Nailing Your Marketing Mix: 4Ps to Consider
by Ana Gotter • August 16, 2018
Right now, how many different marketing strategies do you have going?
It’s unlikely that you’re using just Google Ads or just SEO or just email or social media or content marketing. Instead, you’re likely using a combination of some or all of these different marketing platforms and strategies, creating a marketing mix. This is done in order to give your products and services maximum visibility, and to increase the number of touch points and the methods you’re using to nurture relationships with potential customers.
Small and medium sized businesses know better than anyone, though, that there’s just not an endless supply of marketing campaigns that you can run.
A new number of different factors affect what platforms and types of campaigns you run and how much you can scale them. Being able to weigh all these different factors will help you to strike the right balance in your marketing mix,and in this post we’ll show you how to do exactly that.
What is the “Marketing Mix?”
Marketing mix is the combination of different marketing strategies and actions executed across multiple marketing platforms in order to promote your products, services and/or brand. This includes a combination of organic and paid platforms and a variety of different types of campaigns that may be focusing on different goals like lead generation, recovering abandoned carts, and driving sales.
Your marketing mix should be successfully cover your basis to effectively connect with users in each stage of the digital sales funnel and maximize the visibility of your brand. It should also be tailor-made to your specific business, budget, skill set and audience, and created with four key factors in mind. These are often referred to as “the 4Ps of marketing mix.”
4Ps You Need to Consider
The 4Ps is a concept that was first defined by marketing professor E. Jerome McCarthy in his 1960 book “Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach.” According to McCarthy and a heck of a lot of marketers today, the 4Ps are four key factors that you should use to determine your ideal marketing mix.
The 4ps are product, price, promotion and place, and you need to ask questions about each in order to decide which platforms and strategies would help you best accomplish your goals.
Product (or Service)
This is the product or service that you want to promote and actually want to sell.
When looking at which platforms or strategies will work best for your product or service, ask yourself:
- What audience is this product for?
- What needs and pain points does this product or service address?
- Does it have visual appeal?
- Do you need a lot of text to explain it’s value?
Products that are visually engaging will do exceptionally well on Instagram, for example, and can lose some impact if you’re sticking exclusively to text-based search ads. Meanwhile, listing features of a competitive service on Google Ads will work better for plumbers than trying to run organic campaigns on Instagram. Your specific products and services must be taken into consideration first and foremost.
Where are you most likely to connect with your target audience? These are the places that you want to focus on most.
If, for example, you know that your customers are most likely to trust recommendations from friends, set up an incentivizing referral program. Or, if your audience is on Pinterest and making buying decisions there, invest into organic and PPC marketing on the platform. Many people will use Google to search for new products, so Google Ads is the way to go for many ecommerce businesses.
The right distribution channels are crucial. You can check out what your competition is doing to get some insight, but remember that what works for them may not work best for you.
How much does your product or service cost? What is the value to the customer?
In addition to understanding cost of the product, you’ll also want to know how your price compares to others on the market, including specific competitors.
Pricing can be used as a differentiator. If you have the best deal on the market, use that to your advantage. If your price is higher, you’ll need to work harder to prove value, but you can position yourself as a premium, luxury brand.
Higher cost products (especially with lower production rates) and coinciding higher profit margins can also mean that there’s more room to advertise per sale. You can afford a higher CPC, or more to spend on your email marketing software.
Promotion refers to the specific promotions you run. What messaging will you use? Will users respond most to a discount offer, or a free trial, or free shipping?
In addition to conventional marketing campaigns, press releases, referral programs, contests, guerrilla marketing and word of mouth marketing all count here. This covers exactly what promotions you’ll use to get sales, leads, brand awareness, and more.
Are the 4Ps Really All that I Need?
The 4Ps are an excellent foundation that you should use to start to develop your marketing mix, but they aren’t the only factors that you need to take into consideration.
The other variables that you need to take into account include:
- Your specific audience. All marketing decisions should be made only after asking yourself if your audience will be responsive to said choices. Pinterest marketing, after all, may theoretically be the ideal solution for your product in terms of reach and usage…except for the fact that your audience is predominantly male, and Pinterest’s audience is largely female. And some audiences may be open to some offers, but not others. You need to know how your audience interacts with different types of campaigns to make this decision.
- Budget. Budget is a major factor in your marketing decisions. PPC will obviously cost more than organic social media that you’re doing yourself or content marketing with blog posts you can write in your downtime. You may also realize that due to skill level or time constraints, you can’t actually execute content marketing without outsourcing it to someone else or changing the budget. Maybe you can only afford one post a week instead of the desired four. Budget will determine what platforms you use, how you use them and the scale of those campaigns.
- Knowledge of platforms. You want to run email marketing campaigns and PPC campaigns, but don’t know much about either and can only afford to hire an agency for one service. Which do you choose? Many will choose PPC due to the bigger learning curve and higher cost, and then just focus on one or two social media platforms. Others choose to forgo PPC or influencer marketing all together because they don’t have the knowledge on how to get started.
- Urgency. How quickly do you want to start to see results from your campaigns and which goals are most urgent? If you have a sale you want to promote for Black Friday and Thanksgiving is just two days away, use PPC and email blasts to maximize your reach and ensure it gets seen. Content marketing or social media marketing, on the other hand, are more long-term strategies that can help with relationship building.
Each business has different audiences, budgets, manpower and so many other factors that will affect how the 4P’s interact and which combination of platforms and campaigns are right for them. Because of this, there is no one right answer to the ideal marketing mix.
The right marketing mix will be different for every single business, even if their budgets, size and experience is similar. So while competitor research can be valuable in giving you some insight into where you want to get started, using the exact same mix as your competitors likely won’t get you the same results.
Instead, focus on striking the right balance for you and your business as it exists right now and remember that you can adjust it as your 4Ps naturally change overtime.
What do you think? What marketing mix have you found to be most beneficial for your business? Which of the 4P’s affect your campaigns and marketing choices the most? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!