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Marketing is simply defined as ‘the right product at the right place, at the right price, at the right time’. While this sounds like an easy enough proposition, establishing this simple definition requires a lot of effort and research. UP. And if even one element is off the mark, a promising product or service may fail completely and cost the company a great deal.
What is a marketing mix?
A Concept of the marketing mix can be defined as a set of strategies of actions that a company uses to push its products to market. It is known as a marketing mix because it consists of four different elements which have to be implemented together to get positive results.
Using a marketing mix is a great way to help ensure that ‘Putting the right product in the right place,…’ will happen. The concept of the marketing mix is an important tool to help you understand what a product or service can offer and how to plan for a successful product offering. The marketing mix is typically executed through the 4 P’s of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place.
These have been massively added and expanded through the addition of additional P’s and even a 4C concept. But 4Ps serve as a great place to start planning for a product or even evaluate an existing product offering.
The product is either a tangible good or an intangible service that appears to satisfy a specific customer’s need or demand. All products follow a logical product life cycle and it is important for marketers to understand and plan for the different stages and their unique challenges.
It is important to understand the problems the product is trying to solve. There is a need to understand the benefits offered by the product and all its features and there is a need to study the unique selling proposition of the product. In addition, potential buyers of the product need to be identified and understood.
Price covers the actual amount that the end-user is expected to pay for a product. How a product is priced will directly affect how it sells. It is linked to the perceived value of the product to the customer rather than an objective cost of the product on offer. If the price of a product is higher or lower than its stated value, it will not sell. This is why it is imperative to understand how the customer views what you are selling. If there is a positive customer value, the price of a product can successfully exceed its objective monetary value. Conversely, if a product has little value in the eyes of the consumer, it may require a lower price to sell. Value can also be influenced by distribution plans, value chain costing and markup, and how competitors price a rival product.
Marketing communication strategies and techniques all fall under the heading of promotional. These may include advertising, sales promotions, special offers, and public relations. Whatever the channel uses, it needs to be appropriate for the product, price, and end-user for which it is being marketed. It is important to differentiate between marketing and promotion. Promotion is the communication aspect of the entire marketing function.
Location or placement is concerned with how the product will be delivered to the customer. Distribution is a key element of placement. The placement strategy will help in assessing which channel is best suited for a product. How a product is accessed by the end-user must also compliment the rest of the product strategy
History of Marketing Mix Concepts and Terminology
The marketing mix concept gained popularity after an article titled “The Concept of Marketing Mix” by Neil Borden published in 1964. Bourdain explained how he began using the term inspired by James Cullinton, who in the 1940s described marketing managers as ‘mixers of content’. Borden’s article detailed these contents as product, plan, price, branding, distribution, display, packaging, advertising. Promotion, personal selling among many others. Ultimately, E. Jerome McCarthy grouped many of these items into four high-level categories that we now know as the 4 Ps of Marketing.
“Its elements are the basic, strategic components of a marketing plan”. Together, the elements of these four categories help to develop marketing strategies and tactics.
THE FOUR PS OF MARKETING AS THE FOUR CS
Sometimes, the Four Ps of Marketing, as expressed in an alternative model, is known as the Four Cs of Marketing. The four CS model was developed as an alternative to the four CS model because it focuses more on the interests of the customer rather than the interests of the seller or marketer.
The fourC’s of marketing are
Customer wants and needs
This is the first C of the marketing mix. Its corresponding element in the four Ps of marketing is the product. Generally, customers don’t go to the market looking for products just for the sake of it. They go to the market because they have a need they want to fulfill or a problem they want to solve. Therefore, it is important for marketers not to focus primarily on their product, but on the wants and needs of the customer that the product fulfills. Once marketers understand the needs and requirements of their customers, it becomes very easy to come up with products that the customer will be interested in buying. Customers also take into account things like other products/services to be able to use your product, the advantage of your product compared to any other similar product, the opportunity cost when they decide to buy your product, the cost to them. Where can I buy your product, time taken, etc?
Cost to customer
This is the second Concept of marketing mix. Its corresponding element among the four Ps of marketing is value. Most marketers focus only on the price of a product, forgetting that the price is only a part of the customer’s cost to obtain your product. Customers also take into account things like other products/services to be able to use your product, the advantage of your product compared to any other similar product, the opportunity cost when they decide to buy your product, the cost to them. Where does it take to get your product, etc? So, if you want to market your product successfully, you need to think about all these other customer costs, in addition to the price of your product.
Convenience is the third C of the marketing mix. This corresponds to the location on the Four Ps of Marketing. While location only considers where the customer will be able to get your product, convenience also takes into account how convenient it is for the customer to place an order for your product. Smart marketers do this not only to make their product available in as many places as possible but also to make the process of buying their product as convenient as possible. In other words, it’s about making sure your customers don’t have to jump through any hoops to buy your product.
Communication is the final Concept of marketing mix, and it is consistent with promotion on the Four Ps of Marketing. Product promotion is a vendor-centric activity. The aim is to try as much as possible to convince a customer to buy a product, and sometimes, by the time the customer makes a purchase, it can be manipulative. On the other hand, communication is a more customer-centric approach to sales. Communication focuses on a two-way interaction between seller and customer, rather than promotion, which focuses only on sending messages to customers. Communication allows marketers to build relationships with their customers and is more likely to lead to brand loyalty.
Four Ps vs Seven Ps of Marketing Mix
At the time the Four Ps model was developed, most businesses sell products, and only a few businesses were involved in the sale of services. Over time, however, more businesses became involved in the sale of services, and therefore, it was observed that the Four Ps model did not fully address the marketing needs of such businesses. It incorporated three marketing mix elements into the Four Ps of the Marketing Model, intended to help companies address other key issues that impact their efforts to market their products and services. Three additional marketing mix elements are physical evidence, people (ex-participants), and processes.
Even when you are selling services, which are intangible, some part of a customer’s order will include some physical element. For example, when a freelance writer creates a blog post for a client, they have to deliver a file containing the finished article. When a customer walks into a hair salon, the completed hairdo is the physical aspect of their order. When a customer buys an insurance cover from an insurance company, they have to get printed material as proof of their purchase. Although this physical evidence is only a small part of the order, it has an impact on the perception of your brand, and therefore, on your marketing efforts. Therefore, all physical evidence associated with your products and services must reflect the qualities that customers expect from your brand. Physical evidence includes things like delivery receipts, signage, product packaging, the layout of the physical store, etc.
The employee(s) who have direct contact with your customers, such as customer service personnel, sales agents, distribution people, and so on, also influence the perception of your brand. If they look professional, your brand will be seen as a professional brand. Whether they look like they don’t know what they’re doing, that’s exactly how your brand will be perceived. If your customer service people provide excellent service, it creates a positive experience for your customers and increases the likelihood that they will come back or refer their friends and family to your business. Therefore, you need to make sure that you recruit the right people into your company, and that they are adequately trained.
It refers to the aspects of your organization that affect how your products and services are delivered to the customer. The process includes the user experience of your website, ordering process, ordering process, level of customer support, in-store wait times, etc. These processes affect the customer experience, and hence, they have an impact on your customer experience as well. Ideally, a company should aim to provide a consistently high level of service to its customers and to make its processes more efficient and convenient for the customer.