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9 Areas of the Marketing Mix

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Marketing isn’t easy. To be successful you need to be consistent and persistent, and that takes time and knowledge. It’s something that a lot of small business owners tell me they struggle with.

To help people build stronger and more effective marketing plans, about ten years ago I devised what I call the ‘9 areas of the marketing mix’. This is a special approach that I use as a check list to ensure that all plans cover as many areas of the marketing mix as possible.

I use this approach and I encourage others to use it as well. You’ll find more about it in my marketing book, but I wanted to summarise it here to give you some tips to get you started.

There are two key reasons why this approach works so well:

  1. The more marketing channels you use, the better success you’ll have. It stops you putting all your eggs in one basket
  2. It’s impossible to overlook an area and it forces you to deliberately omit things rather than forget to include them

These 9 areas aren’t distinct. They will all overlap at some point. But I encourage you to take some time to think about each of these areas and write down all the relevant actions that you could execute within each one. As I said, it’s just as valid to say there’s nothing relevant here as it is to list twenty points. What matters is that you stay truthful to what you’re trying to achieve.

The 9 Areas

1. Branding

This is where you touch upon all of the elements that relate to your brand and general brand awareness. This could be anything from a logo, strapline and tone of voice, to business cards, email footers and pop up banners.

2. Digital

This section covers everything within the online world. This is the biggest area on the list.

  • Websites – do you have one, are you tracking it, how is it working?
  • SEO – how important is this?
  • Social Media – are you using the right channels for your target market? Have you got a proper content plan?
  • Affiliates – where are you featured online and how can that help you?
  • Email marketing – from newsletters to lead generation campaigns, how can you use email marketing?

3. PR & Advertising

PR is often a massively underutilised area of marketing. Sending out news about your company or writing interesting articles can be a very cost effective way to get your name out there. Make sure you also think about case studies here and how you can use these as part of your PR. In terms of advertising, this could be online, in magazines, on the television or even radio. How can it work with the rest of your marketing?

4. Literature

For this section, I always advise that people don’t think about what brochures could be produced, but think instead about where the gaps are. Today, websites replace the need for a lot of literature, so that’s why I say only do what you need to i.e. what your website doesn’t cover.

5. Database

Another often overlooked area is that of marketing data and databases. But with GDPR, it’s absolutely vital that you consider it.

6. Customer Acquisition

Whilst you might argue that PR, advertising and digital activity might all be about getting new customers, I put this area in to deliberately think more in terms of marketing campaigns or promotions.

If lead generation is one of your objectives, this is where you need to specifically think about how you’re going to generate those leads.

7. Customer Retention

Customer acquisition is important for any growing business, but customer retention can be just as vital. Securing loyalty from your customers can make a real difference to your long term success. And it costs a lot less to keep current customers than it does to bring on new ones. So in this section you need to think about how you can increase sales to your existing buyers and encourage customer loyalty.

8. Events

This can cover exhibitions, workshops, seminars, webinars, networking or open days, just as examples. There are loads of options here, and sometimes they can be high budget. But they can also come with great returns.

9. Internal Communications

This could be relevant whether you have a team of fifty or you work for yourself. It’s all about how you communicate to the people who help you make it happen (e.g. suppliers) so that everyone is on board with what you’re trying to achieve.

I hope that’s given you some food for thought. The next time you’re sitting down to plan your marketing, use these 9 areas and see if you can add some different elements into this mix. Just don’t forget that everything you do must be aligned to your overarching marketing strategy.

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