30 May 2023

3.6 Marketing

Author/Compiled by
May Haghour (cewas)
Reviewed by
Cora Craigmile (cewas)
Factsheet Block Body

Depending on the specificities of your target group/s, including the contexts they operate in, their needs and their expectations, you will generate a different marketing strategy which will be based on a combination of the four elements of marketing, or what we term the 4Ps of marketing:  product, place, price, and promotion. These four elements must work in synergy to create a balanced marketing strategy that effectively reaches your target audience/s. If one of the elements changes you will have to asses how this affects the other elements and overall balance of the marketing strategy. Contradicting elements make the marketing mix less effective in serving target groups.

Want to learn more about the 4Ps of marketing? Let’s start with the first P: product.

  1. Product

The product offering is not limited to the physical good itself, but also includes to the entire package of benefits that the target groups receives when buying your service and/or using your innovation. For marketing strategy development purposes, you have to consider the product from the persepective of the value delivered to your target groups. Keep in mind that this value can be quantitative (e.g. price, speed, efficiency) or qualitative (e.g. design, experience, status) (OSTERWALDER and PIGNEUR 2010).

The following terms and attributes are commonly used to describe a product mix:

  • Product item: a specific version of a product
  • Product line: a cluster of related product items
  • Length: the total number of items that you offer
  • Width: the total number of product lines that you offer
  • Depth: the number of varieties within one product line
  • Consistency: the relation between items, i.e. how close the product items are to each other
  1. Place

“Place” refers to the channels via which your product or service will eventually reach the end user. In the marketing mix, place describes the marketing channels, i.e. the set of mechanisms or networks via which your product reaches target groups. This comprises the physical as well as virtual distribution of information, the product itself and after-sales services.

Now that we have learned about Product and Place, let’s discuss the Price.

  1. Price

Pricing is a complex activity within the design of a marketing mix. The price of your product or service is subject to several considerations. If you want to enter a specific market, you can use the asking price as an entry point for attracting target groups. While setting low pricing might be tempting in the beginning, this can backfire when target groups are not willing to accept price increases at a later stage. In addition, you should always set your prices in relation to your competitors’ prices and keep in mind that these prices might be changing over time. A good way to get the pricing right is to have a system in place within your organisation for conducting regular  market analysis, This can help you assess and anticipate how and if your prices should be adapted to the varying circumstances and opportunities. You should also consider how your pricing relates to the overall cost structure of your project.

And now on to the last element of the 4Ps marketing mix: promotion. Scroll down to learn more about it.

  1. Promotion

In order to conceptualize, implement, and maintain a good promotional strategy for your project you will need to make use of the following four components:

  • Advertisement: Provides your potential target groups with a reason to interact with your project. The advertisement campaign of your project creates awareness for your project, describes its features and benefits, creates a positive image for your project within the specific contexts, and ultimately paves the way for guiding your potential target groups to your offer.
  • Sales promotion: It provides your target groups incentives to acquire your product/service or to start interact with your project, through discounts or free initial services for example.
  • Public relations: In order to build additional awareness, credibility and understanding of the company, you can use public relations as a complementary communication channel with your target groups. It helps you position your project within the market and influence your specific target groups through different means including sponsorships, events, and publications.
  • Direct marketing: Here, direct contact between you and your potential target group (an individual) is established via verbal (e.g. face-to-face, phone calls, …) or written communication (e.g. emails, flyers, …), using both traditional communication channels and the internet.

Now that you know the basics of  the 4Ps of the marketing mix don’t forget that theories and concepts undergo constant change and adapt to the realities of the market . Some theorsits have already come up with an extended version of the 4Ps. Let’s briefly introduce the 7Ps of the Marketing Mix:

“7Ps” of Marketing

As markets are becoming more and more globalized, digitalised, customer-focused and service-based, the 4Ps of marketing approach has had to reinvent itself to be more in synch with current market needs. The new version of the 4Ps approach has an additional 3 elements and thus becomes the 7Ps approach(CIM 2009). The additional elemnts are:

  • People: As your target groups often come in contact with you and your project team members and partners, your colleagues and partners become an important part of your marketing mix.
  • Process: The way you and your team members interact with your target groups is also essential. This is especially relevant in regard to time, e.g. waiting times or time for information search.
  • Physical evidence: Especially important  if you are planning on developing a project as a service provider. You have to make all your intangible products/solutions tangible to your target group.

Social Marketing

Social marketing is all about you using commercial marketing techniques to promote the adoption of behaviour that will improve the health and/or well-being of your target groups, specifically, and of the targeted society as a whole.


Marketing materials

Nowadays, you can count on countless options when thinking about developing your marketing materials in both the physical and digital worlds.

1. Physical marketing tools: Flyers, business cards, posters, banners, brochures, calendars, displays and pop-up stores, catalogues, … etc.

2. Digital marketing tools: Newsletters, emails campaigns, websites, infographics, videos, social media, virtual events/webinars/information sessions, e-books … etc.

Some of the most common activities to promote a project are the following:

  1. Social media campaign
  2. WhatsApp campaigns
  3. Create a database of potential target groups/partners and set up physical or virtual meetings
  4. Phone calls to potential target groups
  5. Stickers/guerrilla
  6. Write a blog or articles about the topic your project is tackling
  7. Participate and organize networking events (physical and virtual)
  8. Promotion: “First 5 clients get free maintenance” …. etc.

Now you are well equipped to start thinking about your project’s marketing strategy. We have prepared a fun exercise in our worksheet to help you get your first thoughts on paper in a structured way .

Download it now and start putting your theory into practice.

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3.7 Analyse your market

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Library References

Marketing and the 7Ps

Descriptions on what marketing is comprised of, why marketing is important, the 7Ps of marketing, marketing strategy planning and future trends in marketing.

CIM (2009): Marketing and the 7Ps. The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)
Further Readings

Marketing and the 7Ps

Descriptions on what marketing is comprised of, why marketing is important, the 7Ps of marketing, marketing strategy planning and future trends in marketing.

CIM (2009): Marketing and the 7Ps. The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)

Introductory Guide to Sanitation Marketing

This Guideline, developed by the WSP, is a toolkit for practitioners to define sanitation marketing and key components of a sanitation marketing initiative and provide an overall framework for scaling up rural sanitation programs using a marketing approach.

DEVINE, J. ; KULLMANN, C. (2011): Introductory Guide to Sanitation Marketing. In: Water and Sanitation Program: Toolkit: URL [Accessed: 11.12.2015]

Sanitation Marketing: A handbook for Sanitation Managers and Private Sector Players

This handbook outlines key facts about sanitation marketing, a step-by-step approach to development and implementation of a sanitation marketing project and also suggested key references for further reading for a wide range of audiences but more specifically, policy makers, program managers, business entrepreneurs in sanitation, financial institutions and behavioral change communication specialists.

NABEMBEZI, D. NABUNYA, H. (n.y): Sanitation Marketing: A handbook for Sanitation Managers and Private Sector Players. Ministry of Health Uganda and PLAN Uganda URL [Accessed: 11.12.2015]

Alternative Versions to