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Communication Tools: The Marketing Mix



The Marketing Mix is probably the most famous phrase in marketing and was coined by Neil H. Borden in his article 'The Concept of the Marketing Mix' in 1965. The elements are the marketing 'tactics', also known as the 'four Ps':

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion

Some commentators increase the mix to the 'five Ps', to include:

  • People

Others will increase the mix to 'seven Ps', to include:

  • Physical evidence (such as uniforms, facilities, or livery)
  • Process (i.e. the whole customer experience e.g. a visit to Disney World)

The concept is simple. All cakes contain eggs, milk, flour, and sugar, however you can alter the final cake by altering the amounts of mix elements contained in it. It is the same with the marketing mix. The offer you make to your audience can be altered by varying the mix elements.

In the think tank world of policy influence the concept is still useful, particularly so when considering the promotional strategy. In planning the message, we have considered the product (the content of the message, or the issue), the physical evidence (the credentials to back up the message, or the research) and the price (how politically controversial the message will be, or the position). In planning for the policy audience, we considered the people (the policy audience we are communicating with).

We have adapted the marketing mix for influencing in the table below. In developing an influencing strategy one needs to consider the usefulness, credibility and political cost of the message; which decision-maker at what place and time it will be targeted at; and with what support, promotional package and ongoing relationships management it will be delivered.

This tool first appeared in the ODI Toolkit, Tools for Policy Impact