Nowadays doing marketing is not just about promotion as the whole process starts much earlier, beginning with the definition of brand identity and ending with the mapping of channels and activities available.
With today's constantly developing digital technologies and budgets often stretched to the bone, a new approach was needed to respond to customer preferences and buying habits.
It is with this in mind that the so-called marketing mix, a strategy popular since the 1960s that has largely evolved over the past 20 years with the advent of the Web and social media.
This expression refers to all the marketing elements that the company deploys to meet consumer expectations And achieve market targets. Let's see what the marketing mix consists of, what its cornerstones are, and how to set up such a model.
What is the marketing mix?
Those who work in the operational marketing and is involved in carrying out the final stage of a marketing process is aware that it will have to make use of tools or levers useful for influencing and directing the choices of actual or potential customers.
Technological evolution is an inescapable dynamic for marketing, and especially in recent years there have been a number of changes in contemporary society and consumer behavior.
The marketing mix is nothing more than the set of operational activities that a business uses to market a product/service to customers.
Thus, the aim is to ensure that the consumer gets the right product, at the right time and at the best price. Today, companies take advantage of the use of a large number of different channels To receive the desired response from the audience.
Not surprisingly, the marketing mix is the very foundation of any corporate business plan and is of considerable importance as it serves:
- To understand what to offer customers compared to the competition;
- To define which product to launch;
- to enhance strengths and cut down unnecessary costs;
- To intercept the characteristics and tastes of customers;
- to understand when and how to promote a certain product or service with respect to the target audience.
The marketing mix is an approach that was born in 1960 thanks to Jerome McCarthy who first theorized the underlying concept, later taken up and popularized by Philp Kotler.
The 4Ps of the marketing mix
The marketing mix developed in the 1960s was based on the 4P scheme advanced by economist Jerome McCarthy in his work "Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach." McCarthy's skill was to theorize the 4 operational pillars of marketing that make the company's positioning real. These 4 elements all begin not the letter P and that is why we talk about the 4Ps model, a concept now assimilated into the everyday language of marketing.
Let's go over in detail what the 4Ps are and their value to the marketing mix.
The product is a good that is Proposed to meet the needs of the potential customer. When developing products, one must also consider their life cycle and identify the different challenges that might arise along the way.
When the product reaches the final stage (decline in sales), it is time to reinvent the item to capture customer interest again.
The main difficulty of product management is that it is. a dynamic element of the marketing mix, as its life is linked to customer needs, competition between companies, and other factors such as changes in distribution structure.
In addition, the products are subject to obsolescence, but with production cycles that have shortened over time. Therefore, it is good to consistently evaluate their performance in the market through quantitative and motivational research.
Price is the second P in the marketing mix and represents The amount the customer is willing to pay for a particular service or product. When going to set a price for an item, consideration must be given to how much was spent to make it, the price ranges proposed by competitors, and the perceived value to the market.
The most complex thing about pricing is that the company does not know the the demand curve and cannot know a priori the most appropriate limit with respect to the goal to be pursued. It can only check in retrospect whether the price allows those sales to possibly correct it over time.
The demand curve obviously has effects on costs as well. In fact, choosing a higher price allows for a higher unit contribution margin, but limits the quantity sold. This means that higher prices do not always then produce more revenue.
By place is meant. the product distribution center and the channels used to distribute it. Wherever it is located, the product should always be accessible, whether in physical stores or on digital channels. So if you run a physical store, it should be easy to locate, just as e-commerce should be well positioned on search engines.
The distribution covers The actions aimed at making products available to consumers. The commercial one, above all, is necessary to structure the overall distribution network and relates to the choice of distribution channels and how many levels of intermediation to include between producer and consumer.
Instead, the physical distribution concerns the way in which goods are physically transferred from production sites to consumption sites, i.e., the logistics system, deployment of warehouses, and so on.
The promotion groups The methods employed by the company to attract customers' curiosity about the product. Such systems include public relations, customer service, traditional advertising, and online promotions.
When setting up a promotion strategy, it is also important to carefully evaluate the methodologies used by competitors, as well as the most appropriate channels for reaching consumers.
The concept of "promotion" originally related exclusively to sales promotion in the narrow sense, while in recent years it has undergone an obvious transformation as other elements have been included such as advertising, public relations, merchandising and personal selling.
Until the 1980s, promotion was considered a mere unplanned tool for emptying warehouses. Only since the 1990s has this negative meaning of promotion been set aside and it has finally acquired its communicative value.
The other 3Ps of the marketing mix
Since the 1970s, marketing has transformed considerably. In fact, the idea of 4Ps over time became obsolete or otherwise not complete and in step with the times. Here, then, in the 1980s we move from the 4Ps to the 7Ps.
In 1981, scholars Booms and Bitner have proposed an expanded marketing mix concept, adding 3 new P's (people, process and physical evidence). The new model of the 7Ps extols the tools the company must use to succeed in the marketplace.
These components do not change from one company to another, but what varies are the quantities to be used according to the goals and customers to be reached.
People always play a major role, both customers and employees of a company, both directly related to the product.
On the one hand, it is indispensable Thoroughly analyze the target market to understand whether you are offering the product to the right target audience, on the other hand, you need to hire people who are satisfied and able to build a marketing process in a performant way.
The process is the stage of Proposition and provision of quality services and products to consumers. Therefore, it is vitally important to study every moment of the production chain, starting from the base to the finished product and delivered to the customer.
Create some established mechanisms and working perfectly will be of great help in managing the supply of the product with a quality level to which customers are accustomed.
In simpler words, it is desirable to check that in the process there are no blockages or bottlenecks, so as to curb waste and unnecessary spending. Process maps can be employed in this regard to understand where to make improvements.
The latest P in the marketing mix is. the physical or tangible evidence, that is, what consumers see when they use the product or use a service. Physical evidence is what you are proposing to customers and the perception these people have formed.
The concept of physical evidence includes different elements such as packaging, brand, physical sales space, and website. These physical, concrete aspects must be associated with a positive feeling and must match the corporate values.
The experience offered contributes to positive positioning in the minds of customers, and it will be easier to be the first choice.
How to create a winning marketing mix strategy
Once we understand what marketing mix means and what its fundamentals are, it is useful to explain how Building an efficient and results-oriented marketing process:
- Establish goals and budgets: Creating a compelling marketing mix approach begins with defining specific goals. In fact, you will have to decide what you want to achieve with the marketing plan. At the same time you will have to set a specific budget, that is, how much you are willing to spend to get to your business goals;
- Analyze the target audience: To develop a product that consumers want to buy, it is essential to know who the potential target customers are. Identifying buyer personas is therefore essential from the beginning;
- Identify the USP (Unique Selling Proposition): marketers involved in marketing mix activities must be clear about the Unique Selling Proposition, which is nothing more than the message or statement that enhances the product's features. A proper USP will help you understand the benefits of the proposed item and how it differs from competitors;
- Knowing the competition: Deepening your knowledge of competitors and the strategies used is a step that should not be underestimated. Such analysis will also give you a hand in choosing the purchase price;
- Highlight the unique features of the product: going to list the unique qualities of the service or product is crucial to find any weaknesses and select the best channels for promotion, always keeping the market in mind;
- Study a pricing strategy: in addition to "spying" on the competition, it is advisable to build a timely pricing strategy, trying not to exaggerate either over or under the current market, so as not to give the wrong perception of the product;
- Select distribution channels and promotion methods: once unique features, goals, price, and target audience have been established, all that remains is to communicate it in a way that drives purchase. Choosing promotional techniques and product outreach channels is of great importance as a certain product can be conveyed more effectively on certain social platforms, as opposed to others.