Marketing Mix Explained
The concept of the marketing mix was first developed by McCarthy over 40 years ago. It was designed to suggest that you should have a balanced mix of marketing activities within your marketing plan. That is mainly that you have the right product selling for the right price to attract sufficient sales and profits, at the right location for maximum effect (place) communicated with the right promotional activities.
Elements of the Mix
The now simplistic attributes are known as The 4 Ps - because those elements named above all begin with the letter "P" namely product, price, promotion and place. Here's a run down of what each of these terms means.
The first P is your product or service. It's the definition of what needs are being satisfied by your end customer. It should be more about the benefits that your customer receives by purchasing the product rather than listings of attributes.
The second P is the price of your product and decisions surrounding your overall pricing strategies. Pricing can be a very complex area. Most people believe they should undercut their competitors but this is not always a wise strategy unless you are in a commodity business. Consumers place value on higher priced products so it's best if you test various pricing levels of your products and over time you'll find the right pricing level that maximizes your profits.
Even if you decide not to charge for a service it's useful to realise that this is still a pricing strategy at no cost.
The third P is about promoting your products and services. This may include advertising above the line in general, specific product offerings through below the line activities, face to face selling, direct marketing and public relations exercises. This is the communications aspect of your business and is part of marketing but the final piece after strategy and analysis.
The final P is about 'place' – the location where the product or service is actually going to be purchased by the consumer. Many retail gurus will tell you it's all about "location, location, location" and this still holds true today. Locations with high foot fall always out perform businesses tucked away in a side street. Online is also a location for internet services.
As marketing evolved professors also believed there were elements missing and the latest mix is now 6 Ps which now include people, as they are the ones most important to your organisation behind customers, and processes. Having documented processes in an organisation that perform well for you and your customer and are followed precisely leads to a well oiled and efficient business.
The 4 Cs
Many now dismiss the four Ps as being out of date and have developed the four Cs to replace that concept.
For example, there are the C's developed by Robert Lauterborn in 1990 as markets have developed and communications are made easier.
- Convenience instead of place
- Cost instead of price
- Communications instead of promotion
- Customer needs instead of product
This is all well and good and is an attempt to put the customer at the forefront of what every business should be achieving.
But if you don't take things literally and just put yourself in the customer's shoes when looking at these then the four or six Ps are fine to work with.
Other experts have further added that business success is driven by PEOPLE and PROCESS.
Whatever you choose you should include all four basic elements into your own marketing mix and then custom tailor this to your specific situation.