The standard 4 Ps of marketing (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) have not kept up with the new marketing world.
Definition: A marketing mix is the set of marketing tools you use to sell products or services (or a charitable mission) to your target customers.
Marketing is no longer about “pushing” messages out to buyers by interrupting them to hear you. Instead, you can now directly engage with your target audiences, drawing them in through multiple marcom channels.
This now makes the 4 Ps obsolete, in my opinion. Even though alternatives exist, I recommended adopting the 5 Ws of journalism to develop your marketing mix in my 2015 book, Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most For Small Business Success. These can make planning easier, especially for non-marketers.
WHO: To whom are you marketing? Identify your target audiences.
WHAT: What products or services are you promoting to each audience?
WHERE: Where are you marketing to each audience? Where are your products and services available? Which marketing communication channels are you using to reach out to each target audience?
WHEN: When are you marketing to each audience? What is the time frame for each tactic?
WHY: Why are you marketing to each audience? What is the associated strategy?
Here’s a matrix of this model with an example for a B2C cosmetics company. Please note that this represents the beginning of writing the mix and is by no means a complete matrix.
Once you complete the final marketing mix, you can add details to create your action plan. The action plan will guide you through the steps required to complete each marketing and/or branding tactic and should also include the following:
- An estimated budget for each tactic.
- Identify who will be responsible for implementation and/or oversight.
- Materials or equipment required.
- Deadline for each task. Work backwards from the date of the completed tactic to establish a reasonable timeline of activities. (Always allow more time to accommodate any setbacks or delays.)
Once you add estimated budgets and timelines for each tactic in the marketing mix, you may discover that you cannot possibly do them all. This is the time to identify your priorities while you put others on hold until you have the necessary resources.
You can create an action plan for each month, each quarter, or an entire year. I wouldn’t advise going further because things change so quickly that you’ll find yourself re-doing it if you plan too far in advance. As it is, you’ll be tweaking the plan as you go along, adjusting as you measure results.
No matter how organized you believe you and your team are, developing a structured action plan will keep everyone on track and accountable to one another. If you have project management software that can make things easier, use it. If not, Microsoft Excel® spreadsheets can work, too.
In keeping with the marketing mix matrix example, I have added the beginning of an action plan. You can adjust the template in any way that works for you. My example is not set in stone.
Marketing can be complex for smaller businesses and nonprofit organizations. Making it easier and effective should help you focus on the most important strategies and tactics.