The Marketing Mix

Almost every business on the planet sets out with the primary objective of earning money. This is usually done by producing some form of product, or offering a service, and then charging people money for it. This fundamental principle is fairly straight-forward, although it contains many intricate details.

Firstly, it is a very rare case that a business can offer a product or service that is truly unique and cannot be supplied by anyone else. This means that your company will be competing with other businesses that sell a similar product and you will both be trying to make money from the same shoppers, who only want to spend their cash once. So how can you boost the chances of them spending money with you?

Marketing is the main tool used by modern firms to draw potential customers to do business with them and not with their rivals. It is a very extensive topic that is influenced by a great number of internal and external variables, but when done well it can be the one business practice that could make or break a corporation.

So where should you begin when creating a marketing strategy for your own business? Well, every situation is different, and every business will have its own set of advantages and weaknesses that must be taken into consideration, but there is a marketing principle that can be applied to almost any company to be used as a marketing platform. It is called the “Marketing Mix”.

The Marketing Mix

The marketing mix was a term that was first coined during the 1950′s and is an expression that is used to describe the fundamental building blocks of any marketing system. It demonstrates the fact that marketing is not a straightforward, blunt-edged business technique, but rather a delicate balance of different elements of business functions. It got its name because it is similar to the ingredients list for a recipe.

The term was later built upon to include the idea of “four P’s” that described the essential elements of the marketing mix. The formalisation of these P’s made it very clear for business managers and marketers to swiftly associate the elements of marketing to the strengths of their own companies, and by doing so could very rapidly form a customised and efficient marketing system. The four P’s are Product, Price, Place and Promotion.

While we were planning the release of our company products we employed concepts in the marketing mix to create a plan.

Product

Although every aspect of the marketing mix is a necessity, the “product” element mentioned as one of the four P’s is possibly the most crucial of all. It describes the physical product or intangible service that your company will be selling, and at the end of the day it is the reason that buyers are going to spend money with you. If this part is not adequately managed then your company will find it hard to make it through.

Many people do not think that marketing has any place to play when it comes to the physical product that your company is selling. In fact, the typical train of thought very often bears the exact opposite sentiment. Surely it should be the other way around – your production department creates an item for sale and then it is the job of the marketing department to find ways to sell it, right?

Consider the computer software market as an example. There are many established brands of both operating system and software application solutions on the market already, and because the market is relatively well saturated it would be very tough (and expensive) to “take on the big boys”. So how could the principles of the marketing mix assist in this situation?

Rather than developing an operating system and then trying to craft a marketing strategy to rival the likes of Microsoft and Apple, it would be far more effective to look at what types of product are sought after in the current marketplace, and how feasible it would be to produce and sell them. By being aware of the marketing mix early on in your product development period you can avoid business dead-ends at a later stage.

Once your goods have been designed and created it is still a critical skill to be able to objectively evaluate your own products to identify the reasons why a customer should buy your product rather than a competitors’.

A different form of this part of the marketing mix is known as product variation and is generally used to either prolong the lifecycle of a product currently in the market, or to make your brand new product attractive to as many consumers as possible.

The car industry uses this approach very effectively by offering various engines, trim packages and interior options with the cars that they sell. They use the marketing mix to good effect to sell their own goods in an incredibly competitive marketplace.

With the rise of the Internet and e-commerce companies find their sites such as maytag bottom freezer refrigerators might be utilised for a direct sales channel and distribution system.

Price

Another key factor in the marketing mix relates to the price of your products or services. This is not a simple case of carrying out market research to determine the highest price that your customers would spend (although that can be a handy tool to use), but rather using the price of your products as a strategic tool designed to achieve any specific objectives your company has. The potential advantages of an effective pricing strategy are surprisingly substantial!

Whilst it may seem obvious, it is still worth noting that price has always been, and probably always will be, one of the key factors that shoppers take into account when they are making a purchase. It is also worth noting that customers don’t always consider the lowest price to be the best value. In fact a price that is too low can often turn customers away.

There are many questions that you need to ask yourself when devising a good pricing plan, key amongst which are the price sensitivity of your customers, what your competitors are doing and how can pricing maximise your own profits. From a strategy point of view though, pricing can be covered by two main principals; price skimming and also penetration pricing. These are outlined below.

Price skimming

The principal idea behind price skimming is to make as much money as possible from the sector of the market which is price-insensitive and are going to be willing to spend a premium amount of money to receive a product or service early on. Not only can this approach deliver great economic benefits, but it can also advertise an exclusive and high quality image of your item.

This pricing technique is frequently used in the consumer electronics industry where customers will often eagerly await the launch of a new mobile phone or computer games console. Makers could set almost any price they wanted to and there would still be a loyal core of customers that would pay it. By making use of this method as part of a pre-ordering strategy, a company can help to smooth its own money flow.

Penetration pricing

Penetration pricing is at the opposite end of the pricing spectrum, and is tailored towards gaining a large market share at a short-term cost so that financial benefits can be earned long into the future. It can be a risky strategy, but when used correctly it can setup revenue streams for many years to come.

Another thing to keep in mind is that “price” is the one part of the marketing mix that will generate income for a business. The other members of the four P’s will all cost money to create or undertake. So it is even more essential to get your pricing strategy right.

After using on-line tools to compare keyword search popularity we identified chicken cooking to guide the strategy for on-line promotion as well as off-line marketing materials.

Place

Place is the portion of the marketing mix that’s often disregarded by companies, but it is still an important part of selling your product effectively. In short, it describes the method in which you deliver your product to your customer, and consequently how you collect money from them. It can be a fantastic marketing approach when applied correctly.

The most common ramifications of place-based marketing are the physical locations in which your products are sold. For the vast majority of consumer products, this involves the distribution infrastructure between your manufacturing plants and shops or other outlets around the world. Since distribution of a physical product costs money it is important to determine your own priorities and adapt your distribution network appropriately.

With the increasing use of the Internet by your prospective customers, marketing techniques have had to take into account how they use the Internet to help distribute their products. By using the Internet as a point of contact (or even as a whole distribution route in download-based markets such as MP3s) companies are now able to reach out to a large pool of potential customers.

Promotion

When you say the word “marketing”, many people immediately think of the promotional aspect of the marketing mix, although as we have seen, this is only one branch of a more comprehensive system. Promotion can be used on a very individual basis or as a mass communication tool, and whilst it might be an expensive undertaking it is often an essential one. The primary concern of promotion is to deliver a particular message that will increase sales.

Advertising is one of the most typical forms of promotion. Typically it would be done by posting on billboards, creating short clips for TV and radio or by physically distributing flyers or leaflets to potential customers. With the coming of the information age we have witnessed a great increase in promotion via e-mail and the Internet, or simply as targeted advertising materials posted through your front door. The potential for individualised advertising has never been so good.

Another important part of promotion involves branding, which may not necessarily yield more product sales directly, but goes back to one of the preliminary purposes of marketing; getting customers to choose your product over those of your competitors.

Putting it into Practice

As previously mentioned every company is unique and will have different marketing requirements. By using a mixture of the four P’s reviewed above you can take a good view of your own marketing strategy.

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