Marketing Mix for Startups: Are Traditional Marketing Models Applicable to Startups?

Editorial Board
Marketing mix for startups

Marketing mix for startups

With widespread tendency and exponential growth of startups in recent years, there has been a surge of interest in marketing for startups. While lots of people believe that the most issue of the startups at first should be about providing the MVP as soon as possible, on the other hand, there are some individuals that choose the marketing as a vital part of each startup, even sometimes more important than the MVP. In this content, we will pinpoint some notable aspects of the title “marketing for startups” with a concentration on the concept of “marketing mix for startups.”

From the time that marketing was a meaning of going to market with goods for sale, we have experienced lots of fundamental changes in our businesses. New terms, such as social media marketing, online recommender systems, etc., revealed new possibilities for companies to promote their products and find their customers. However, despite all of the achievements during the recent years, there are four main constants in marketing that can be controlled by a company to pursue its marketing objectives in the target market, and influence consumers to purchase its products. 4Ps, which refer to Product, Price, Place, and Promotion are broad levels of marketing decision.

If you heard the 4Ps before, maybe you read the book entitled “Purple Cow”; if not, and if you are still interested in the marketing mix for startups, we highly recommend you to read the book from Seth Godin, ASAP.


Marketing Mix and History Of the 4 Ps


The origin of the marketing mix model dates back to 1948 When Prof. James Culliton published a paper entitled “Management of Marketing Costs.” Culliton on that time was a professor of marketing at Harvard University and in his paper described the marketers as ‘mixers of ingredients.’ Likewise, based on this concept, the marketing mix also means, all the titles of a marketing plan have to work consistently and coherently in order to enable a business to answers it’s customers needs and expectation. Another critical point in the history of “Marketing Mix” is 1964. When Culliton’s colleague Prof. Neil Borden, the professor of advertising at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration wrote a paper entitled “The Concept of the Marketing Mix” and described the history of this model.

Although mix marketing model was popular and wide speared on that time, however, it was not clear for marketers that what elements they should put on the mixer of the marketing mix. Until 1960 when E. Jerome McCarthy, an American marketing professor, completed the puzzle of the marketing mix by providing a framework for marketing decision-making based on the 4Ps. Today the 4Ps, also known as McCarthy’s 4Ps, which as mentioned before are Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Since 1960 others also introduced some extended version of the McCarthy’s 4Ps. For example, in 1981 Booms and Bitner in a paper entitled “Marketing Strategies and Organizational Structures for Service Firms” proposed a new version of the 4Ps mix marketing with adding three more Ps, Process, People and Physical evidence

Related Article
What is Market Positioning Analysis?

In a normal startup, often there is a limited budget, unpredictability about the market and possible customers, pressure on releasing the Product before the deadline, and more importantly, sometimes startups even do not have any efficient and coherent plan for marketing. However, most of the marketing plans are also not appropriate with the mentioned issues of an ordinary startup; in this way, there should be a marketing plan with some essentials customization, but no more option.

Some extended marketing mix models for startups such as 8Ps can be used for helping a startup to start its journey in a more appropriate situation. In the next paragraphs, we will explain each factor of the 8Ps marketing mix model, in details with tangible examples.

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion
  • People
  • Process
  • Physical evidence
  • Productivity and quality



Product is the main factor of each startup. In the concept of mix marketing, Product can be an item or a service that satisfies the Consumer’s needs or wants. Consider the Uber, Product of this firm is an online taxi service mobile application.


How much do the customers pay, to have the item or the service of a startup? Price is so important because it has a direct effect on revenue. Competitors and target market are critical aspects of taking decisions in price strategy sessions. Price can be fixed or dynamic based on the users and the market.


Place means where customers can buy your Product or look for your services. For example, Apple’s products are available at the apple stores.


Promotion in the mix marketing for startups refers to the ways of marketing for finding customers. And also channels of advertisements that used for introducing the startup’s Product. Promotion by itself can be categorized into four sections: personal selling, advertising, direct marketing, and sales promotion.

