Move Over 4Ps – Revealing the Better Marketing Mix!



How long have we been using the 4Ps of marketing? Marketer E. Jerome McCarthy proposed a 4Ps classification in 1960 – 56 years ago! Maybe it’s time for an overhaul?

First, let’s understand the 4Ps so we can improve upon them. In my book, Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most For Small Business Success, I describe them this way:


“What your business sells to its target audiences (includes name, brand identity, appearance, packaging, functions, features, benefits).”


“How you price your goods and services (value, discounts, seasonal, sale pricing).”


“Where you sell your company’s goods and services (distribution, locations, inventory, shipping).”


“How you promote your goods and services to target market segments (advertising, sales, public relations, marketing communications).”

I suppose it’s OK and can still work, but for smaller businesses (or nonprofit organizations), simpler is better. So, I developed a better marketing mix. (I know, you’ll be the judge.)

Here’s my explanation:

“Because marketing is no longer about ‘pushing’ messages out to buyers by interrupting them to hear you, marketers can now directly engage with their target audiences, drawing them in through the different stages of the new sales cycle. First, prospective customers become aware of your business’ brand or its products and services. This may be the result of content marketing, word-of-mouth referrals, search engines, webinars, and other channels that attract their interest.

After prospective customers see the same messages in multiple channels, they may be more keenly interested in your business’ products or services. If they decide to explore more about your business, they can research review sites, browse your website, or ask others if they have heard of your company.

They can also contact your business to seek further information. That’s the perfect time for you (or sales people) to engage with prospects further, solving their problems and fulfilling their needs. If prospects are not interested at that moment, they may (or may not) bookmark your site or file your company information for future reference.

After prospective customers have completed their research, they then make a decision whether or not to make a purchase. If they do, they convert into customers and the relationship continues.

You want to thank these new customers, engage them, and give them reasons to stay loyal to your business. The ultimate goal is to earn their trust so they become one of your company’s brand ambassadors, tooting your horn for you.”
(Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most For Small Business Success ©2015, Elaine Fogel)

Since many smaller businesses can’t afford to hire marketing consultants or agencies, and many business owners have limited marketing knowledge, I will now reveal “the better marketing mix!”

My Marketing Mix Based on the 5Ws of Journalism:

  • 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.


If you find that your marketing mix is heavier in one channel than in another, you may decide to drill down even further.

If you rely a lot on content or social media marketing, you can develop a separate, auxiliary plan for these channels. Of course, this will depend on having the time availability, inclination, and desire to go into more detail. However, it will be a valuable asset for evaluation purposes.

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.

Whether you decide to adapt my 5Ws or not, the most important advice comes from author, Lewis Carroll:

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”

(Excerpts from Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most For Small Business Success ©2015, Elaine Fogel, All rights reserved.)

Image licensed from CanStockPhoto


  1. Hi Elaine,
    Quite interesting article I must remark. The 4 P’s of marketing still works but with digital technology and sophisticated customers the approach changes.

    Today’s customers are more sensitive to inbound marketing and thus, interruptive marketing doesn’t produce more conversion.

    The better marketing mix you have advocated for is hinged on properly understanding who the audience is and what they want in totality.

    After better understanding, it really becomes easier to create the right product, price, promotion and place mix for the customer.

    So, whether we use the 4Ps or 5Ws of marketing, what really should matter is that customers satisfaction is identified and met!
    Sunday William recently posted…How SMART Is Your Personal or Business Goal for Now?My Profile

  2. Hey Elaine,
    Its a good thing that the Marketing Mix Based on the 5Ws of Journalism is recommended to substitute the traditional 4Ps. Innovative marketing requires new methods of doing things.

    For me, its a more direct approach than the more generalized and traditional marketing approach.

    This new marketing mix more or less ensure that proper understanding of the customer is made, and all marketing efforts can be channeled to the customer!

  3. 5Ws of journalism? Well, its good to know that the key questions of Who, what, why, where, and when are richly considered in the marketing mix.

    This mix is further expatiates the 4Ps of marketing which generally provides a guiding principle on what a marketer should be acquainted with to create the very best of service or provide the very best of product to target audience.

    I have not considered this new shift in the marketing mix but it sure would be fun to explore it!

  4. Hey Elaine,

    I really like this marketing mix. I implement this into my own marketing plan for it’s practicality.

    In the online marketing world your audience is many convenient resources to obtain the information they need directly.

    I compare marketing of the past and marketing of today to cassette tapes versus iPods. In the past if you want to find a song on a cassette tape you have to go through the other songs by fast forwarding or rewinding just to get into the vicinity of the song. With iPods you can go directly to the song you like to play.

    The say way with marketing. We don’t have to guess as much as we did in the past. We can create a customer profile online and direct our campaign towards them which makes it easier for them to access our content or offers.

    Thanks for sharing Elaine! Have a great rest of the week!
    Sherman Smith recently posted…Diversify Your Shares With The Social Warfare WordPress PluginMy Profile

    • Thanks, Sherman! I like your analogy of cassette tapes to iPods. This may date me, but I remember trying to splice together broken cassette tape. What a pain.

      You’re right that we have so much more information at our disposal today. Yet, even with all the data we collect digitally, doing some primary research never hurts. When we ask our specific customers what their preferences and needs are, then we know for sure.