Does your organization use the 4Ps of the Marketing Mix for its marketing strategy?
Did you sleep through your Intro To Marketing class?
Or, perhaps you didn’t study marketing in college. (BTW–I didn’t!)
Don’t worry–We’ve got your back!
The Marketing Mix 4Ps are:
- Product includes options, quality, design, features, packaging and other related services.
- Price includes list price, marked price, discounts, shipping costs and competitors’ prices.
- Place includes distribution channels, platforms, websites and other online presences, physical locations, inventory, and delivery.
- Promotion includes branding, content marketing, advertising, search, influencer relations, social media, PR and sales.
Use this “Ultimate 4Ps Marketing Mix Guide!” It’s your cheatsheet to get up-to-speed on this core marketing theory.
Even better, we updated the 4Ps concepts to meet today’s evolving marketing challenges. Additionally we extended the Marketing Mix from 4Ps to 8Ps. It adds People, Principles, Process and Performance to meet current marketing needs.
As a bonus, we added the Marketing Mix 4Ps checklist to guide you through building or updating your marketing strategy.
Here’s the academic foundation upon which the 4Ps (now the 8Ps) and Marketing Mix are based.
Neil Borden first coined the term “Marketing Mix.” It consists of:
- Elements that make up marketing programs.
- Forces bearing on a firm’s marketing and to which the marketer must adjust his mix for success. This includes consumer buying behavior, the marketplace, competitors and government.
“At any time the mix represents the program that a management has evolved to meet the problems with which it is constantly faced in an ever changing, ever challenging market,” said Borden.
E. Jerome McCarthy reduced the Marketing Mix to “The Four Ps” in Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach (1960)
In Marketing Management (1967), Philip Kotler defined the “Marketing Mix” as the set of controllable variables a firm can use to influence buyer response.
Marketing management is the art and science of choosing target markets and getting, keeping and growing customers through creating, delivering, and communicating superior customer value.” — Philip KotlerClick To Tweet
In One-To-One Marketing (1993), Don Peppers and Martha Rogers shifted the focus of marketing from mass audiences to one customer at a time to reach your most loyal buyers.
With Permission Marketing (1999), Seth Godin reimagined Peppers and Rogers.
Instead of pushing messages to your audience, they grant you permission to communicate with them.
By defining Internet communications, The Cluetrain Manifesto (1999) transformed the marketing mix.
- Markets are conversations.
- Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
- Conversations among human beings sound human.
Mark Schaefer’s Marketing Rebellion takes this customer-focused approach further. In his view, marketers must put consumers at the center of their focus to survive and thrive.
Why discuss the 4Ps of the Marketing Mix in today’s connected, content saturated world?
Because recent developments and changing customer habits and beliefs require marketers to evolve or become extinct. At its core, the marketing function remains the same!
BTW, I’m not the only marketer saying this!
This message is at the heart of Mark Schaefer’s Marketing Rebellion.
Here’s the case for the evolving 4Ps of the marketing mix.
At the heart of your business, tangible and intangible products and services must fulfill your customers’ needs or wants. To maximize results, provide products and/or services that solve customer problems.
As part of the Marketing Mix, your product includes use, design, packaging, quality, features, colors and size options.
Avoid Marketing Myopia!
Define your products and services with care. Broadly specify products to solve specific customer needs.
Theodore Levitt recommended focusing on improving generic products and/or related marketing instead of on production and delivery efficiency.
Further, Philip Kotler defined the Product Hierarchy in terms of 5 Product Levels:
- Core product fulfills the basic benefit or need.
- Generic product provides the actual product with tangible qualities.
- Expected product offers the generic product plus other attributes consumers want.
- Augmented product gives consumers more than the physical product. It sets the product apart from competitors.
- Potential product provides additional features, tangible and intangible,to delight consumers.
Today, only providing functionality to meet consumers’ exact needs is no longer enough. Your offering must provide additional value relative to its cost. This includes an enhanced brand experience and/or supplemental features.
Of key importance:
92 million millennials have different buying patterns and expectations from their parents. (Goldman Sachs) For example, Millennials seek experiences over ownership.
BTW, as an intangible element of your offer, content marketing plays a key role.
