The Marketing Mix.
The Marketing Mix is defined as being a ‘set of controllable variables which a business blends to produce the response it wants in the target market’, according to Philip Kotler, the Father of Marketing. It is a marketing strategy tool which involves the fundamental building blocks that need to be considered in order to create a successful business. The marketing mix is the tactical or operational part of a marketing plan, and it is all about putting the right product, in the right place, at the right time and at the right price.
The Seven P’s of Promotion.
The seven P’s are what make up the Marketing Mix, and they are recognised as being a group of marketing tactics. The mix of elements can be used in any varying combination, and when used most affectively they will satisfy the consumer and benefit the business as well.
The model of the P’s of Promotion was devised in the 1960’s by marketing professor, E. Jerome McCarthy. Originally he proposed the concept of just four P’s..Product, Price, Place and Promotion. These were designed at a time where services and the role of customer service in helping the development of a brand was not so well known, and instead businesses just sold products. Over the years as businesses have progressed and service roles have become much more apparent in the industry, the model needed to be amended to keep it current and relevant. It was in the late 1970’s when it was widely acknowledged by Marketers that the Marketing Mix was required an update, and this led to the creation of the Extended Marketing Mix, or the ‘Service Mix P’s’, in 1981 by Booms and Bitner. They introduced three new elements, People, Process and Physical Evidence, to the four P’s principle, which now allowed the Marketing Mix to include products that are services and not just physical things. Today, it’s recommended that the full seven P’s of the marketing mix are considered when reviewing competitive strategies.
The product refers to the goods the business is selling or the service in which they are offering to their target market consumers..Both tangible and intangible forms of products apply. It should be ensured that the product being presented is the right type of product which is in demand for the specific market..Think about the key features and the benefits that the customers want or need. There are a number of questions which need to be carefully thought of when developing a product;
- What does the client want from the service or product?
- How and where will the customer use it?
- What features must the product have to meet the client’s needs?
- Are there any necessary features that have been missed out?
- Are there any features that are not needed by the client?
- What’s the name of the product?
- What are the sizes or colors available?
- How is the product different from the products of your competitors?
- What does the product look like?
There is plenty to take in to consideration, but overall, the main focus is “What can I do to offer a better product to this group of people that what my competitors do?’.
The Price of the products being offered is basically the amount in which the consumer has to pay to enjoy it. The product should always be seen as representing good value for money. This does not necessarily mean it has to be the cheapest, as customers are usually willing to pay a little more for something which works well for them, but it just means that price should reflect both the brand and the product to keep customers happy. Pricing strategy is an important part of the marketing mix as not only does it have an effect on the customers, but on the business as well. For customers, the pricing scheme helps to shape their overall perception of a product. A lower price tends to mirror an inferior good which will be compared to competitors, yet consequently, a price that is deemed to be too high will potentially make the costs outweigh the benefits and therefore the customer will value their money more than the product. From a business point of view, pricing can determine the firm’s profit and survival chances. If the price of the product is altered over time it can have a big impact on the company as it can greatly affect the sales and demand of the product. Things to identify whilst deciding on a pricing strategy are; how much customers are prepared to pay, profit margins and payment methods, how much mark-up is needed to cater for overheads, and any other relevant costs applicable.
The Place includes company activities that make the product available to target consumers..It is where the products and services are seen, made, sold or distributed, moving them from the manufacturer or service provider to the user or consumer. Placement is an incredibly important part of the mix, as it is crucial to be positioned and distribute the product in a place which is easily accessible to potential buyers. Having an in-depth understanding of the target market is a great advantage for this element..If a business knows their consumers well then they will discover the most efficient position and distribution channels which will reach their audience directly. Whether it is on the High Street, Mail Order, E-commerce or an Online Shop, access to the product is key and customers must conveniently be able to find it with ease.
The Promotion of a product includes all of the activities which marketers undertake to inform consumers about their products and to encourage potential customers to buy the products. Promotion is comprised of various elements including; Advertising, Public Relations, Sales Promotion and Sales Organisation. These are usually referred to as marketing tactics, and all of them are significant communication tools for a business. Standard advertising typically covers methods which are paid for, such as, Radio Commercials, Internet and Social Media Advertisements, Television Advertisements and Print Media, where as Public Relations are usually unpaid for communications like, Press Releases, Exhibitions, Conferences and Events. Another type of product promotion is word-of-mouth, in which satisfied customers and ordinary individuals informally communicate about the benefits of the product. This can be done in person or online and this type of promotion has the potential to be one of the most valuable to a business. Overall, promotion is a principle component of marketing as it can boost brand recognition and sales too.
Of both target market and individuals directly related to the business, People are arguably the most important element to any service..In fact, they are as much a part of the business offering as what the products and services being offered are. The company’s employees, from sales staff to managing directors, play a major role in marketing as they are the ones who deliver the service to the buyers, and the company relies on these individuals to do the best job possible. Having the right people is essential, so it is pivotal to hire and train all employees to deliver superior service to all consumers, regardless of what job role they have. If the employees genuinely believe in the product or service which the particular business creates, it is highly likely that they will perform to their best abilities. When exceptional customer service is delivered, it creates a positive experience for customers which markets the brand to them. In turn, existing customers may spread the word about the excellent service and referrals can be expected. By recruiting the right people and training them to high standards to develop their skills, a business is giving themselves a competitive advantage.
The systems and processes of the organisation affect the execution of the service. The Process refers to each of the different processes which are involved in delivering the products and services to the customer. It is about the actual procedures, mechanisms and the flow of activities that are used to encourage good customer interface between the company and the consumer to make the company ‘easy to do business with’. Having these good procedures set in place ensures that the same standard of service is repeatedly delivered to the customers and it also saves the company time and money by increasing efficiency. Once the business’s well-tailored processes have been put into action, tweaking and enhancements can be made later on to ‘tighten up’ the business to minimise costs and maximise profits.
The material part of a service is referred to as the Physical Evidence. This includes everything that the customer sees when interacting with a company. Unlike when selling goods and products, when a business is offering a service to the consumers there are no physical attributes, so the consumer tends to rely on just the material signs. Some examples of Physical Evidence includes, buildings, equipment, signs and logos, brochures, a website and even business cards as well. In goods and service industries, there should always be physical evidence to show that the service was delivered.
Making use of these seven P’s can help companies tremendously to review and define key issues that may affect the marketing of their products and services which they are offering to customers.