The marketing mix deals with the way in which a business uses price, product, distribution and promotion to market and sell its product.

The marketing mix is often referred to as the "Four P's" - since the most important elements of marketing are concerned with:

  • Product - the product (or service) that the customer obtains
  • Price - how much the customer pays for the product
  • Place – how the product is distributed to the customer
  • Promotion - how the customer is found and persuaded to buy the product

It is known as a "mix" because each ingredient affects the other and the mix must overall be suitable to the target customer.

For instance:

  • High quality materials used in a product may mean that a higher selling price can be achieved
  • An advertising campaign carried in one area of the country requires distribution of the product to be in place in advance of the campaign to ensure there are no disappointed customers
  • Promotion is needed to emphasise the new features and benefits of a product

What makes for an effective marketing mix?

An effective marketing mix is one which:

  • Meets customer needs
  • Achieves marketing objectives
  • Is balanced and consistent
  • Creates a competitive advantage for the business

The marketing mix for each business and industry will vary; it will also vary over time.

For most businesses, one or two elements of the mix will be seen as relatively more important than the others, as illustrated below:

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