Marketing Mix is a framework that helps business managers to develop a marketing strategy for their business. The original framework consists of four key components, the so-called “4Ps”: Product/Service, Place, Price and Promotion. More recently, the framework has been expanded by Booms & Bitner to include three additional “Ps” – People, Process and Physical Evidence. Let us look at each of the components in detail:
Your product should satisfy a need and provide an experience for which your customers are willing to pay. As a good marketer, you should develop a habit of looking at the product continually and asking questions to determine whether your product is still appropriate for the market, or if your competitor offers a product that is superior, or if you even should continue to offer this product given changes in the marketplace.
Understanding where buyers look for your product is critical for the success of your business. Is it a store, shopping website, a catalogue? Once you determine where your target audience shops, you should make your product available and easily accessible to them. It is also helpful to look at your competitor and think about how to better place your product.
The price you ask for your product or service is directly correlated with your success. It is important to note however, that lower prices do not always assume a larger market share. Customers will usually pay more money for something that has more value to them and is exactly what they need. There is a set of questions you should answer before pricing your product such as:
- How much do your buyers value the product?
- Are your buyers price-sensitive?
- If you were to decrease your price, would that gain you a larger market share? Or is it worth increasing the price to gain more profit?
- How does your competitor price its product?
- Does your price make you look valuable or cheap?
As you think of promoting your product, you need to do research to understand where and when you can reach out to your target audience. There are a number of communication channels you could use to promote your product – public relations, advertising, door to door selling, SMS marketing, online marketing, Social Media and so on. Choosing the right channel for your marketing message is key to reaching your target customer base.
The 5th, 6th and 7th Ps are mainly important to service industries, however, you could adapt them to be applicable to your product.
Having the right people to carry out each task within your company is important to the success of your business, whether it is a product you offer or a service. An employee that believes in the product/service you are selling is an asset as he/she is more likely to perform well, and speak of your product well outside of your business. It is particularly important to have the right people servicing customers directly. Remember, one good experience your customers have while dealing with your company representatives may be far more effective than hours of TV ads.
You want a client to leave your business with positive feelings to remain loyal and to possibly share the good experience with others. It is worth looking at the process of delivering a service as an opportunity for additional interaction with your customer to reinforce your image. Keep in mind that your customer is paying for the overall product, which includes the service delivery. For example, a restaurant is not only judged by the delicious food it offers – the speed of service and friendliness of the waiting staff are almost as important as the quality of food.
The environment in which you deliver your service and the packaging you present your product in, directly influences the final customer decision towards your service or product. . How you are perceived as a brand,(what comes to mind when your company’s or product name is heard) is part of this “P”. If the place where you are delivering your service is messy and unappealing, your customers may not trust your service and may be hesitant to work with you. Even if it is the receipt you give to your customer, should look professional as it says a lot about your company and the people who work for you.
Once you have defined your marketing mix, you should test it out by looking at your offering from the customers’ perspective:
- Does your product satisfy their needs?
- Is it well placed for them to easily find it where they shop?
- Is it worth the price they will pay for it?
- Do you use the right communication channels to reach them?
- Do the people that work for you represent your product or service well?
Continue asking questions and refine your mix until you are pleased with your marketing mix. Remember, as markets and consumer needs change, your marketing mix should also be reevaluated regularly to assure your business is on the right track.
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