A Modern (Agile) Marketing Mix

A Modern (Agile) Marketing Mix

by | Oct 21, 2021 | Business & Product, CROP | 0 comments

The Marketing Mix is rooted in a time when the sale of physical retail goods dominated the markets. In fact they were the markets because the Internet didn’t exist when the Marketing Mix was conceived. So that’s the paradigm it was framed in. As such, four “P’s” were first included in the mix:

  • Product (the thing)
  • Price (how much it costs)
  • Place (where it’s made available to the customer)
  • Promotion (its advertising)

It’s easy to see how these four come to bear on the marketing of a “widget:” you show the thing, you give it a competitive price, you put it somewhere it will be seen, and you inform buyers about its availability. You can see how the concept evolved and was implemented in post World War II business theory when it was conceived and first taught in the 1940’s.

In the 1980’s, three new/additional P’s were proposed, to create a total of seven P’s in the Marketing Mix:

  • People (your customer service)
  • Processes (distribution of the thing)
  • Packaging (the boxing of the thing)

Again, e-commerce was not yet a thing, so the “new” P’s were very rooted in the retail sales mindset. And again, you can see how these P’s have been expertly refined and wielded by companies such as Apple. Just Google “unboxing videos” to see how much the packaging experience can impact the customer experience and propel marketing for better or worse! Zappos built their entire company around exceptional customer service, and then put the other P’s behind it. There are thousands of great case studies with modern companies thriving by refining these seven P’s of the Marketing Mix.

The seven P’s have proven true not just for retail sales, but for e-commerce, services, events, and pretty much every business type I’ve encountered. They’ve truly stood the test of time.

Furthermore, to me these seven P’s reinforce the entire CROP business model. When you bake these seven concepts into the bedrock of your Concept, Runway, Operations, and Profit strategies, you’re creating a success map. What makes it even more modern and powerful is matching this paradigm with the Agile framework.

A CROP framework for an Agile Product/Marketing Mix

It was Eric Reis’s Lean Startup that first taught me the Agile mindset of build, measure, learn. Start with a well-informed hypothesis (here’s a fillable PDF worksheet for hypothesis building), build something that tests the hypothesis, measure it, learn from it, and start again. It’s important for each stage of the business. So I stacked them next to, and top of, each other in a CROP model to see how it would flow.

Here, the Marketing Mix becomes the Product/Marketing Mix because the marketing message flows organically from the product’s positioning for this concept. We market the thing this way, because we developed the product this way. In this way, we bring product and market together as we seek product/market fit.

Here’s a fillable PDF form, but it’s probably better as a Google sheet to share with your team so it can live and evolve more efficiently. (I’ll work on getting some Google drive templates!)

For example, during the concept stage we start with a hypothesis regarding the problem, solution, quantitative and qualitative outcomes. That’s part of our pitch. But as we gain funding and introduce the product to market, we may uncover, discover, and learn things that affect the runway (our budget and introduction of the product to the market). So it may be necessary to adjust either the hypothesis or the measurement, or create an entirely new hypothesis. And again during operations. We may need to adjust the hypothesis to optimize the opportunity. And as the product begins to be able to support itself, evaluating its profitability can, and probably will, generate more modifications.

And so far I like this matrix. It allows us to see how each of the 7 P’s in the Marketing Mix affect each other. It provides a place to capture the hypothesis, anticipated measurement, and outcome, and then evolve that into the next stage of the CROP model. I’m kicking it around to see how it does; it’s new so I don’t have a lot of trial and error with it yet. I’ll learn and pivot, so I appreciate feedback!


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