What Is The Marketing Mix?

The marketing mix is a common business formula used in all forms of marketing, both online and off. The marketing mix is a vital tool in determining a product or brand’s positioning, market, and offer. The formula itself has four components called the 4 P’s:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion

The term “marketing-mix” was first used by a guy named Neil Borden way back in 1953, who at the time happened to be the president of the American Marketing Association(AMA). The term is still widely used to today and the formula remains a crucial part of any marketing plan. Sure, technology and automation has changed the way the formula is used but the core elements remain intact.  

Marketing Mix 4 P’s:

Let’s take a closer look at each element of the 4P formula:

  1. Product – The first of the Four Ps of marketing is of course: product. A product can be either a tangible good (such as a widget) or an intangible service (for example, an accountant) that fulfills a want or need of consumers. Whether you sell tangible or intangible goods , it’s crucial that you understand your product’s appeal (hopefully there is some!) to it’s potential customers before you can successfully position and market it.
  2. Price – Once you get your product dialed in to the market it’s time to start making some key pricing decisions. Are you going after the low end (cheap) part of the market or premium positioning. Both places are good. Where you don’t want to be is somewhere in the middle because you’ll probably get lost. Your price point impacts several key areas such as profitability, supply and demand, and market positioning strategy. 
  3. Place – Where are you going to sell your products and/or services? Online or in a retail environment? The key, as I’m sure you’ve heard before is… you want to place the right product, at the right price, at the right place, at the right time. With the internet, you can often do just that! That’s what makes the internet the most amazing selling machine of all time.
  4. Promotion – Ok, so you have a product that’s priced properly, and a place to sell it. Now how do you plan on selling it? Promotion activities include advertising (both online and offline), email marketing, SEO, direct mail (snail mail), PR, social media networking, video sales letter marketing(VSL’s), coupons, and many more. 

That cover’s the 4 P’s. But in service marketing, the four Ps are expanded to the seven P’s. Let’s take a quick look at those.

Marketing Mix 7 P’s:

Not to be confused with the 7P military adage: Piss Poor Planning Promotes Piss Poor Performance. Although that is a very true motto and one to live by!

Anyways, back to the P’s…

In the 1980’s three more P’s were added to the original 4 P’s and include:

5. People – Of course it’s the people that make the P’s all work so it makes sense to focus on key staff to make the decisions that make up the marketing mix formula. Having the right people is essential because they are as much a part (if not more) of your business offering as the products and/or services you are promoting. Many businesses that had a top-notch product or service failed because of poor planning and management by incompetent people. 

6. Processes –The delivery of your service (whether physically or virtual) is also a key component of the buyer experience and one that is getting increasingly important. That’s why Amazon is toying around with the idea of drone delivery. I believe that idea will become reality in the next year! Having key systems and frameworks in place to get the product or service into the hands of your customers is a very important element of your success. 

7. Physical Evidence – Interestingly, this component of the marketing mix was added prior to the invention of the internet and focuses on the physical elements even if the bulk of what the consumer is paying for is intangible. Even if the material is not physically printed (in the case of digitally-delivered pdf documents – such as an ebooks) they are still receiving a “physical product” by this definition.
The Marketing Mix Infographic:

The Marketing Mix Made Easy

From Visually.

Marketing Mix For Internet Marketing

Of course the internet was a major game-changer in commerce. With the invention of digital marketing, there are many marketers clamoring for new P’s.

The Suggested New Digital Ps:

  • Participate
  • Personalize
  • Process
  • Pay
  • Partner

I’m not going to bother to explain the new P’s since they’re simply speculative at this point. But it’s clear that the marketing mix will evolve over time but the core concept will always be a big part of marketing.

Photo Credit: Visual Content Flickr via Compfight cc