How to Conduct a Marketing Mix Model Analysis

February 13, 2024

As marketers face increasing pressure to produce results, effective marketing strategies are essential to the success of any organization. However, with numerous marketing channels and variables to consider, measuring the impact of each component can be a daunting task.

This is where a marketing mix model analysis comes into play: a powerful tool that enables businesses to understand the individual contributions of various marketing elements and make data-driven decisions to optimize their marketing efforts.

Introduction to marketing mix model analysis: Understanding the basics and benefits

Marketing Mix Model Analysis, also known as Market Mix Modeling (MMM), is a technique used to measure and quantify the impact of various marketing efforts on sales or market share. It helps businesses understand the effectiveness and contribution of each aspect of their marketing in driving sales and guides decision-making on resource allocation for different marketing activities.

This analysis combines statistical calculations and historical sales data to determine the relationship between marketing activities — such as different types of advertising, promotions, pricing, and distribution — and sales. Here are six of the most important reasons marketers rely on this method of analysis. 

  1. Optimizes marketing budget allocation

Marketing mix model analysis helps businesses understand the impact of their marketing activities on sales and other business outcomes. By quantifying the effectiveness of each marketing element, businesses can allocate their marketing budget more efficiently, focusing on the elements that generate the highest return on investment (ROI). The average digital marketing budget is allocated as shown in the chart below, but every business is unique, and marketers must adapt their marketing efforts to reflect their own audience’s needs, wants, and behaviors. 

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  1. Helps make data-driven decisions

Marketing mix model analysis provides businesses with valuable insights and data to make informed decisions. Rather than relying on assumptions or guesswork, businesses can use the analysis to identify the drivers of successes and failures in their marketing strategies and make data-driven decisions to refine and optimize their marketing efforts. In a recent survey by HubSpot, 36% of marketers said that data helps them reach their audience more effectively. 

  1. Improves strategic planning

With marketing mix model analysis, businesses gain a clear understanding of the impact and effectiveness of various marketing components. This knowledge supports strategic planning by identifying the areas that need improvement, determining the best marketing mix for specific target markets, and identifying opportunities for growth and expansion.

  1. Enhances efficiency and ROI

By understanding the contribution of each marketing element, businesses can eliminate or reduce ineffective marketing activities and reallocate resources to the most effective strategies. This leads to enhanced efficiency in marketing spending and ultimately improves the ROI of marketing initiatives.

  1. Helps to measure and evaluate campaign performance

Marketing mix model analysis allows businesses to evaluate the performance of specific marketing campaigns and initiatives. By measuring the impact of various marketing activities during a specific period, businesses can assess the effectiveness of their strategies, identify successful campaigns, and replicate or refine them for future endeavors.

  1. Gives a competitive advantage

Marketing mix model analysis helps businesses gain a competitive advantage by understanding their marketing effectiveness relative to competitors. By analyzing external factors and competitor activities, businesses can make informed decisions to differentiate their marketing strategies and gain a stronger market position.

How to build a marketing mix model

A marketing mix model can help marketers understand exactly how an ad is performing by quantifying performance in a way that is relevant for every stakeholder. Here’s a structured approach to building a successful strategy.  

Step 1: Define your objectives

The first step in building a marketing mix model is to define the objectives. For example, a company may want to understand how changes in their marketing mix (e.g., pricing, promotions, advertising) affect sales and profitability. Other objectives could include understanding the impact of specific campaigns on brand awareness or identifying opportunities to improve customer satisfaction.

Step 2: Identify key marketing variables

Once the objectives are clear, the next step is to identify the key marketing variables that will be included in the model. These variables will represent the different elements of the marketing mix, which are:

  • Product features: This marketing variable refers to the specific characteristics and attributes of a product that make it unique and appealing to customers, such as quality, variety, and design. By focusing on these product features, marketers can differentiate their offerings from competitors and create value for customers.
  • Pricing: Pricing is an important marketing variable that includes factors such as the initial price, discounts, incentives, and bundling options. Marketers can use various pricing strategies such as penetration pricing, skimming pricing, and value-based pricing to attract customers and maximize profitability. Pricing decisions should consider factors like production costs, competitor pricing, consumer perception of value, and market demand.
  • Promotion: Promotion encompasses all the activities undertaken by a company to communicate and promote its products or services to customers. It includes advertising, social media marketing, personal selling, and sales promotion. Public relations is a form of promotion — managing the company's image and reputation through media relations, events, and press releases. Promotional activities aim to create awareness, generate interest, and persuade customers to purchase the product or service.
  • Place and distribution channels: These refer to the methods or channels through which a company delivers its products or services to customers. Examples of distribution channels include online platforms, retail stores, and direct sales. The choice of distribution channels depends on factors like target market characteristics, customer preferences, and the company's resources and capabilities.

The aim of a marketing mix model analysis is to optimize these four factors and maximize the success of a product.

Step 3: Collect data

After identifying the key marketing variables, data must be collected from the appropriate sources, including internal data such as sales, customer profiles, and marketing expenses, as well as external data like market research, competitive analysis, and demographic trends.

For example, an online retailer may collect data on the sales of different products and the prices, discounts, and promotions used, as well as data on site traffic, marketing campaigns, and social media activity.

Step 4: Develop the model

The marketing mix model combines the data from the different variables to build mathematical relationships between them and the business outcome being analyzed. The model should account for factors that impact business performance like seasonality, market share, and economic indicators.

