The marketing mix

Last modified:

Thursday 9 September 2021

Once your market study has indicated who your customers are and where to find them, you can use your "marketing mix" with the aim of developing the practical aspects of your marketing strategy.

You should know what is important to the "ideal" customer, and on what this individual will base their purchasing decision: price, quality, provision of services, environment, image, etc.? To do this, consider the variables making up the "marketing mix": if not all the variables below are useful or applicable to your activity, they nevertheless offer a solid base for the development of your marketing plan and the development of an effective combination.

The 4 "Ps"

In the traditional "marketing mix", there are just four ingredients called the 4 "Ps", which are relevant in the context of the marketing of consumer goods and specific products:

  • Product : 

What is your product's lifespan? What are the specific factors, values? What is its quality, availability? What is it called? Note: a product must not be interpreted exclusively within the meaning of "material" merchandise: It may also be a service or an idea.

  • Price : 

The price gives indications concerning the product you sell as well as the market share you are targeting.  By proposing a high price, you are clearly addressing a different target group than if you were applying a lower price.  It all depends on the situation and the quality of your product.  The more unique your product is, the higher its price can be. However, you may offer a voluntarily low price to become part of a market or to stand out from the competition.  You may also decide to offer discounts or not.

  • Position :

Indicate precisely why you have chosen this location for your product/service as well as any distribution channels you want to use (direct or indirect distribution, are you going to work with intermediaries or not, online, etc.). Distribution doesn't just apply to your sales, but to your purchases as well.  Are any transport costs involved? Do you depend on a "last minute" delivery?

  • Promotion : 

How are you going to stimulate sales, and which channels are you going to use to do this? How are you going to set up your sales area? Are you going to use any advertising?   

The additional "Ps"

Over time, the traditional "marketing mix" has been complemented by additional "Ps" applicable to service companies and knowledge environments.

  • Personnel : 

Human resources are crucial for any sales process. Even if you have an excellent product, you may lose customers because the latter are unhappy with the service, attitude, or lack of knowledge shown by your personnel.  The terms "personnel" must be understood in its broadest sense: it means all collaborators involved directly or indirectly in the development and sale of your product or service, such as developers, management, employees, and even customers.  Well-trained personnel and effective customer service will be extremely beneficial to customer satisfaction.

  • Process : 

Analyse the entire process your product or service will go through, from its development to its purchase by the customer.  How does ordering work, how are you going to process purchase orders, liquidate sales, organise after sales, etc.? In this context, consider contacts likely to occur at any time with the customer, and try to prepare for each of these steps in detail.  Adapt the process to the target group.

  • Presentation : 

Customers rely on the material elements of a service to gain confidence in a product or a company. In which environment is the product made available? Is the signage clear?  Is the appearance of the premises engaging? Have articles or comments been published in the press on the product?  Does the website inspire confidence?

We can even add the following "Ps" to a final stage:

  • Packaging :

Although this element can be included in the "product" point, in some cases packaging is one of the most important ways to stand out from the competition (design). For this reason, this "P" deserves a special mention.

  • Partners :

Some products or services are so complex that collaboration may be essential to make the sales process effective.  Therefore, it may be useful to find out which companies have the same objectives as you and to analyse the relevance of a strategic partnership with one of them.  You will then practice "co-branding".

  • Perception :

A company acting professionally will achieve better results than a company neglecting this aspect. A clear presentation will generate the customer's trust and allow them to better understand what you are doing, what you are selling, and the added value that you are offering.

  • Personalisation :

Impersonal, unidirectional marketing, or mass marketing, is a disappearing practice. An individual approach to customers is always worthwhile and is also largely facilitated these days by the arrival of new technologies.  It is a good idea to collect information on your individual customers so that your products or services meet their requirements.

The 3 "Rs", the 4 "Cs", the 5 "Is" and other combinations

Over time, the P model has been criticised due to its targeting being deemed excessive on the specific product. Despite the addition of the additional "Ps", new variables and new models have been introduced in the meantime, which are more appropriate for specific areas such as e-marketing.  This includes:

  • The 4 "Cs" (Customer solution, Cost to consumer, Convenience, Communication): this model's starting point is the customer and their needs, and not the product or the seller.
  • The 3 "Rs" (Reputation, Relationship, Reciprocity): in this model, the relationship with the customer is of vital importance. How does the customer view the organisation and the brand, how are regular interactions with the customer initiated, how is the customer invited to get involved in the brand's development, etc.
  • The 5 "Is" (Identification, Individualisation, Interaction, Integration, Integrity): These variables mainly apply to online services.
  • Tendency to replace certain existing "Ps": "Place" with "Presence", "Promotion" with "Persuasion", "Positioning" with "Preference", "Product" with "Personalisation".

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