Understanding the marketing mix is crucial for the success of any marketing program. And most have probably heard of the 4P’s of the marketing mix: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Just reading those typically give you the “ah ha” moment. I know those!
What is the Marketing Mix?
For you to successfully launch and sell profitably you need to understand what it is you are selling -the Product/service, your first P. How much to charge for your product? In other words the Price, your second P. Where you are going to sell your product? It doesn’t have to be physical space but it is the Place and your third P. And finally how are you going to let people know about your product. Basically how are you going to promote your product — the 4th P. Simple right?
It can be. However, since the 4P’s were introduced in 1960 and still cover the broad strokes for a marketing mix analysis most are now analyzing the 7P’s. The 7P’s may vary depending on your source but for me, I prefer the addition of packaging (some call this physical evidence), people (which includes more on the customer contact, culture and training) and positioning.
How does Marketing Mix affect your business?
The marketing mix model gives you the framework from which to develop a marketing benchmark and ability to audit your programs on a regular basis so you can determine the best courses of action.
The Primary 4P’s
Products/Services: What need does your product/service fill? What are the benefits to someone using/buying your product or service? If you haven’t done a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis then that could be helpful here. It is also helpful to develop a SWOT analysis for each of your primary competitors.
Price: How much can you or should you charge for your product or service? This
should include understanding your costs associated with making/selling your product including your overhead. You also want to have clear understanding of what the market will bear (or your customers will pay). And how does that fit within your overall positioning for your business.
Place: Where will you distribute your product/service? Will you have a brick & mortar location, solely online, or a mobile or pop-up store options? How can your customers actually experience what you are selling?
Promotion: How will you get your message out to potential customers? This is a complex question today and requires a good understanding of your customer demographics and psychographics. Where and how do they like to be reached? What combination of paid mainstream media versus online media versus social media (paid and unpaid) will work best?
The Secondary 3P’s (still very important)
Packaging: This area goes beyond just the physical packaging of your product (even though that is important). It includes such areas as is your website up to date and easy to navigate? Is your brick & mortar building in a good location, easy to find, easy to shop? Do you have a headquarters building? If so, will it impress your target customer? Do you need it to? Are you technologically current or more innovative than your competition?
People: Are your employees well trained? Are you customer service centric? Do you have the right people in the right places (or as Jim Collins says in his book, “Good to Great” – do you have the right people on the bus and are those people in the right seats on the bus?).
Positioning: Why is someone buying your product? What do you want the perception of your product to be versus your competitors? Are you higher quality at a better price? Do you have better/more features? Is this a low-cost leader? This is a key differentiator in understanding your business in the marketplace as a whole. WHO do you want to be?
7P’s Provide Better Understanding
As you can see, if you spend time defining each of the7P’s for your business then you will have a better understanding of how the varying campaigns, media and mediums may have on affecting your sales.
Because that is the bottom-line, how do you sell more!
Now, many may look at the list of questions and decide it’s too hard to answer, to complicated or not necessary. But you can start at a top level overview and then flush it out further as necessary.
A simple Top Level Example
Let’s look at a simple example for an online company that sells specialty gift baskets:
- Products/Services: Offers a wide variety of specialty food and beverage gift baskets for special occasions.
- Pricing: High quality gift baskets with unique gift items and finishes offered at a competitive price (providing more value for the dollar).
- Place/Access: Strictly online
- Promotion: Social media, effective SEO for website, social media advertising, ie: LinkedIn, networking, sponsorships
- Packaging: Consistently provide high quality gift baskets from a well-designed and easy to navigate e-commerce website
- People: Our people are well-trained and understand the value of every customer
- Positioning: We provide superior quality gift baskets with unique personalized touches that customers will want to order for every occasion.
Marketing Mix is a Roadmap
As you can see, it can be simple answers to the questions to get you started and then
continue to expand your answers to have a full understanding of where you are. The overall promotional mix may change as you expand your product line and/or your service area.
The marketing mix can be a roadmap for you to check each time a new innovation is added, a new medium is introduced or a new product is being introduced that appeals to a new demographic. Your marketing mix is not one size fits all or most. It can be drilled down to your individual target demographics or for each individual product or service you offer to help you develop the most effective marketing program for the best possible sales results.
Her corporate marketing experience included National Advertising Director for Avis Rent a Car Systems, Inc., and Director of Marketing Services for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Read More