Marketing mix: a step by step guide to effective communication

Marketing mix: what is it?

The Marketing mix, also known as the four P’s of marketing, is a set of coordinated and coherent actions to build the optimal marketing strategy for a product or service.

It has been repeatedly emphasized that in-depth knowledge of the target market and an accurate understanding of the target audience are essential conditions for companies to choose which marketing strategies to adopt.

Unfortunately, for many marketers in the market today, and those aspiring to be, this concept seems to be overlooked. Many seem to take for granted, if not ignored even basic knowledge, what the marketing mix is and what the marketing levers are, which is why it is important to train oneself and learn the most suitable methods and strategies to transform oneself into a complete digital professional. Sign up for the Digital Marketing Course!

Do we really know what it is? Let’s find out, going into detail.

The 4 P’s of the marketing mix

The 4 P model of the marketing mix was theorized by Edmund Jerome McCarthy in his book Basic Marketing.

A Managerial Approach” in 1960. Almost sixty years ago, McCarthy identified the 4 levers of the marketing mix that can be used in concert with each other to achieve business objectives. The 4 Ps: product price place promotion, which we will look at specifically a little later, are important throughout the product life cycle.

marketing mix 4 p

With a good marketing mix, it will be easier to focus and reach the target market more precisely. Defining the 4Ps strategy will lead to better sales results than an uncoordinated marketing and communication strategy.


Managing the product variable means designing and developing the right products/services for the target market. This implies developing strategies to modify existing products, add new ones, and cyclically check that the product/service has characteristics that will satisfy the customer.


This is the amount of money the customer pays to purchase the product/service. Pricing is not straightforward, because each of us assigns a value to a product/service according to our needs or desires. It is, therefore, an absolutely subjective value.

The price variant helps to shape the perception of the product in the eyes of the consumer. Too low a price, for example, can make a product lose its appeal and even make potential customers suspicious. Conversely, a price that is too high, compared with the competition, may not be appreciated by the prospective customer because it exceeds the value he or she has attributed to it.


The commercial success of a product depends on the channels chosen and its distribution. To make penetration happen, it is important to try to understand the target audience and interpret their habits.

There is a correct way to proceed in order to reach the target. To be present in the market and, once the channels have been identified, keep an eye on the competition to understand their strategy and possibly anticipate it.


It is the set of activities of an organizational, creative, and economic nature aimed at launching, promoting, and making the product/service appreciated on the market.

Using multiple channels and media starting with traditional ones such as radio campaigns, advertising, TV, press, and billboards can be a good starting point. More recent channels and strategies such as direct marketing, social network marketing, video marketing, and mobile advertising can be added to it.

Communication uses this mix as a fundamental step to reach potential buyers and convince them of the goodness of the product.

The evolution of the marketing mix: 4 P, 7 P, 4 C, 4E

With the continuous evolution of the market and technology, to the market mix of the traditional 4 P’s, which has increasingly become a very multifaceted and constantly evolving social process, another 3 P’s have been added – people, process, physical evidence – to emphasize the growing importance of the human factor not only in the relationship with the customer but in the broader process of business management.

Thus we began to talk about the 7 P marketing mix model. In 1993, Robert F. Lauterboun proposed this further new approach, to be integrated with the traditional marketing levers of the 4 Ps: the 4 Cs of the consumer (customer need, cost to consumer, convenience, communication).

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The 7Ps of the marketing mix

With the 7 P’s marketing mix model, product, price, place, and promotion are added.


The people factor is used to indicate all people belonging to the same or a closely related target group.

The 5th P of the marketing mix is useful for managing communication with customers and potential customers. With targeted actions (e.g. remarketing, lead nurturing), the characteristics of the target customers can be understood and deepened so that the product, price, and overall marketing strategy can be improved.

marketing mix model

Consumers no longer want to deal with impersonal companies and brands. This process has led to the identification of the brand with the people who offer it at that moment. In this sense, the people who represent a product or service are the custodians of its reputation. Any company employee who is in contact with customers and potential customers needs specific training to motivate them and make them experience the real benefits of the product.

To put in place the best strategy for managing your target audience, you can use CRM software, tools that offer specific database management features and allow you to have in one view all the information on current and potential customers and to define the best strategy for contacting them.


These are all the processes involved in the delivery of a product or the use of a service by the customer. The organization has a strong influence on the service offered, optimizing processes is what enables quality services to be offered and expenses to be minimized.

Having an efficient and functional production system helps both the consumer to immediately perceive the company’s efficiency and the company to work in an organized and productive manner.

Physical Evidence

“It is the practical demonstration of our product, our service. It is the evaluation of what the customer to whom a service has been provided or a product sold thinks.

Especially on the web, people look for evidence, testimonials, and reviews before buying a product, relying on other people’s testimonials of experiences they have already had.

This leads them to form a mental image of the company selling the product. It is an essential step for the company to create a positive image in the minds of customers, as this may or may not increase perceived trust.

