What is a Marketing Mix?
The question, “What is a Marketing Mix?” is often encountered by students as well as industry practitioners. In real-life business settings, local and international marketers who want to introduce a new product or service (or expand business) make sure they are addressing the four P’s: product, price, place, and promotion. These are the main components of a marketing mix. A marketing mix must be distinguished from a marketing strategy. The latter encompasses the former.
In recent years, some organizations have expanded the four P’s to include three other important things: people, process and physical evidence.
People are undoubtedly a vital component of the overall marketing plan. They are the ones creating the product following specifications, and their role in ensuring success as the product wends its way into the marketplace cannot be discounted. Process is the delivery of service to customers, while physical evidence is interlinked with place and promotion. Physical evidence can be shown my informational materials, retail store or online presence.
Positioning a product that’s about to be launched or relaunched in the marketplace involves assessing the key strengths or benefits to consumers, and highlighting them. These benefits that make a product or service stand out from the rest of the pack constitute the unique selling proposition.
Because most consumers will normally expect companies to deliver on their promises, forward-thinking firms employ tried-and-tested strategies. One of these is by not promising a lot, but ensuring utmost customer satisfaction (or overdelivering).
Customer satisfaction may be gained through the combination of all the elements in the marketing mix, beginning with a quality product. Determining the best places where the product or service will be offered or the channels for their distribution – whether through brick-and-mortar stores, online, and other avenues – can also have an impact on sales.
Small and large firms need to invest, of course, in addressing all elements of their marketing mix. Even established firms need to continually get the pulse of the market and check whether their stores are aging. Work-from-home businesses, likewise, need to focus on product development, maintain quality, distribute their goods through the right channels, and give good customer service.
Contemplating on ‘what is a marketing mix’ that will appeal to today’s consumers is therefore very crucial. With the right promotional approaches and pricing moves, companies can gain a customer following and bring in revenues. As far as advertising or promoting products and services are concerned, companies employ different tactics. In the contemporary era, a great deal of marketing messages is disseminated through social media sites or mobile phones. Nonetheless, traditional media including or non-traditional advertising such as electronic billboards
In the case of organizations marketing their products in different countries, mulling over ‘what is a marketing mix’ that will get the nod of approval of different end-consumers may take time. There are best practices that are used as take-off points by some multinational companies with regional operations. Fine-tuning the marketing mix – including product packaging, promotional plan, and even pricing and channels of distribution – is often necessary.
Marketers need to consider cultural differences aside from legal and socio-political factors. When you ask the question ‘what is a marketing mix’, you need to take into consideration the global effect it has, in addition to the local requirements. Established global companies like McDonald’s, Starbucks, Nike, and Wal-Mart have learned this the hard way, not withstanding the fact that they have succeeded in most markets owing to their brand strength, but failing to understand some cultural differences between countries.
For many organizations, effectively using the key elements of a marketing mix, coupled with entering into good supply chain partnerships, can translate into success.