Related Article
Guerrilla Marketing Ideas for Startups

Online advertising is so prevalent in marketing plans startups. A suitable way of Promotion for a startup can be Google Adwords. Nowadays, lots of people search for their needs first on Google and decide to choose between the providers.


People means all the employees are working on the startup to provide a service or produce an item. It is crucial how well People perform their tasks. Generally, in marketing, the staff who make contact with customers are more critical, because they are usually the first and the last person of the company who customers meet them.


All the systems and Processes that pass to deliver a product to customers. Imagine a gym chain startup with online services. The gym has a mobile application that enables users to book exercise classes or to manage their membership online.

Physical evidence

All the elements on the Physical environments that the customers experience when they are using the startup products.

Productivity and quality

After the determination of customer needs, companies should focus on providing higher quality products at a more affordable price. In the startup ecosystem, Productivity can help a startup to become a more stable company with more reliable sources of income.

Read More: 5 Marketing Strategy Templates: Implementing Classic Planning tools in the Digital Era

Marketing Mix 4Cs


Another business tool that can be useful for startup marketing plans, especially the companies that provide internet-based services, is Marketing Mix 4Cs. The model presented in the 1990s as an alternative for the 4Ps with more customer-driven aspects. Unlike the 4Ps model, there are two different theories for 4Cs:

  • Shimizu’s 4Cs: Commodity, Cost, Channel, and Communication (1973)
  • Robert F. Lauterborn’s 4Cs: Consumer, Cost, Convenience, and Communication (1990)


Lauterborn’s 4Cs


In the next paragraphs, we will explain the 4Cs of Robert F. Lauterborn in comparison with the 4Ps with some examples related to the marketing mix plans for startups.


The main goal of a company should be selling what Consumers need and want to purchase. Consumer act the same as the Product of 4Ps in this model.


The Cost has a more general meaning than the Price of 4Ps. In this model, Cost does not mean only the Price of a product, but also, for example, the Cost of time a company spends to sell a product or a customer to buy that.

Related Article
Elements of Effective B2B Marketing Trends In 2020


There is a close relationship between the meaning of Convenience and Place of 4Ps. However, Convenience more focuses on the idea that there should not be any difficulties in accessing customers to the Product or services of a company, whether they want to buy something or want to know more about a product. For example, an E-learning startup can provide its service with lots of online catalogs that are available twenty-four hours a day on a mobile application. In this example, the app acts as a Place for the startup, with lots of valuable potentials.


Unlike normal promotion channels that are usually monologue, Communication means making some ways to have more dialogue with customers. With this concept, social networks can be ideal ways for startups to promote their products and improve their marketing plans based on direct feedback from their users.


Shimizu’s 4 Cs


Except for Cost and Communication that are common in both type 4Cs models, there are two different titles in Shimizu’s 4Cs model, which are Commodity and Channel.


In Shimizu’s 4 Cs, Commodity has the same meaning of Product and Consumer. The final user who wants to use the Product.


Channel has the same meaning as Place and Convenience. Ways that people can find and buy a product.


Shimizu’s 7 Cs

In 1979 an extended version of the Shimizu’s 4Cs introduced, entitled 7Cs Compass Model, by three more items: Consumer, Circumstances, and Corporation. The new model especially considered how successful marketing organizations act and take decisions in hard economic situations, like when the growth rate is zero or too low.


Based on this title, each company has to provide some suitable answers based on its Consumer’s needs and problems. In 7Cs Compass Model, Consumer can be described as the first characters of four directions marked on the compass: N = Needs, W = Wants, S = Security, and E = Education.


Except for Customers, there are also lots of points that companies have to consider them. Circumstances based on the 7Cs Compass Model can be described as the first character of the four directions marked on the compass – N = National and International, W=Weather, S = Social and Cultural, E = Economic.


The Corporation is one of the most critical factors of the 7Cs Compass Model. The Corporation generally can be explained with C-O-S, which is an abbreviation of Competitor, Organization, Stakeholder.

Editorial Board

ARDOXSO Weekly Blog currently has 5 members at its editorial board and publishes about 250 articles annually on ARDOXSO blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a comment
scroll to top