Whether you’re a marketing manager or small business owner, chances are you’ve heard the term marketing mix before. For those reading this who have not come across the term, a marketing mix is the set of marketing tools, mediums and perspectives which a business utilises to sell its products or services to its target market.
Marketing Mix In A Nutshell.
Businesses have always used various marketing tools to promote and sell their products and services, but the term “marketing mix” was coined in the mid 20th century. One of the term’s first uses was during an address delivered back in 1953 to the American Marketing Association, by Harvard professor Neil Bordon, who outlined how marketers develop and implement successful marketing plans.
By accurately identifying and arranging the elements of a marketing mix, business owners can make profitable marketing decisions at every level of their business. These decisions can help businesses:
Develop their strengths and limit their weaknesses.
Become more competitive and adaptable in their markets.
Improve profitable collaboration between departments and partners.
Since the 50s, the key elements of the marketing mix have underdone many transformations as a result of emerging technologies and other changes to what is considered to be best practices.
The Four Ps of a Marketing Mix:
Since the 60s, the marketing mix has been associated with the “Four Ps”, namely price, product, promotion and place:
Price. Refers to the cost of purchasing a product. A price depends on a consumer’s perceived value of a product, and it can drastically affect your marketing strategies. Of course, a lower price makes products more accessible to more customers, while a higher rate appeals to customers seeking exclusivity or high-end products. In terms of both, the price has to be greater than the production costs for your business to make a profit.
Product. Refers to what is being sold. Marketers need to consider the life cycle of their products to address and difficulties which might arise once it’s in the hands of their consumers. For instance, the first generation iPod had battery life issues which were only discovered after a specific time, and Apple had to work towards developing methods to address this issue.
Promotion. Promotion refers to the advertising, direct marketing and sales promotion of your products and services. Television ads, web ads, catalogues, trade fairs, billboard advertising and even ads on branded vehicles (cabs, buses, trains and even Ubers) are all forms of promotion. Furthermore, this category also includes PR (public relations), i.e. the distribution of press releases or ongoing relationships with the media. Promotion encompasses that which is communicated, whom it is delivered to, how your audience is reached and how frequently the promotion happens.
Place. Refers to any physical location which a customer can use, access, or buy a product or service. Places include distribution centres, transport, warehousing, inventory decisions and franchises.
The Seven Ps of the Marketing Mix.
Often, in marketing strategies, the four Ps are expanded to include the seven Ps. In addition to the four Ps, the seven Ps include physical evidence, people and process:
Physical evidence. This refers to anything tangible related to your product or the physical environment in which service occurs. Physical evidence includes product packaging, delivery receipts, signage, as well as the layout of a physical store.
People. Refers to your employees, including those who interact directly with your customers (salespeople, customer service and delivery people) as well as staff recruitment and training. This “P” also includes how efficiently employees perform at work, their appearance (for instance, if they have uniforms), and how customers feel about the experience with them.
Process. Lastly, process refers to any aspect within your business which affects how a product or service is carried out by employees and delivered to clients. Examples include the order in which employees are required to carry out tasks, the number of queries your sales team receives, where customers are directed for help and how performance is tracked and measured. Furthermore, it also covers which elements of the process are standardised and which have room for customisation on a per-customer basis.
What is a Digital Marketing Mix?
In a nutshell, a digital marketing mix is how businesses achieve their marketing goals through the use of digital tools. As more business is conducted online every day, digital marketing tools are becoming vastly more important to all types of businesses, as opposed to only those which are tech-orientated.
A digital marketing mix employs the same basic principles of the traditional marketing mix, however, these elements are adapted to align with how the Internet influences emerging technologies and consumer behaviours.
The Four Cs of a Marketing Mix.
In the early 90s, the four Ps were updated to four Cs, to place less focus on the business and more on the customer. The four Cs refer to the consumer, cost, convenience, and communication. In certain instances, the four Cs might be more applicable to a digital marketing mix and than the four Ps.
Consumer. This refers to the wants and needs of the consumer. Using this model, the business should put its focus on solving problems for consumers as opposed to creating products. The model requires adequate research into consumer behaviour and needs as well as interacting with potential costumes to determine their wants.
Cost. This refers to the total cost of acquiring a product or service, which goes beyond just the price tag. The cost includes the time it takes to conduct research into a product before making a purchase. Moreover, it might also cover the cost in trade-offs which consumers need to make, for instance, forgoing another purchase, or the cost of guilt which they may experience when buying or not buying a product or service.
Convenience. Refers to how easy or difficult it is for customers to find and purchase a product or service. The advent of Internet marketing and buying has made this “C” notably important with regards to customer decisions as opposed to physical places.
Communication. This “C” refers to the dialogue, which depends as much on the seller as it does the consumer. It includes advertising, marketing and media appearances. However, in the digital realm, it also includes emails, brand ambassadors or influencers, blogging, websites, sponsored product placement and of course, a business’s social media channels.
How To Define Your Marketing Mix.
In order to secure early sales and develop a solid customer base, a business owner needs to identify its marketing mix. The first step in this process is identifying and defining your target customer.
Once you’ve determined who your customer is, you’ll begin to understand their relationship with your business.
What problem does your target customer have?
What is preventing them from solving that problem?
How do your products or services address their needs or challenges?
How do your target customers feel about your competition and you?
What is your target customer’s motivation to make a purchase?
Following this, you need to identify your sales and growth goals, as well as your marketing budget. Then, select a marketing tactic or tactics which will help you reach your target audience and achieve your goals.
For instance, if you require 25 leads to sell one product, and you desire to sell 1,000 products per month, then you’ll need 25,000 fresh leads. You’re aware that your target customer reads and trusts two different websites, one which has 25,000 visitors a month and one with a million per month. The website which only has 25,000 per month is more cost-effective to advertise on, but of course, it’s highly unlikely that all 25,000 visitors will become new leads. Thus, the website boasting a million visitors is of better use to your ad budget, even if it costs more to advertise there.
By carefully working through the elements of your business’s marketing mix, you’ll have the power to develop strategies which effectively reach consumers, secure sales and grow your business more efficiently.
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