Statistical techniques like regression analysis, time-series analysis, and machine learning can be used to develop the model and uncover patterns and relationships between the different marketing variables and business outcomes. Multiple models can be developed for different segments, geographies, or products.

For instance, a car manufacturer may create a marketing mix model to understand how different types of promotions affect sales of SUVs in a specific market. They can use data on promotions (such as discounts, free upgrades, and financing deals), sales, and external factors such as competitor advertising and economic conditions.

Step 5: Test the model

Once the model has been developed, it needs to be tested to ensure that it is accurate and realistic. This involves comparing the model's predictions with actual past outcomes and fine-tuning the model correspondingly. As new data becomes available, the model should be refined continuously.

For example, a restaurant chain may test their marketing mix model by using it to make predictions on sales for the upcoming months. They would compare their predictions to actual sales figures and then refine the model accordingly for future use.

Step 6: Re-evaluate the model

Finally, marketers should re-evaluate the model periodically, revisiting the inputs, fine-tuning the outputs, and updating it to account for changes in the marketplace or customer behavior.

For example, an e-commerce firm may re-evaluate its marketing mix model every quarter to review the performance of campaigns, promotions, and customer acquisition efforts. They may adjust the model to account for changes in the competitive landscape or shifts in customer behavior patterns, such as the rise of mobile shopping.

Interpreting and applying the results: Optimizing marketing strategies

Once you’re ready to begin your analysis, make sure to do the following to optimize your marketing strategies for the best results. 

Prioritize insights

Businesses should focus on identifying the key insights gained from the marketing mix model analysis. These insights can include understanding the impact of different marketing tactics on sales, identifying the most effective channels, and understanding the interaction effects between different marketing activities. By prioritizing these insights, businesses can allocate their marketing budget and resources more effectively, ensuring that they invest in the strategies and tactics that have the most significant impact on sales and ROI.

Build trust in the model

It’s essential for businesses to build trust in the marketing mix model and ensure that stakeholders have confidence in its accuracy and reliability. This can be achieved by validating the model against real-world data, conducting sensitivity analyses, and involving key stakeholders in the model development process. When stakeholders trust the model, they are more likely to make data-driven decisions based on its insights.

Plan and optimize

Once the insights from the marketing mix model analysis are established, businesses can use them to develop marketing plans that optimize their marketing efforts. By understanding the impact of different marketing activities and channels, businesses can allocate their budget and resources in a way that maximizes their return on investment (ROI). They can identify the most effective marketing tactics and channels to invest in, adjust their marketing mix based on changing market conditions, and fine-tune their strategies to reach their target audience more effectively.

Impact of variables on marketing mix models

To create an accurate sales forecast, marketers must consider many variables. Marketing mix elements are divided into base, incremental, and other variables, each with its own factors affecting market performance. Some are independent, while others change according to the circumstances. Understanding these variables is crucial for making precise forecasts of the effects of promotional activities and distribution strategies.

New variables emerging

As marketing environments evolve, new platforms are emerging for engaging with customers, especially millennials. This necessitates accounting for new marketing mix variables. Market trends, product launches, and customer preferences play a vital role in shaping baseline outcomes and demand for products.

Competition, halo and cannibalization effects

To maintain a competitive edge, it’s essential to monitor your competition and understand the halo and cannibalization effects. The halo effect occurs when positive experiences with a brand's products influence consumers' favoritism toward other products from the same brand. On the other hand, cannibalization occurs when a brand's multiple products in the same category negatively impact each other's sales.

How to fix your marketing mix model

If you’ve followed all these tips and are still not receiving the insights you should be getting, you can troubleshoot your marketing mix model using these four steps. 

  1. Evaluate your current model

Take a close look at your existing model and identify any weaknesses or inefficiencies. Are you accurately tracking and measuring the performance of your marketing channels? Are there any gaps in your data collection process? Understanding the limitations of your current model is crucial for making improvements.

Remember, you must establish clear objectives before you can fix your marketing mix model. What are your marketing goals? Are you aiming to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or drive sales? Clearly define your objectives so that you can align your marketing mix model accordingly.

  1. Collect comprehensive data

To get a complete picture of your marketing performance, you need to collect comprehensive data. Make sure you have access to data from all relevant marketing channels, such as social media, email marketing, SEO, paid advertising, and more. Investing in the right tools and technology can help automate data collection and aggregation, saving you valuable time and effort.

  1. Analyze and attribute ROI

One of the critical aspects of fixing your marketing mix model is accurately attributing ROI to different marketing channels. You need to understand which channels are delivering the highest return on investment and optimize your budget allocation accordingly. Implementing multi-touch attribution models and advanced analytics can help you measure the impact of each channel more accurately.

  1. Seek expert help if needed 

If you find fixing your marketing mix model overwhelming or lack the resources to do it in-house, don't hesitate to seek expert help. Marketing analytics and consulting firms specialize in helping businesses optimize their marketing mix models. Their expertise and insights can provide you with valuable guidance and save you time and effort.

Ultimately, these tips and insights can help marketers understand how their digital marketing assets perform over time. Marketers can use this information to ensure that their ads and marketing efforts hit the mark every time. 

You can also use a Marketing Platform like Marin to gather all the data you need to build your marketing mix model. Schedule a demo today to learn more.

Lauren Neels

Marin Software
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