All marketing strategy revolves around the marketing mix because of the comprehensive nature of the “Four Ps” that make up the marketing mix. Every aspect of marketing falls into one of the categories of product, price, place and promotion, making it easy for small-business owners to create effective marketing strategies following this grouping.

The Marketing Mix

Your efforts to sell your product should focus on a mix of strategies that revolve around what you sell, how you sell it, what you sell it for and where you sell it. Most marketing activities relate to product development, pricing strategies, promotions and your places of sale. For example, when you look at advertising media options, you consider your target customer, which you chose based on who buys the product you decided to develop. Getting three out of four marketing mix considerations right won’t be enough to maximize your sales and profitability, making every aspect of the marketing mix critical to marketing strategy.


The product aspect of marketing strategy includes more than just what you’re selling. The product you make and sell should provide a unique benefit, or customers will have no reason to buy from you. Develop your product features to provide a specific benefit or benefits based on who you think will buy it. If you have a mainstream product or service, your strategy still includes targeting customers based on your marketplace demographics. For example, if you have an Italian restaurant in a college town, you might emphasize pizza and carry-out foods. If you’re located in an affluent area, you might create a fine-dining menu with a wine list. Other demographics that affect your product development include families with young children, young singles or seniors on a budget.


Once you know who your target customer is and what benefit you need to offer, you develop your pricing strategy based on the product you’ve created. If you are selling to affluent consumers, you might need to add more features and use high-quality materials, requiring you to charge higher prices. This might also improve the perceived value of and desire for your product or service. Your pricing strategy would focus on high profit margins at higher prices, since your sales volumes will probably be lower than if you produced a cheaper product. If your target customer is bargain conscious, your pricing strategy would be to make your gross profits based on high-volume sales of low-margin items.


Your promotional strategy starts with what you want to say before you determine how and where you want to say it. This requires using your unique benefit to create a brand, or image, that is attractive to your target customer. Once you know your brand, you then create messages, use images and designs and choose media and promotional options that support your brand. For example, using a coupon when you are targeting affluent customers cheapens your brand.


Based on your target customer, pricing strategy and brand, you choose distribution channels to support your marketing goals. Selling your product in a big-box store sends a different message than selling in boutiques, even if you charge the same price. Selling online to cut out the costs of using middlemen doesn’t make sense if your target customers are seniors.