Dialing In Your Marketing Mix With The 8 Ps Of Marketing

Post by 
Alice Ma

Marketing 101 courses typically talk about the “4 Ps” of marketing: Product, Price, Promotion, and Place. While these are still important, I find that using 8 Ps is more nuanced and helpful when planning a product launch or new campaign.

These 8 Ps help marketers find a fresh perspective and uncover new opportunities for their marketing mix.

Take some time to think over each “P” below with my starter questions to see how you and your team might improve your next go-to-market plan, product launch or sales campaign.  

Business owner sealing a package on a desk. Image credit: @benchaccounting / Unsplash

1. Product (or service): What you’re selling

Everyone has something to sell. But how can the thing that you sell be part of the marketing or sales tool kit? In other words, how can you get a product (or service) to sell itself?

Dropbox and Gmail both did this famously by building in viral sharing aspects to the product to get more users. Other more low-tech solutions could include product placement or additional ways the product might be used to help get more eyeballs.

Questions to consider:

2. Price: The value exchange

Pricing is a big part of your go-to-market strategy. Price infers the value proposition to the market. For instance, a large upfront fee versus a small monthly subscription would dramatically change your approach. “Free” should also be considered in the form of free demos or free tiers for SaaS products.

Questions to consider:

  • What does our price say about our product/service in terms of value or accessibility?
  • What is our customer used to paying for this product/service?
  • What kind of discounting tactics would be in-line with our brand and product category?
  • Is there a way to innovate with our pricing?
Laptop with marketing charts on screen. Image credit: goumbik / Unsplash

3. Promotion: How products are pushed or placed into the market

Marketing is not merely your Facebook ad spend. There are countless ways to promote a product in addition to advertising, and this is nearly always worth a brainstorm when you are revisiting your go-to-market plan.

Word-of-mouth, events, referrals, influencer marketing, partnerships (covered below), product placement, rare special offers or time-limited bundles are all great promotional channels to consider.

Questions to consider:

  • Where do our customers live? (e.g. social media channels, blogs, information sources, events)
  • What kinds of promotion does our market expect?
  • Is there a way to innovate with how we promote our product or service?

4. Place: Where a product is bought, sold or experienced

The importance of product distribution really depends on your industry. Your product launch strategy will be entirely different by just considering where your customers will be shopping, namely retail versus direct sales.

You’ll also want to consider what kind of service that placement will require: white-glove account reps or self-service check-out?

Questions to consider:

  • Where is our product most likely going to be seen in use?
  • Where do our customers shop?
  • How widely or selectively are we distributing our product?
  • If a digital product, how can we optimize our online shopping experience?
Man writing “marketing strategy” on whiteboard. Image credit: Unsplash

5. Positioning: How a product or service is presented, discussed and singled out in the marketplace

Salespeople love “positioning” discussions. You’ll often hear: What’s unique about your product? These types of questions are certainly important, but there’s also more fun to be had when considering how you position your offering.

Questions to consider:

  • How do we want our customers to talk about our product to their friends and colleagues?
  • What are the benefits of the product that rise to the top?
  • What hidden features or benefits could be exciting new opportunities to bring to the fore? What’s unique or remarkable or weird or strange or fun or …? (and is that an opportunity?)

6. People: The individuals who are critical to the launch or campaign

This is my favorite P. The people in your launch or campaign will humanize what you do. This category includes key developers or personalities inside the company. This could be a well-known endorser, like Michael Jordan was for Gatorade’s “Be Like Mike” campaign,, or the actual person behind the brand (think of Paul Newman’s face plastered on every bottle of his company’s salad dressing).

You can also incorporate banner customers who may help tell your brand’s story through case studies or user-generated content.

Questions to consider:

  • Which people are central to this product that might provide and interesting story for the market?
  • Who might be a possible spokesperson or influencer for our product/service?
  • What stories would help serve up the emotional benefits of our product or service?
Close up of handshake. Image credit: cytonn_photography / Unsplash

7. Partnerships: Other audiences and companies that want to help you market your product

Partner marketing is a popular way of launching and promoting products, but this P often takes the longest to come to fruition. Partnerships are inherently complex and each partner has their own goals and expectations so alignment can be a full-time job. Still, a well-executed partnership is likely the most powerful P on this list for a small brand looking to reach more potential customers.

It’s a good idea to consider the overhead of what a partnership might include (e.g. legal contracts, lead time, and communication overhead). Also, the lack of control with a partnership means that key champions/contacts can leave the company and force you to start over. Still, if you can align your brand with another that your product or service complements, it can be a huge benefit to all, especially your shared customers.

Questions to consider:

  • Which brands, companies, or key people would be a beneficial partnership for our product launch?
  • What shared goals or objectives might we have?
  • What potential pitfalls do we want to avoid?

8. Packaging: How products or services appear in the market

Sometimes this is called “physical evidence,” but I like to call this P packaging. My dad founded a company called The Boxmaker, so I grew up thinking a lot about packaging. A few decades later, companies such as Apple made packaging part of their unboxing “experience” as they sought an emotional bond with their new customers.

Pinot Renoir wine. Image courtesy of Drum Roll Wine.
Pinot Renoir wine. Image courtesy of Drum Roll Wine.

In 2018, I helped launch a wine company with a friend and the label was a huge part of the story. Sure, the wine was excellent, but the creativity of the catchy “Pinot Renoir” label helped people remember the wine and to earn endcap placement in 10 local PCC markets.

Packaging can also be translated to the digital realm as we consider the “unboxing” or first install or use of a product or service. A digital example might be the software installation process that offers the right product upgrades or the right help files and lessons for the product. These can be marketing opportunities in themselves, as the top-notch experience and onboarding help your users receive can encourage them to share their story with other potential customers.

Questions to consider:

  • What’s our customer’s first touch or experience with our paid product?
  • What is the packaging expectation for our customers?
  • Is there a way to stand out with our packaging look or feel?
  • Are there time-limited or special packaging initiatives we could try to gain mindshare?

Unlock more marketing doors with the 8 Ps

The 8 Ps of marketing may not be at the top of every CEOs mind, but for seasoned marketers, this bread-and-butter question set can help unlock a few doors in conversations.

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