals and profit margin.
In the marketing mix, place refers to where your product or service will be sold. For tangible products, this will include physical locations such as your own store, or a retailer where your product will be resold. It can also include the other methods where your products can be purchased, like online or over the phone.
Promotional activities are those that make your target market aware and excited about what you’re selling. While this does include paid initiatives like commercials and advertising, promotion also entails organic initiatives like word-of-mouth marketing, content marketing, and public relations.
While the marketing mix can often be simplified down to the 4 P’s, the expansion of the scope of marketing in recent years has resulted in more P’s added to the list.
For example, Smart Insights includes the following elements in its marketing mix definition:
Some of the other P’s can include:
These other marketing mix elements should be utilized as you see fit for your projects. However, every good marketing mix should rely on a thorough exploration of those first 4 P’s of product, price, place, and promotion.
Because the marketing mix incorporates elements from across your department — and even your company — it’s imperative to establish a marketing mix strategy for each product you launch, or for your company as a whole. For a fully-fleshed out marketing mix, follow these steps.
The success of your marketing work is first and foremost contingent on your product. Make sure it’s well-developed and your team can speak to its benefits and the story behind it.
Best practices in this step include:
Taking these actions ensures you’re making every effort to understand and solve for your customer, providing a solid foundation for your product to launch successfully.
A lot goes into choosing a price point — so much so that we wrote an entire guide to pricing strategies.
Luckily, you’ll be able to refer to much of the work done in the previous section. Thanks to your understanding of your market through research, you’ll have answered most of the necessary questions in this section. You’ll also need to take your costs into account so you can maximize unit sales and profit.
During this stage, make sure you do the following.
The place part of the marketing mix answers where your product will be sold. Keep in mind, this can be any combination of your store, a distributor’s store, or online. You’ll want to address the following points before moving onto the promotion stage:
Finally, it’s time to promote your product. While this is probably the element most associated with marketing, it’s crucial that this element be completed last, because you need the foundation of product, price, and place before determining promotion tactics.
Think about it — shouldn’t you know what you’re promoting, why you’re promoting it, and where it’s available before actually promoting it? It’s tempting to jump right to this step, but your promotion will be much better off if it’s done after everything else in the marketing mix.
Once you do have that understanding, consider the following promotional channels and choose the one(s) that make the most sense for your product, its buyers, and its price point:
Every company’s marketing mix is different, placing emphasis on certain factors over others.
Some businesses use their marketing mix for a single product, while others adopt a company-wide marketing mix. However, all examples of good marketing mixes never fail to neglect the word mix. All elements of the marketing mix are important, so don’t be quick to overlook any of them, and find ways for different elements of the mix to overlap and share goals.
With so many activities happening to support a single initiative, it’s helpful to organize everything in a single template for easy reference. Here are a few examples of marketing mix templates your marketing department can use, in addition to when they might make sense to reference.
This template is a great starter for organizing a marketing mix. It’s ideal for one product and for the marketing mix’s maker to get an understanding of all the elements involved in the marketing of a product.
For a marketing mix that applies company-wide, this template is a perfect fit. You can outline the initiatives that apply to most or all of the products and/or services in your suite.
For when you need to get right to the point with a more organized, actionable visualization, use this structured, bulleted template for quick reference and clarification.
Finally, a production marketing mix template is best utilized for internal reference. This template answers questions on the go-to-market efforts for products and services that you’re selling.
Whether you’re a student just learning to understand everything that marketing entails or a CMO hoping to clearly convey the work that your team is doing to your fellow employees, the marketing mix framework is an essential tool to help you get the job done.