Since price influences profit margins as well as supply and demand, it’s core to your marketing strategy. Further products and brands may be positioned based on their price point. As a result price elasticity is related to place and promotion.
Price depends on packaging (including sizes), discounts, timing, location, shipping, and other offer-related elements.
Further your price depends on:
- Competitive offerings and prices,
- Market share,
- Product branding and quality
- Materials or input costs and
- Customers’ perceived product value and fair price.
You must price your offering fairly and competitively across distribution channels. With a device handy to compare prices, your competitors are a click away regardless of where your prospect’s physical location.
Further new competitors may enter the marketplace closer to the point of purchase. This translates to thinner margins for established companies.
Millennials want to get the maximum convenience at the lowest cost from brands. So, your brand is associated with price!
Place makes your product accessible to potential buyers and their purchase influencers. Today, location includes retail, digital, phone, chat, fax and multi-channel options.
When determining place, astute marketers consider consumer context and product findability.
Expanded platform and device options require your business to be present where your audience spends their time. Take the time to understand your customer’s media consumption.
Determine how potential buyers will search for your offering. Where possible, survey your current customers because their habits may differ from those of your executives. This includes where they are physically and how they’re using their devices such as maps or voice commands.
As part of the Marketing Mix, promotion consists of content, communications and messaging that persuades your audience including buyers and purchase influencers to purchase your product or service.
Beyond creating special deals, find a unique hook that makes your products or services memorable. Additionally your positioning must set your offering apart from that of your direct and indirect competitors. Al Ries and Jack Trout changed marketing in 1980 when they wrote Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind.
Driven by content and conversation, not marketing push, promotion consists of more than your offer. Promotion drives your prospects through the purchase process. It creates a quality experience that helps and answers customers.
With dynamic markets influencing customer choices and decisions, your marketing approach must evolve to meet their current needs.
As a result, marketers have supplemented the 4Ps of the Marketing Mix with another 4Ps to create a total of 8Ps of the Marketing Mix.
In terms of marketing, people includes everyone your business touches. Yes–you read that correctly!
Because how your employees, audience (including buyers), influencers, and others view your company has an impact on the type and amount of marketing needed to persuade people to purchase from your organization.
People do business with people they trust.
Even better, your employees are more trusted by the public than your CEO. (2019 Edelman Trust Barometer)
Your audience seeks personalized experiences. (Forrester 2015)
But don’t create homogeneous experience, offer redundant or duplicate content, or get creepy about how you handle their personal data (Norman Nielsen Group)
Due to low trust, customers and employees turn to businesses and their leaders to lead change. According to 2019 Edelman’s Trust Barometer, businesses must stand for something more than making a profit.
Twitter’s Stacy Minero said it best:
According to Mark Schaefer, “[C]ompanies must be more human to survive and thrive in this rebellion.”
When applying Processes to the Marketing Mix, focus on using technology to improve the customer experience. This translates to delivering marketing messages where, when and how your audience wants them.
From a marketing point of view, this includes the MarTech stack including Marketing AI.
Further, your prospects and customers expect a timely, seamless process (Accenture research). They don’t care about your organization’s internal personnel and technology issues.
Marketing Performance means measurable results aligned with your business’s financial and strategic objectives. Further, marketers must translate their marketing results into language finance and accounting executives can understand.
With increasing marketing budgets and more measurable platforms, marketers feel increased pressure to show marketing ROI.
By using the 4Ps of the Marketing Mix and now 8Ps you maximize the impact of every element of your marketing strategy.
Use these 8 components of the Marketing Mix as strategic levers to ensure business success.
The key to the 8Ps of the Marketing Mix:
You win by helping your audience, specifically prospects and buyers, to find a solution that provides value to them.
Don’t let the fact that the term Marketing Mix first came into being during the 1940s deter you from using it.
The underlying strategy of the 4Ps and the Marketing Mix remain solid. What has changed are the tactics that depend on the media options, devices and consumption choices.
PS: Big tip of my hat to Mark Schaefer who inspired me to write this post!
4Ps charts created by Heidi Cohen – (c)2019 All rights reserved- Permission to use with link to this article.