Are the 4 M’s of Your Marketing Well Defined?

4 M's of the marketing mix
The 4 M's of the marketing mix

In every entry level marketing class the 4 P’s of the marketing mix are always mentioned.

(Say it with me: Product, Price, Place and Promotion.)

However, I’ve found that the 4M’s of marketing make more sense in many business and organization’s marketing plans:

Market, Message, Media and Measurement

  • A well defined target market that your sales people know and love, your copywriter can picture and anyone who refers your products and services can recognize in an instant.
  • The well defined message statement describing why your potential customer wants to do business with your company in a repeatable, memorable, compelling way
  • A cost-effective way to communicate the message statement to the target market — communication media doesn’t have to be TV or newspapers. Although TV advertising will always be the perfect example of TV marketing as it has stood the test of time and changing media, it doesn’t have to be your only choice nowadays. What about social media, signage, table tents, postcards or shopping cart ads? There are probably 2,000 different choices.
  • Knowledge is power when you know your marketing is effective. How do you know? By measuring the results over time, against prior results.

I was reminded of the 4 M’s this morning as I read business advice in the New York Times intended for small business owners about the 10 steps they should take to Diagnose What’s Wrong With Your Business. They only had 3 of my 4 M’s and mixed up the order, but there it was. That being said, you are ever struggling with your business, you can get in touch with a small business advisor they can be a great way of getting support if you ever need it.


1. Targeting. Do you have a strategy to reach your best potential customers with your sales and marketing efforts? As there are many ways to get your message across to a specific target audience, you need to think about what method will be best for the needs of your business, but most importantly, your audience. From direct mail marketing to improve brand awareness, to digital marketing, it is important to remember that there are ways of achieving your business goals.

A shotgun approach is too expensive and inefficient for any company, especially a small one. What percentage of the people you approach actually buy a product or service like yours?

2. Advertising and Public Relations. There are many choices for where to place an ad and how to execute a public relations campaign. The problem with many small businesses is that their marketing activities are driven primarily by which salespeople happen to call on them. Ineffective advertising or public relations can be not only a tremendous waste of money but a tremendous waste of opportunity. If you are doing things the same way you did them 10 years ago, you are probably getting less response.

3. The Message. Lots of companies still use this line: “We will exceed your expectations.” I even saw it on the back of an ambulance. (I don’t know about you, but I have pretty high expectations when I call an ambulance! Are the technicians going to give me a haircut after they bring me back to life?) It was a good line when someone first thought of it. Now, it is old. It is tired. It needs to retire. You need to exceed people’s expectations by coming up with your own line. Maybe it is not a line at all. Maybe it is a message. Whatever it is, it should say something about your company that means something to potential customers.

I’ve talked about the 4 M’s for a long time in Branding & Marketing, but I think it holds true today.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below.

Balance the 4 “M’s” of Marketing for the Most Effective Marketing Program

So many companies start with Media and then work backwards. A sales rep calls with a great deal!! For the yellow pages. Or for a local magazine. Or a direct mail program with an internet component. Or… fill in the blank.

So then the company starts moving backwards: what’s our message? What should the ad say? Who are we trying to reach? What action do we want them to take?

I know you’ve heard of the 4 P’s of Marketing, but instead, we encourage the focus on the 4 M’s of Marketing:

While media is certainly important… it shouldn’t start there or you’re only executing tactics that don’t work. A website. A brochure. A tradeshow booth. A direct mailer.

Instead, start by figuring out your market — what’s the best target market? Who are your best primary customers, clients or industries?? A little bit of research and thought will save hundreds, thousands, if not millions of dollars and years of your life.

Next, what do you want your target market to think, feel and do? This becomes the backbone of your message. Not only do you need a good message it must be consistent over time. You’ll feel like it’s old and worn out long before your potential customers or referral partners have even been able to recognize it and repeat it!

Now is time for media. How will you communicate your message to your market? Plan this out ahead of time to eliminate those wild last minute rush jobs to get an ad done for some arbitrary deadline. Planning it out ahead of time is the beauty of marketing.

Although I only gave measurement a 10% of the plan, it’s the piece that is often skipped. Maybe I should have given measurement more importance in this marketing mix, but measurement doesn’t take long or cost a lot. Listening to the metrics can really fine tune a marketing program.

So do you agree with my percentages?

Did I forget an M… like money? or mistakes? or miscommunication. (just kidding!) Let me know if you agree or think that we should go back to the 4 P’s of marketing or adopt the 4 C’s of marketing.