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The Marketing Mix

The Marketing Mix

What is the Marketing Mix?

The Marketing Mix is made up of four elements usually referred to as the 4Ps. These are:

Product (or Service)



Place (or Distribution)

Recently, the 4Ps have been described differently as a result of marketeers adopting a more customer-focused perspective. SIVA (Solution, Information, Value, Access). To find out more about this read the article “A customer-focused approach can bring the current marketing mix into the 21st century” by Don Schultz and Chekitan Dev published in “Marketing Management (Chicago Ill) 2005 volume 14 pages 16-21. This is available online via the University library.

The SIVA Model provides a demand/customer centric version alternative to the well-known 4Ps supply side model (product, price, place, promotion) of marketing management.









We will now look at these four elements in more detail.

Product (Solution)

There are three key concepts identified by the readings:

  1. People want the benefits not the features of the products and services you provide and so that is what you must sell them. In other words, you need to ask yourself ‘What’s the WIIFY’ – What’s In It For You’ when thinking about what makes your product or service attractive to your customer.

  2. Product Mix

This is a recognition that ‘one size does not fit all’. You may have different ‘product lines’, which means variations of a basic service such as long or short interviews as well as a mix of different products. A careers and employment service may provide graduate jobs, placements and part-time jobs. These may be ‘branded’ in different ways, for example there may be an ‘agency’ which deals with part-time jobs with a name of its own like ‘BlueJobs’ even though it is organisationally part of the careers service and may share premises and even staff.

  1. Product life cycle

The needs of customers change over time. Just because a product or service has been successful in the past does not mean it will continue to be so. There is a cost to updating services, or introducing new ones, but this must be compared to the cost of retaining a service when it no longer fulfils a customer need.


What is your ‘product mix’. Make a list of the different services your organisation provides. Can you identify different ‘ product lines’ that is variations of a basic product/service? Put your list into a table and add a second column. For each product line you have identified, summarise the benefits it offers your target customers/ users.

Do you have a number of brands? If so, add another column to show which products are identified with which brands.

Price (Value)

Some of you are in an environment where you actually sell some or all of your services, for example making a charge for employers to advertise vacancies. For others, there is no price-tag and your services are free at the point of use. However even if you do not make a direct charge to service users, there will be costs involved in providing the service and as someone has to pay there will be a limit on these costs.

Your reading will have introduced a lot of ideas which affect the cost and therefore potentially the price of your services. Some of them may not seem relevant to the services you provide. However you will all need to take account of the costs of production and development (although this may be traditionally thought of in terms of staff time since in this case, time = money).


If you are providing any service which is paid for by your customers, how is the price determined? Which of the elements indentified in the reading is taken into account?

If all the services you provide are a ‘free at the point of use’ service, do you know how much your service costs to provide? Choose one of your services (for example, practice in psychometric tests, placing an advertisement, checking a CV). What would you charge? Also – what is the non-monetary ‘cost’ to your users. How does this compare with other services or options they might take instead. And what is the ‘value’ to the user of the service – how does this compare to the non-monetary cost?

Promotion (Information)

This is about moving customers from being unaware of what you offer to making a purchase (or accessing your service). This is at the heart of marketing activity. Five methods are identified


Personal Selling

Direct Marketing

Sales Promotion

Public Relations

Advertising Activity

The Careers and Employment Service at the University of South Britain has been awarded a grant from the EU and has decided to use it to run a conference on student employability. They have signed up some national figures as speakers. They are hoping to attract employers, academics and students to the conference. You have been put in charge of advertising this event and given a budget of £1000. Draw up an advertisement – or series of them (you can make up the details like dates and places) and decide where to place them. Is your budget sufficient?

Post your advertisements to the Discussion board so that you can share ideas with your fellow students.

Personal Selling, Public Relations, Direct Marketing

The NASES “Guide for Student Employment” has sections on networking, PR and Direct Marketing. These will give you some ideas as to how these concepts can be translated into your context.



Read the article by Sue Peattie “Applying sales promotion competitions to nonprofit contexts” fromInternational Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketingvolume 8 issue 2 (2002).This is available online via the University library


Next time you take a trip to your local supermarket make a note of the sales promotions (BOGOF, Three for Two, 25% extra free etc). Which ones tempted you? Why was that? Did you find that you bought a different brand or variety as a result? Did you buy more than you planned? Will you save money in the long term (for example if you bought more, will the items get throw away or used more quickly?) Do you feel that you have been somehow misled or ‘used’?

Place (Access) (Page 285 points 1 to 5)

Think about …

…where and how you provide your services. Are your distribution channels and/ or locations from which you are operating providing the easiest possible access for your target users? Are you making the maximum possible use of the Internet to provide services which can be delivered through that channel? What about telephone as a delivery channel?

…If your services have to be delivered face-to-face have you reviewed the suitability of where you do that from the point of view of your target users? Are the locations convenient and accessible? Do they appear inviting? Do they convey the right sort of image? Are they suitable for the services you are providing – for example, are there proper meeting spaces for confidential or private discussions? Are you involved in outreach activities where you take your services to the users rather than them having to come to you?

…where and how you provide your services from the perspective of your current users/ customers and of target users/ customers. How accessible will they consider your services to be? Are there any nil or low cost changes you could make that would significantly improve accessibility?