The marketing mix is a business tool used in marketing and bymarketers. The marketing mix is often crucial when determining a product or brand’s offer, and is often associated with the four P’s: price, product, promotion, and place.

In service marketing, however, the four Ps are expanded to the seven P’sor Seven P’s to address the different nature of services.

The term “marketing-mix” was first coined by Neil Borden, the president of the American Marketing Association in 1953. It is still used today to make important decisions that lead to the execution of a marketing plan. The various approaches that are used have evolved over time, especially with the increased use of technology.

Besides, with the advent of digital marketing, marketers are suggesting new P’s, or are saying that digital marketing has changed the way these P’s used to work.

The new P’s:

  • People
  • Participate
  • Personalize
  • Product
  • Process
  • Pay
  • Partner

But many, including Illinois University, suggest that the P’s have only changed and there is no need for new P’s. The way these P’s have changed is discussed here by using the first two P’s only. Product has new terms introduced. Now products are not developed by a company alone; the concept of co-creation and crowd sourcing have jumped in. Promotion is carried out with user created content.

It’s simple! You just need to create a product that a particular group of people want, put it on sale some place that those same people visit regularly, and price it at a level which matches the value they feel they get out of it; and do all that at a time they want to buy. Then you’ve got it made!

There’s a lot of truth in this idea. However, a lot of hard work needs to go into finding out what customers want, and identifying where they do their shopping. Then you need to figure out how to produce the item at a price that represents value to them, and get it all to come together at the critical time.

But if you get just one element wrong, it can spell disaster. You could be left promoting a car with amazing fuel-economy in a country where fuel is very cheap; or publishing a textbook after the start of the new school year, or selling an item at a price that’s too high – or too low – to attract the people you’re targeting.

The marketing mix is a good place to start when you are thinking through your plans for a product or service, and it helps you avoid these kinds of mistake

KEY NOTE: The 4Ps of marketing is just one of many lists that have been developed over the years. And, whilst the questions we have listed above are key, they are just a subset of the detailed probing that may be required to optimize your marketing mix.

ANALYZING THE 4Ps.

PRODUCT:

  • What does the customer want from the product /service? What needs does it satisfy?
  • What features does it have to meet these needs?
    • Are there any features you’ve missed out?
    • Are you including costly features that the customer won’t actually use?
  • How and where will the customer use it?
  • What does it look like? How will customers experience it?
  • What size(s), color(s), and so on, should it be?
  • What is it to be called?
  • How is it branded?
  • How is it differentiated versus your competitors?
  • What is the most it can cost to provide, and still be sold sufficiently profitably?

 

PRICE:

  • What is the value of the product or service to the buyer?
  • Are there established price points  for products or services in this area?
  • Is the customer price sensitive? Will a small decrease in price gain you extra market share?
  • Or will a small increase be indiscernible, and so gain you extra profit margin?
  • What discounts should be offered to trade customers, or to other specific segments  of your market?
  • How will your price compare with your competitors?

 

PLACE:

  • Where do buyers look for your product or service?
  • If they look in a store, what kind? A specialist boutique or in a supermarket, or both? Or online? Or direct, via a catalogue?
  • How can you access the right distribution channels?
  • Do you need to use a sales force? Or attend trade fairs? Or make online submissions? Or send samples to catalogue companies?
  • What do your competitors  do, and how can you learn from that and/or differentiate?

PROMOTION:

  • Where and when can you get across your marketing messages to your target market?
  • Will you reach your audience by advertising online, in the press, or on TV, or radio, or on billboards? By using direct marketing mailshot? Through PR? On the Internet?
  • When is the best time to promote? Is there seasonality in the market? Are there any wider environmental issues that suggest or dictate the timing of your market launch, or the timing of subsequent promotions?
  • How do your competitors do their promotions? And how does that influence your choice of promotional activity?

 

MARKETING ACTIVATION.

Marketing activation is the execution of the marketing mix  as part of the marketing process. The activation phase typically comes after the planing phase during which managers plan their marketing activities and is followed by a feedback phase in which results are evaluated with marketing analytics.

Before executing its marketing activities, a firm will benefit from identifying which customer groups to target. “By focusing on some fewer influencers only, activation can become more efficient and higher returns can be expected.”

Customer data is a significant source of information for planning marketing activation. A common practice is to use customer relationship management tools and techniques to augment the impact of marketing activation because CRM “provides an integrative framework in which marketing activation and customer activities collaborate to increase patronage.

Brand activation, sometimes called brand engagement which focuses on building a longer term emotional connection between the brand and the customer; and activation based on direct-response marketing will focus on generating immediate sales transactions are two types of Marketing activation which are used as part of Marketing Strategy. 

For more information, use the ‘ask a question page’.

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