What is a marketing mix? And how can it help my car wash business? What should my marketing mix look like?

The right car wash marketing mix can make a drastic difference in your business performance. Learn all about it, and how to start thinking about what your mix should look like for your
car wash.

A marketing mix is based on the 4 P’s:

  • Price
  • Place
  • Product
  • Promotion

The 4 P’s are a great, guided way, to think through all the elements that go into your marketing mix.

Start with product

Product is every part of the product- the name, the packaging, the design etc., are all factored in. Every part of the product can affect consumer perception.

Calling your car wash “Skippy’s Bargain Car Wash” gives the impression of lower quality, cheap – and that’s not a bad thing. It’s just a specific position in the market. Having a name that elicits trust, like “Prestige Full Service Car Wash” feels more high-end, a customer might pay a bit more, but they won’t mind because of perceived value.

This concept extends to the imagery used as well, including your logo and menu design. There is a wide spectrum between Luxury and Cheap, and understanding where you want your car wash to fit on that spectrum will help you understand who your audience is and what will attract them. It’s all about making sure the customer is satisfied with the value they are receiving for the price.

Let’s use apples as an example:

car wash marketing

Calling a apple an “English Apple” makes it seem higher end. It’s wrapped with a sticker on it and stands out from the other apples on the shelf that have no packaging. While this may be attractive to the Whole Foods consumer, an average grocery store chain shopper who just wants a plain old apple to toss into a lunch time salad would want the $.99 apple, and feel confident in the value they are receiving with that purchase.

Next comes place

Place is where you decide to sell your product.

In the case of our apple, it can be sold at a local chain grocery store or Whole Foods. The same apple at Whole Foods has a higher price tag because of the luxury aspect associated with the Whole Foods brand.

While this may not apply directly to a standalone car wash where all business is done on site, business owners who sell their chemicals or other products in stores will need to consider this aspect of the marketing mix.

Think about price

Price is how much you are charging for your product or service. Determining this price is important for both the business owner and the consumer. It’s important to first know whether your product or service is “elastic” or “inelastic.”Think about price


This applies to goods and services like gas or milk that people need, and will always need. If gas goes up $.50 it typically won’t affect whether you
purchase it, because you rely on gasoline daily. This is considered inelastic, because it would take a drastic price increase to drive down demand.


This applies to goods and services that are more wants than needs. If you are selling a car wash people are going to pay what they think is a fair price but it’s not an essential, so if they don’t feel the price is fair they won’t buy it because it’s not something they actually “need”. Food, for instance, tends to be elastic. If you go to purchase a sandwich that you typically have for lunch several times a week, and the price goes up you might just go somewhere else, because you have other options.

Because your car wash is an elastic service, you need to strategically set your price. Your price point plays a role in how you are perceived in the market. If you want your good or service to be seen as a luxury or a necessity, price can help anchor that market position.

You can sell any standard good or service, but a higher price point often gives the consumer the perception that it is higher quality.

A apple can be $.99, an organic apple can be $1.99, and an English Apple could go for $2.99. In essence, these could all be the same product, but thinking through this from a price perspective allows you to differentiate.

Don’t forget promotion

Promotion is how you market your product. It is split into media and creative.


This applies to WHERE you choose to promote your product. Your advertising dollars or promotional efforts should be dictated by where your audience is. If your audience listens to the local radio station, then a radio spot is a good investment. If your audience is on Facebook (which every audience is!), then Facebook is a great arena to promote your services. Depending on your budget, audience, and location there are many diverse and excellent ways to promote your business, but your media strategy will help you narrow in and focus on those that are likely to provide the best ROI.

**Note: most magazines, radio stations, newspapers etc. will provide you with demographic data on who, where and what their audience is. Ask them for this information to help you and save yourself the trouble of researching it on your own!


This applies to the visuals and marketing message that you use to communicate to your audience.

In the case of our apple, we could promote our organic Whole Foods English Apple with an NPR radio spot. This audience is on average more educated and has a higher income. For the creative, we might feature modern photography with a basket that make it appear fresher and cleaner than your average apple.

Fresh Product

Check out those refreshing cukes! Probably very luxurious and high-end.

However, if we are promoting our run of the mill apple, we might choose instead to advertise it in a grocery store leaflet with a straightforward photo and cost-leading copy. This audience is more likely to care about price over quality when choosing their produce.

car wash marketing

Look at this sensible, 99-cent apple. Probably provides very satisfactory value for the price.

Remember, your marketing mix needs to be consistent. You shouldn’t market “Skippy’s Bargain Car Wash” on NPR and you shouldn’t offer high-priced wash packages there, either. If you’re going to that, you should have named it “Prestige Full Service Car Wash.”

Getting your car wash marketing mix right is the first step to growing your business. Once you find the right mix, your target audience will be much easier to access and more likely to become a full time customer.

Have your marketing mix down and want more ideas for marketing your car wash business? Download our eBook and start growing!