What Are the Elements of a Marketing Mix?

Definition & Examples of the Elements of a Marketing Mix

Business owner studying charts and data on marketing
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The elements of a marketing mix are the aspects of marketing that a business will leverage to promote its goods or services. There are five elements to consider: product, price, place, promotion, and people.

Learn more about how these elements can help enhance the effectiveness of a business's marketing effort.

What Are the Elements of a Marketing Mix?

Effective, efficient marketing requires an understanding of several key concepts, and how to best use them to reach your target market. These concepts are part of the marketing mix.

Your marketing mix is the combination of elements that play a role in promoting and delivering your products and services to consumers or clients. In essence, it's about putting your product or service in the right place at the right time for the right price.

  • Alternate name: the five P's of marketing

There are slight variations on what to include in the elements of a marketing mix. You may see some entities count the four P's of marketing. Others may count as many as seven P's.

How Do the Elements of a Marketing Mix Work?

Similar to SWOT analysis and business plan writing, a marketing mix can often feel like an abstract business concept that is difficult to convert to everyday use. Rather than figuring out how to "correctly use" the five Ps, think of them as reminders to encourage you to better research and plan your marketing strategy.

Product

These are the products or services you offer to your customers, including their physical attributes, what they do, how they differ from your competitors, and what benefits they provide.

Beyond defining what you've got, pay special attention to the benefits your product or service offers, and who are the best consumers to gain those benefits. This means developing a unique selling proposition (USP) and defining your target market. For example, if you sell weight-loss services, what benefits will your customers gain (perhaps better health or more energy), and who are the ideal people to seek out these services (perhaps middle-aged people or new moms getting back into a workout routine)?

Price

This element concerns how you price your product or service. A well-balanced price allows you to remain competitive while still creating a good level of profit.

Pricing can be tricky because you need to calculate the value of what you offer along with what it costs you in materials, time, and overhead to produce it. As you consider those factors, think about what your market is willing and able to pay, and whether or not they think your product is worth what you're charging. You don't want to undercharge, but neither do you want to ask people to pay more than what your product or service is worth. 

Place

This is where your business sells its products or services and how it gets those products or services to your customers. It's also known as "distribution."

Your place lets consumers know where they can find and receive your goods and services. This seems very basic, and in some ways it is, but you have to consider more nuanced aspects of this element, such as the specifics of your product or service, the broader market, and the price of using a given place. If your market doesn't use eBay, then it wouldn't make sense to have your products on the site. If your products are luxury items, you want to sell them in a place that reflects that quality and exclusivity—rather than cutting costs to the bone with a bargain retail space. 

Promotion

These are the methods you use to communicate the features and benefits of your products or services to your target customers.

This is where you put all the information you've gathered to work. You know your product, who can benefit from it, the best price to sell it at, and where to sell it. Now, you have to get people to your "store," whether it's a brick-and-mortar or an online store.

Promotion is all about knowing where your market can be found, knowing how to craft a message to entice them to check out your product or service, and determining the best method for delivering that message (such as advertising, social media, or interviews with media outlets).

The most effective marketing is focused on message and location. For example, if you're selling weight loss products and your market is new moms, you'd want to have a message that talks specifically about losing baby weight and ensure those ads show up on mom blogs or some other place where new moms will see it. 

People

The "people" in this category aren't your customers, but your co-workers, colleagues, and yourself. This refers to how your level of service and the expertise provided by the people who work for you that can be used to set you apart from your competitors.

You can master all the other elements of the marketing mix, but if you or your salespeople are rude, or your customer service systems fall short, it won't matter how good the other P's are. Consumers have a choice about who they do business with, and they prefer businesses that know their stuff, are willing to help, and are responsive.

This is where social media is so helpful—it makes it easier for businesses to build trust and rapport with consumers. However, social only works if you and your staff or contractors are polite, professional, genuine, and responsive.

Key Takeaways

  • The elements of a marketing mix are the factors that businesses should consider when they form marketing plans.
  • There are five elements of a marketing mix, otherwise known as "the five P's," of marketing: product, price, place, promotion, and people.
  • Careful consideration of these five elements will help a business better craft marketing plans that effectively reach their target audience.