5 w'sHow long have we been using the 4Ps of marketing? Marketer E. Jerome McCarthy proposed a 4Ps classification in 1960 – 56 years ago! Maybe it’s time for an overhaul?

First, let’s understand the 4Ps so we can improve upon them. In my book, Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most For Small Business Success, I describe them this way:


“What your business sells to its target audiences (includes name, brand identity, appearance, packaging, functions, features, benefits).”


“How you price your goods and services (value, discounts, seasonal, sale pricing).”


“Where you sell your company’s goods and services (distribution, locations, inventory, shipping).”


“How you promote your goods and services to target market segments (advertising, sales, public relations, marketing communications).”

I suppose it’s OK and can still work, but for smaller businesses (or nonprofit organizations), simpler is better. So, I developed a better marketing mix. (I know, you’ll be the judge.)

Here’s my explanation:

“Because marketing is no longer about ‘pushing’ messages out to buyers by interrupting them to hear you, marketers can now directly engage with their target audiences, drawing them in through the different stages of the new sales cycle. First, prospective customers become aware of your business’ brand or its products and services. This may be the result of content marketing, word-of-mouth referrals, search engines, webinars, and other channels that attract their interest.

After prospective customers see the same messages in multiple channels, they may be more keenly interested in your business’ products or services. If they decide to explore more about your business, they can research review sites, browse your website, or ask others if they have heard of your company.

They can also contact your business to seek further information. That’s the perfect time for you (or sales people) to engage with prospects further, solving their problems and fulfilling their needs. If prospects are not interested at that moment, they may (or may not) bookmark your site or file your company information for future reference.

After prospective customers have completed their research, they then make a decision whether or not to make a purchase. If they do, they convert into customers and the relationship continues.

You want to thank these new customers, engage them, and give them reasons to stay loyal to your business. The ultimate goal is to earn their trust so they become one of your company’s brand ambassadors, tooting your horn for you.”
(Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most For Small Business Success ©2015, Elaine Fogel)

Since many smaller businesses can’t afford to hire marketing consultants or agencies, and many business owners have limited marketing knowledge, I will now reveal “the better marketing mix!”

My Marketing Mix Based on the 5Ws of Journalism:

  • WHO: To whom are you marketing? Identify your target audiences.
  • WHAT: What products or services are you promoting to each audience?
  • WHERE: Where are you marketing to each audience? Where are your products and services available? Which marketing communication channels are you using to reach out to each target audience?
  • WHEN: When are you marketing to each audience? What is the time frame for each tactic?
  • WHY: Why are you marketing to each audience? What is the associated strategy?

Here’s a matrix of this model with an example for a B2C cosmetics company. Please note that this represents the beginning of writing the mix and is by no means a complete matrix.

marketing mix example

If you find that your marketing mix is heavier in one channel than in another, you may decide to drill down even further.

If you rely a lot on content or social media marketing, you can develop a separate, auxiliary plan for these channels. Of course, this will depend on having the time availability, inclination, and desire to go into more detail. However, it will be a valuable asset for evaluation purposes.

Once you complete the final marketing mix, you can add details to create your action plan. The action plan will guide you through the steps required to complete each marketing and/or branding tactic.

Whether you decide to adapt my 5Ws or not, the most important advice comes from author, Lewis Carroll:

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”




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(Excerpts from Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most For Small Business Success ©2015, Elaine Fogel, All rights reserved.)

Image licensed from CanStockPhoto

Read more: The Perfect Content Marketing Mix