Ah yes, the marketing mix. A classic and foundational component of the field of marketing. The marketing mix is also commonly referred to as the 4Ps:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion 

Many people think of marketing purely as promotion or, in other words, the dissemination of persuasive messages through various communication channels. While promotion is certainly part of marketing (as the above diagram and list show) several other factors play important roles within the marketing mix.

Incorporating the marketing mix is one of the principles that social marketing shares with commercial marketing, yet there are key differences in how social marketing approaches and conceptualizes each of the 4Ps. While this post may be repetitive for some, those without a marketing background may find a general overview useful. Let’s dive in.

Product –  The product of a social marketing campaign is considered on three levels: core, actual, and augmented. The core product is the benefit that the target audience values/wants/needs and will receive in exchange for engaging in a desired behavior (i.e. increased mental wellbeing in exchange for creating art.) The actual product is comprised of the tangible goods or services that support/help the target audience in performing said behavior (i.e. art classes at the local community center). Finally, the augmented product includes any additional goods/services included with the actual product (i.e. a website that includes additional resources or information.)

Price – Price includes both incentives and costs, which can be monetary or non-monetary. For example, your campaign for supporting the arts may highlight the monetary incentive of receiving a tax deduction when donating to a nonprofit arts organization. Or, you may work to decrease non-monetary costs such as time or effort spent on researching different arts organizations. For example, you may provide an easy-to-navigate database that encourages people to donate by allowing them to quickly search for and select an arts organization that aligns with their values/interests.

Place – Place refers to where your target audience will engage in the desired behavior as well as where they will access any supporting goods or services. Within the marketing mix, place is considered with the intention of developing strategies that make performing the desired behavior and accessing goods/services as easy and convenient as possible.

Promotion – Last but not least, promotion is a how you will persuasively, creatively, and strategically communicate the various elements of your campaign to the target audience. Promotion includes the design of key messages and the dissemination of these messages through relevant and available channels.

Understanding the individual components that comprise the marketing mix allows us to better conceptualize social marketing as a holistic and integrated coordination of various strategies and considerations. With this perspective in mind, those of use who are interested in garnering stronger support for the arts through the application of social marketing principles can approach the process in a much more sophisticated and strategic manner. Utilizing the marketing mix means going beyond promotion. Rather, we must work to develop projects, programs, offerings, etc. that address and incorporate all elements of the marketing mix.