What The Marketing Mix Used To Be and How It Has Changed Over The Years

Marketing mix - once taught as an intro to marketing has now evolved to become a core part of a marketing strategy. Find out more here.

January 9th, 2021


7 min read

Marketing Mix: Then and Now

With almost everything under the sun evolving and enhancing, the world of marketing has also gotten a revamp in the recent years. If you were to ask a CMO or marketing associate in the 80s about their marketing mix strategy and the criterias they used to develop it, they would have most likely mentioned the marketing mix 4Ps.

The 4Ps were an integral part of the basics of marketing at the time. In fact, most MBA Marketing courses would often start with the 4Ps and go on to explain each one in detail. And at that time, it worked wonders! The marketing mix helped shape a lot of strategies for brick and mortar brands that were the most common businesses during that time.

What is the 4P Marketing Mix?

The marketing mix is a list of all the requirements a brand's marketing strategy must have. The marketing mix is viewed as a framework that helps marketing and product development teams understand what needs to be done to sell a product. The 4Ps stand for product, price, place and promotion. These 4Ps are correlated and give you an insight into how viable your product would be in the market. In order to understand it better, let's assume you have a brick and mortar store in 1980 Melbourne and you sell bath products.

The 4Ps marketing mix should help you understand how your consumers are going to view your products, how they will purchase them, from where, and finally, what incentive they will have to buy.

  • Product

Product stands for the features and benefits of all your offerings. Let's say you have just launched a new, rose scented bath soap. The benefits of this soap can range from it's fragrance to the long lasting formula that allows your customers to use the soap for over a month to even how supple and soft your skin will become when you use it.

Besides the benefits, the packaging, size, design, variety and quality also matter when it comes to the product mix. Your bath soap need not only be a good product to use, it also needs to stand out amongst other soaps that have similar features. This can be done with clever packaging, innovative designs and sizes, and high quality raw material. These factors will determine how likely it is that your customers will purchase it.

  • Price

Price here need not only be the actual market price of the product, but also the perceived price or the price the consumer puts on the product in his/her mind. For example, if you as a consumer find yourself saying "I will NOT buy this product because a competing brand is giving me a better deal" then the perceived value of the product for you is low. Another parameter could be you thinking "I am willing to travel 10 miles down the road to buy a particular item" then the perceived value of that item for you is high.

This would mean you as a seller need to constantly review your competitors pricing and try to maintain a good balance between your profits and undercutting your competitors pricing. In order to achieve these goals and attract consumers, a lot of brands use discounting strategies. In the past, discounting strategies worked best since customers would well due to the lack of knowledge on the customers part. Off late, thanks to technological advancements and consumer welfare groups, customers are more aware of the price strategies companies use. The growth of freemium pricing and free trials are also encouraging consumers to factor that into their perceived price of a service or product.

  • Place

Places can range from physical stores to online platforms. Regardless of where your brand is present, it is important to make an impression and ensure your clients notice you so they know where to find you or reach out. For example, if you are an online store, be sure to not only have a user friendly website that is easy to navigate to but also establish presence on other supporting platforms such as maps, social media, review platforms and more!

  • Promotion

Promotion is self explanatory. Promoting your services and products is pretty much a no-brainer. Maintaining communication with your audience and starting conversations about things they think are relevant is important to build a relationship with them. This might ultimately push them to become loyal customers of your brand.

Promotions can also include advertising, social media, email newsletters, content generation and more. Be certain to update your marketing communication strategies regularly with the changing landscape of competition and online marketing.

Is it still relevant?

Simply put, yes. The 4Ps of marketing are still relevant. With the changes technology has brought about and the growth of online marketing, these 4Ps are now viewed differently but the basic essence is still intact. There are 2 new strategies that have come into play - the SAVE strategy and the 7Ps.

What it is now? SAVE strategy or 7Ps

SAVE stands for solution, access, value, and education.

  • Solution

    Solution is the equivalent to product in the marketing 4Ps. Your customers these days are not looking for a product but rather a solution to a problem they are facing. In this case, you want to tell them that you not only identify their problem but also have a solution for it.

  • Access

    Access here means place. Especially now when most of the business happens online, customers are looking for easy access to your brand. This would mean that you need to be present and essentially "online" most of the time. For example, if you are based in Australia but are serving clients in Japan, be sure to account for how your Japanese customers would be able to find you.

  • Value

    Focus on the value of the solution instead of the price. What value are you creating for your customers? What is your value proposition? If your customers find greater value in your solution than it's cost price, they might not factor in the cost price as much. Higher value also means that there is a higher chance your customers might come back for a second, third and even fourth time.

  • Education

    You want to build a connection with your consumers and in order to do so you need to ensure you can educate them about your industry and give them all the information they need to eventually become experts. Publish enough content online to educate your readers and become a trusted source for information.

The 7Ps is essentially the marketing 4Ps but also includes 3 other Ps that make the whole framework more reliable. Besides the 4Ps, there are also the following 3Ps:

  • People

    All companies need personnel to rely on to get work done. Right from front line staff to heads of the company, having the right people is important - this ensures your brand is heading in the right direction.

  • Process

    The way to present your service or product to your clients also matters. This can include the after sale services, how much of your purchasing process is self-service, etc.

  • Physical evidence

    This is the physical aspects of your product or service. Yes, services also have physical elements to them. For example, banks have printed materials, credit cards, etc which are also classified as physical elements.

Depending on how you want formulate strategies and the kind of product or service you sell, you can opt to go for any of the above marketing mix ideas - the 4Ps included.

With majority of the control in the buyer's hand, it is upto marketing teams to put their best foot forward and employ the best strategies and bring in a loyal customer base.