Why Are the 4 Ps of Marketing So Important to Your Plan? Example of a Marketing Mix.

by Kris Bovay | 12th September 2009

Your marketing plan needs to include a strong marketing mix program (the 4 Ps of marketing). Use this example of a marketing mix to better understand how to develop the most important mix elements. To create the best marketing mix program, learn how to balance and develop product or service strategies, the marketing mix promotion, the price, the place (or distribution).

Your business needs to focus on marketing planning to ensure your business growth and success. Create marketing strategy that will help you grow! Each business has specific strategies, specific goals and operates in specific environments; define target market and build marketing mix plans that help to build the right programs for your market.

This example of a marketing mix reviews the plan for a Computer Technology firm. The company profile is for a firm that has $2 million in annual sales. It provides a business-to-business service and has 14 employees. The company’s focus is on gaining new business, and retaining existing customers. The goal is to grow sales 10 percent for each year of a three year plan.

Clearly define the services that the company provides. For example, the company offers 24 hour on-call technical support for both hardware and software issues; it also conducts computer security audits; it will assess system needs and provide recommendations; it will maintain service agreements; it will handle back-up protocols and save back-up tapes off-site; and more.

Next, define target market and then develop a benefits package for that specific market. The benefits must provide customers with a thorough understanding of the value of each of the services provided. For example, the custom designed software support package can provide testing and implementation of new version upgrades, bug testing and resolution, communication with the software provider, and more. The cost advantage of this custom package is in the value of an experienced and knowledgeable advocate on behalf of the company in all interactions with the software provider. Another advantage is the experience of long-term employees in a broad range of technologies and software applications. By outsourcing computer support, the customer can save on the cost of in-house technical staff; use specific cost/benefit examples.

Then focus on what makes the business different from the competition; what is unique about the services offered? Determine the key differentiation points. Then develop the positioning of the service provided; is diversification the right strategy, or niche, or low cost, or high value? The positioning strategy needs to be clearly defined. Calculate financial benefits for the advantages and develop them as solutions to the customers’ issues. For example, the company’s success rate in negotiating value added upgrades and customization to new software application purchases. There is a tangible dollar value to that success; communicate it to customers.

For this computer technology business, bundle pricing or product line pricing would be good pricing strategies. For example, an annual contract that includes pre-determined frequency of system back-ups and storage protocols; response times for problem calls; regular appointment times for maintenance; frequency of back-ups; new software evaluation; implementation of software upgrades; and more. The marketing mix promotion materials needs to compare the pricing offer to what it would cost to outsource to other computer service companies, or to do the work in-house (cost of salaries, benefits, training).

As another element of marketing mix, promotion efforts are focused on the sales approach. Determine which approach, or combination of approaches, works best and is most effective: personal selling (face to face and/or voice to voice); advertising, public relations, referral programs, social media, online marketing, direct email marketing, and more. For example, during the last six months the media has been reporting that companies are laying off and cutting staff. Track media reports and look for companies that have cut technical support departments. Then focus a promotional program to address the technical support shortages at those companies. Often, computer technology companies run lean sales organizations; sub-contract or hire professional marketing and sales specialists to develop specific sales and promotions tactics and strategies.

How the services (or product) are delivered to market is the ‘place or distribution’ element of marketing mix. For example, for a business in the retail sector, the element of place needs to describe and plan the store (physical or virtual) location. For this computer technology business example, place is about how the company reaches its clients/customers. For the most part, company staff would be driving out to the customer location to provide the service (or access their systems remotely). Place is important in terms of how clients/customers find you; it needs to be considered in the marketing mix for distribution channels and challenges.

Create a marketing plan that focuses on the 4 Ps of marketing; and use it to focus on product, price, promotion and place. An example of a marketing mix (like this one) can be used as a template for building your own mix program, strategies, objectives and plan. Then, act on the plan.

Before you build your marketing plan, or develop your competitive strategy, check out the resources and examples on More For Small Business, a business and marketing resource. Understanding the definition of marketing will help you build the best marketing plan for your business.

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