“Marketing” is an overarching term that many people can relate to, but still don’t really know which sub-areas fall under it. Is this primarily about advertising? Or are the sales channels the most important thing? What do I have to consider to ensure that my marketing strategies are a complete success?
These questions are certainly asked by founders who now want to market their products or services. Therefore, in this article, we explain what the marketing mix is, which marketing tools are part of it and how you can use it.
Definition and objective of the marketing mix
The marketing mix describes all activities and measures that are implemented to achieve marketing goals. The mix is divided into four sub-areas: product policy, price policy, distribution policy, and communication policy. The aim is to coordinate these four marketing instruments in order to achieve the overarching goals together.
Once the goals have been defined, you have to determine which marketing tools you can use to achieve them. Therefore, the instruments and measures used can differ significantly from company to company if they have set different goals. Because the sub-areas are called product, price, place, and promotion in English, the marketing mix is also known as the “4Ps”.
Marketing Mix: The 4Ps Explained
To give you a more detailed insight into the individual sub-areas, we want to present them separately. It is important to remember that all Ps are related and interdependent.
This is about the product or service that you want to sell or offer. The product policy concerns all decisions and activities that are directly related to the product. This is essentially about the selection and further development of your products or services.
This, therefore, affects decisions on the design, quality, functionality, quantity, and basically the type of product. At this point, you have to ask yourself the following questions:
- How does my product differ from others?
- What innovations can I show?
- What is the product for?
- What is my brand?
- What exactly does my service look like?
- What is the benefit for my target group?
- What does the packaging look like?
- What lifestyle does the product represent?
Because these are fundamental questions, product policy is seen as the most important pillar within the marketing mix.
Another important sub-area is the pricing policy. This is about pricing and value for money. The price here means the amount that the customer pays when purchasing the product or service. So at this point, you have to decide how much you can charge to make good enough money but still make the customer feel like they’re paying a fair price.
There are different approaches that you can use to do this. It is up to you whether to offer the lowest possible prices with the penetration strategy, offer the highest possible and exclusive prices with the skimming strategy or calculate different prices with the price differentiation strategy.
Most importantly, this decision should align with your product policy. This raises the following questions: At what price do I sell my product or service? What are the terms of delivery and payment here? Do I want to enable discount campaigns?
The third pillar in the marketing mix and an essential marketing tool is the distribution policy. This is where you determine how your customers can purchase your product or service. Here, too, you have several options and you should choose the one that perfectly suits your product and the price.
Should the customer be able to buy your product directly from you and without intermediaries? Or does it make sense to operate your product through intermediaries so that you can concentrate solely on production? But maybe the multi-channel structure is also interesting for you, in which you use several channels and thus design directly as well as indirect paths.
The central questions are the following: Can I store my product well and easily? Which channel suits my target group? Does my product require explanation and should it, therefore, be demonstrated by specialist personnel? Which distribution channels does the competition use?
Let’s come to the last pillar of the marketing mix: the communication policy. Just because it’s listed last doesn’t mean it’s unimportant. On the contrary, your customers should ultimately find out about your product or service. And that’s exactly what it’s all about: How do you communicate your product?
Because you should never see communication as a one-way street, but rather as a possible exchange. And for this, you have to think about suitable communication channels, which in turn match the rest of the marketing tools and, above all, your target group. And with all these considerations, you must not forget to also consider internal communication.
Therefore, questions arise at this point such as: How do I reach all stakeholders? What message do I want to convey? Which channel is suitable for which message? And which channels is my target group using? What do I want to achieve with my communication?
In terms of communication policy, for example, a dedicated website that presents all your products to your customers is suitable for this. Marketing expert Eric Kaiser, managing director of the online marketing agency We like Social Media, is also convinced of this strategy:
“The website is your company’s virtual business card and your online shop window. Because customers no longer look for you in the phone book – they google. And then when they find your website, that’s the selling moment.”
That’s why it’s crucial that your website looks professional and wows your customers.
Expansion of the marketing mix
Over the years, the basic marketing mix model has changed somewhat, adding even more Ps. To give you a comprehensive picture, we will also explain the post-marketing tools.
When it comes to personnel policy (People), the focus is on your employees, who form a direct link between the manufacturer and the customer. They are therefore the people who have the most contact with customers and therefore play a key role.
In this way, they also represent your company to some extent and can not only explain your product to customers with their expertise but also influence them to a certain extent. So you should take time for your employees and also invest in further training measures. Make them feel like they’re doing important work, and that’s what they’re doing. If your employees are happy, the chance that your customers are happy is definitely higher.
The process policy (process) refers on the one hand to the customer experience and thus to a customer-oriented process. On the other hand, also on the general process management, which also includes technical processes in product manufacture.
When does who do what? And at what point does the customer come into this process? These questions will help you to make your processes as efficient as possible and to increase customer satisfaction through improvement measures. Because here, too, a perfect customer experience is your goal.
The equipment policy (physical evidence) is understood to mean, for example, the equipment and design of the sales rooms or the company. This includes all the features of your company that can have a concrete effect on the customer. Therefore, this marketing tool is only important if you come into contact with your target group in one place.
If you have several branches or stores, an appealing interior design or “matching outfits” for the employees can not only be eye-catchers. They can also have a special effect on the customer.
It should now be clear to you what is important in a holistic marketing concept. The important thing to remember here is that everything has to be coordinated and tailored. For example, you shouldn’t offer a glitter smartphone case at a high price via an online shop and communicate this offer with advertising flyers.
As crazy as this example may sound – it makes it clear that all four marketing tools are not coordinated with each other. Because with this product you will not reach your target group through the selected marketing measures. So it’s about formulating goals beforehand and achieving them using a well-thought-out marketing mix.