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The consumer: The 4Cs

Within the 4 Cs model, the focus is on the consumer. The planning “focus” therefore shifts entirely to the customer. The 4 Cs model involves the analysis of the following variables.

Customer Value

Value of the product as conceived by the consumer. Companies must be able to impersonate the customer in order to determine what ancillary services the customer would need when purchasing the product.

In addition, identify which services the user would need, but currently not yet provided, even by competitors. Customer need is mainly used in the launch phase of new products, but also for the differentiation of a product from those of competitors.

Customer Costs

Understand the price the consumer is willing to pay while remaining financially satisfied.

Customer Convenience

The company tries to choose the most convenient distribution methods for the consumer, thinking about the consumer’s real needs.

Customer Communication

Consumer-oriented communication does not mean advertising or merchandising, but the term means a semantically broader concept aimed at building a brand, a name, and a lasting bond with the customer.

The 4Es of marketing: why the 4Ps are outdated

Just as McCarty, in the 1960s, theorized the 4Ps of marketing, recently Brian Fetherstonhaugh, global CEO of OgilvyOne, proposed the 4Es of marketing.

This new model presents itself as an update of the 4Ps. In fact, marketing is a discipline that requires keeping up with the times. This is why a theory that up to ten years ago might still have made sense, today risks being inadequate in the absence of updating. Let’s find out why the shift from the 4Ps to the 4Es of marketing has occurred.


If before, as mentioned, the product was the main element of the marketing mix, experience has recently taken its place. In the past, product characteristics were displayed in detail, sometimes even exaggerated, in order to increase sales.

However, while this approach favored the sale of a good, it also generated disappointment in buyers. The latter, believing the company’s promises, would buy the product only to discover that it did not match their expectations.

For all these reasons, the product has been put aside and the experience has entered the scene. Indeed, experience is what really succeeds in engaging potential customers and attracting them to a brand. By creating positive emotions and feelings, a bond can be created between a brand and consumers. A bond that is likely to last over time.


It certainly cannot be said that price has lost its importance, for the purpose of any business is the sale of products with a view to profit. However, there has been an evolution in the understanding of the exchange that takes place between seller and buyer. It is no longer just a matter of taking money to give a good in return, but of adding “value”.

This value is something the customer gets, in addition to the product, after making the purchase. Consequently, a company that does not want to remain anchored to the strategies of the past must think about what it wants to offer its consumers in order to get their attention and loyalty in return.


With the advent of digital, purchasing methods have changed a lot. Whereas before it was necessary to get products to physical outlets, now with e-commerce it is no longer strictly necessary to have intermediaries.

purchase anywhere

Purchasing can be done anywhere and without time constraints. That is why we move from a place (distribution) to every place (everywhere). One can buy a good, as well as a service, through the use of mobile, breaking down all physical boundaries and speeding up the process.

The sense of “everyplace”, however, also translates into a solid presence on social media, as well as the building of one’s own brand website. By doing so, potential customers can be more easily engaged and then turned into consumers.


The promotion of a product is still crucial in a winning marketing strategy. Here too, however, advertising has evolved a lot. In today’s society, there is more moderate use of the kind of one-way promotion typical of the past. Consumer involvement has become an essential element of a new way of marketing. One wants the buyer himself to speak well of the brand.

To make this happen, the company must necessarily find topics that closely affect a large segment of the population. If people recognize themselves in that message, they will be moved and will be in favor of conveying that particular topic.

The brand then, rather than extolling its own qualities, strives to satisfy customers to the point where they spontaneously recommend products. Here, consumers become testimonials of the brand in general and of a specific product in particular. In doing so, it is the word of mouth that fuels a brand’s reputation.

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E-marketing mix: the new frontier

The Internet has changed the way companies sell their products and services. Consumers use the Internet to research and purchase products online. Companies, therefore, use online strategies to attract customers and create effective communication. The e-Marketing mix refreshes the marketing mix ready for the online market.


The purchasing process is highly customized. Companies can offer together with the products purchased online a whole series of related products that increase the value of the main purchase. The online product can also be easily customized to meet consumer needs once again.


Just as in the offline marketing mix, online pricing policies, as already mentioned, are not easy to set up. The Internet offers consumers the power to look around for the best deal. For example, comparator sites compare prices from different websites informing consumers where the best deal is. This easy access to information prevents prices from rising within the online world making them very competitive.


It is the biggest change in the marketing mix: online purchasing.


Today, the company is no longer in a privileged position vis-à-vis the market. The customer wants to be a protagonist, to be considered, and to feel unique. Promotion evolves into communication, i.e. into a two-way company-customer relationship.

The company talks to the customer but the customer also talks to the company in a constructive and positive relationship. The evolution of the media has made this possible. Hence the growing importance of Web 2.0 tools.

Blogs, forums, and communities are all tools to establish a new relationship. This does not mean that traditional media must be abandoned. The communication mix simply has to expand, mixing all tools wisely and strategically. Truly putting the customer at the center.

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