The 4 P’s of marketing, also known as the “marketing mix.” Have you heard of them? Marketers use this term to describe a blending of ingredients that are typically mixed and matched in an effort to tailor marketing efforts toward various target market segment(s).
Whether you’re a business owner, newbie marketer or a social media manager, creating your marketing mix can help you identify several parameters within the business environment that will aid in getting the right message out to the right audience.
Marketing Mix 101
Advertising, sales, and social media all have their place and importance, but they are only a cog in a big wheel of decisions in which you have control. Your ability to get people to stand up, pay attention, buy and tell others about you is dependent on many other factors besides a cool video, headline or slick salesmanship.
A typical textbook marketing mix consists of the following framework:
• Place (Distribution)
(We’ll add a fifth P later)
Underneath each P reside several controllable factors that can play into a consumer’s decision to make a purchase or to go looking somewhere else.
For example, under the “product” framework, everything from your brand name, to the colors you choose for your business to how you package your products will influence how your business is perceived.
Let’s just say you’re in the process of choosing name for a new product. Will your customers remember a name with a whole bunch words, or one that doesn’t accurately describe what your product is about?
What does your product look like? Is it bland?
The Tropicana brand tried restyling the packaging of its orange juice products and met an unanticipated backlash from consumers. This is a great example of how one simple piece of the marketing mix can have a tremendous affect on business.
How about your “price” structure? Pricing products and services can be challenging. Would you consider bundling your offers? What about discounts or seasonal pricing decisions? Consumers perceive price in many different ways. Trying to stimulate demand by lowballing competitors may result in your product being perceived as cheap. Some customers balk at a monthly recurring charge. Others would prefer monthly over a one-time fee.
Is the distribution (“place”) of your products and services seamless for the customer? Are channel partners and affiliates easily able to get the information they need to help you sell? How quickly can you deliver?
How do you “promote” your products or services? Will you focus on using a website? How about face-to-face networking? What does your sales copy and marketing materials say? Are they consistent with your brand image?
The great thing about being able to adjust the marketing mix is that sometimes you can emphasize various aspects and minimize non-desirables in your communications.
The 5th P of Marketing
A fifth “P” or “people” has been proposed many times as an addition to the overall marketing mix, yet hasn’t been adopted traditionally by marketing textbooks. While this fifth P may be considered a part of the promotional aspects of the mix, it could be safe to say that promotion isn’t always a decision factoring in with today’s world of marketing.
Social media likely has a heavy hand in considering the people aspect of the marketing mix and it doesn’t always emphasize advertising and sales, but rather conversation and genuine connection.
In some cases, the “people” your company connects with may never buy from you. This can happen for many reasons related to product, price, place and promotion; however, that very same person or persons may end up being a conduit that leads them to recommend you to someone else who will buy.
What does it all mean? It means that the fifth P is a highly important component in today’s digitally connected world. From the story you tell, to the way you connect, people -your audience plays an important role in your marketing. Each aspect of the marketing mix becomes another part of your story. These components are like a recipe that you control. A pinch of this and a dash of that.
Creating Your Mix
The marketing mix is often times incorporated into either a business or marketing plan and it may be ok to stand alone if you haven’t designed either one. Yet, if you want to get an easier grasp on organizing your marketing efforts and the way you connect with target markets; consider setting up your marketing mix and maybe add a fifth P.
Have you implemented a documented marketing mix into your business? Did it help? Why or why not?