public speaking

The 4 vital elements of the Marketing Mix

Siva is the name of a popular Hindu god who destroys in order to renew and regenerate. It is also the acronym for the four essential elements of supply-side Marketing:

  • Solution
  • Information
  • Value
  • Access 

Known as the Marketing Mix, the 4 elements prompt you to ask the right questions to establish if you are offering what your market wants, instead of just galloping into battle. The concept was first articulated by E J McCarthy in 1960, but is just as valid today.

In order to make a credible new business presentation, you need to ask the right questions, to identify how your business offering fits with the needs of the client company, and to position yourself as a solution provider.

The Product is the Solution to the customer’s problem. When you think of it in that way, you move away from a mere description of its features, and speak instead of how it addresses the customer’s needs.

When Planning your pitch, the kind of questions you would ask are:

  • What is the need or the pain that this product can deal with?
  • How will it be used?
  • Is it complete on its own or does it need some other product as well?
  • How will it be recognised in the market place?
  • How does it compare with alternatives?
  • What makes it a ‘must have’?

Information means telling your market about your product or service, which needs to be advertised, promoted, presented and supported. It is about identifying the target market and its needs, satisfying those needs effectively, and making sure the rest of the market knows about it.

You would need to ask:

  • How are competitors promoting the same product or service?
  • Which media will reach your target market most effectively?
  • How and when is it best to interrupt them with your message?
  • Can you link your message to external events?
  • Are there seasonal influences to consider?
  • Can you use PR, sponsorship and other indirect promotions as well?

The third element is Value. In the supply-side context, price is often the deciding factor. In customer-centric Marketing, however, the emphasis is on the Value provided. Price alone means little, except when the product is a commodity, or treated as such, indistinguishable from other brands of the same product. It makes more sense to build up the value and diminish the impact of the price.

Price questions may be obvious, including:

  • What are competitors charging for similar products?
  • Is the product or the customer price sensitive?
  • Will a drop in price increase market share?
  • What is the perceived value of your product or service?

The fourth element is Access. This is about getting the product to the target market, and making it easy for customers to find and get hold of the product. Brand loyalty drives customers to seek the product and will determine how tolerant they may be of delays in availability, before seeking alternatives.

You need to know:

  • Where do buyers look for your (kind of) product or service?
  • Are your distribution channels sufficient?
  • How do your competitors go to market?
  • Are your distribution channels all profitable?
  • Do you need/use the internet?

The four SIVA elements are relevant to the way in which you present your case to your market. For help with structuring and putting across your business case, contact

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