What is marketing mix
Its initial use dates back to 1953 by the American Marketing Association and was later associated with the 4 P’s of marketing, a term introduced by Jerome McCarthy in 1960.
Since then, it has been a widely used concept in marketing, encompassing the elements of Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.
Today’s marketing mix involves multiple additional variables that have adapted to changes in technology and companies’ access channels to potential customers. Nevertheless, the 4 P’s are considered the essential pillars for developing a marketing strategy for a product.
Identifying the elements of a marketing mix allows a company to make profitable decisions at all levels, helping to develop strengths and minimize weaknesses. It can become more competitive and adaptable to the market and improve collaboration between internal customers, partners, and suppliers.
Creating a marketing plan requires market research involving users, prospects, suppliers, manufacturers, etc., to be more effective and achieve the desired results. The four elements are intertwined and influence each other.
If one is poorly directed or designed, the others can fail. Thus, finding a balance for the four P’s of the marketing mix is crucial.
The 4 Elements of the Marketing Mix
The four main elements of the marketing mix are Product, Price, Distribution, and Promotion. This framework aims to create a comprehensive plan to distinguish a product or service from competitors and create value for the customer. Often, these elements depend on each other.
Product refers to a good or service that satisfies the customer’s needs. Here, companies focus on features that differentiate it from competitors. An organization may also consider complementary products that fit their product or service suite.
Price represents the price point or range for the product or service. The ultimate goal is to maximize profit margins and return on investment while considering the price customers are willing to pay.
Distribution refers to distribution channels. Specifically, where is this product being promoted, and how can it reach its target audience?
Promotion focuses on creating brand awareness around the product or service. It’s important to consider how using certain channels can drive sales.
The 4 P’s of the Marketing Mix
The product plays a crucial role as it is the central element around which all marketing strategies revolve. It must satisfy a need or desire of people and be defined by the company’s values and ideas.
When analyzing the product, consider variables such as what is actually being sold, what needs it satisfies, how it does so, what can accompany it, the product identity you want to project, and if it has added value.
Understanding the product lifecycle is essential to estimate its use and reach once in the consumer’s hands, and analyze the duration of its phases:
- Introduction or Launch: This stage can be the most critical in determining the success of a new product in the market.
- Growth: This is the positioning stage of the product, marked by an increase in sales.
- Maturity: Sales continue but not at the same rate as in the previous stage, requiring strategies to find market niches or innovate the product.
- Decline: This phase is what companies hope to avoid, as it’s when the product begins to lose sales due to factors like increased competition or shifts in market consumption behavior.
Setting the right price will determine the target audience and, consequently, the type of marketing campaign to be executed. Pricing is perhaps one of the most challenging factors when launching a new product.
Pricing involves understanding the market, anticipating what the competition offers, the added value of the product (which can increase its value), and the target audience’s behavior regarding price (how much they are willing to pay).
The price depends on the value the public assigns to the product, the need it satisfies, and its features to determine an appropriate price. This will influence how the company approaches its users.
Initially focused on the company’s physical point of sale for customer access to the product, in the context of online sales, this element encompasses the entire process required for the user to make a purchase.
It should include aspects like distribution channels and centers, storage, transportation, shipping costs, distributor prices, and all variables the company considers important to reach its audience more easily.
Design and finalize marketing strategies that best suit the target audience for the product. Clarity on the buyer persona, brand archetype, and strategies identified as most effective for reaching that niche is crucial.
Promotional strategies may include inbound marketing, which focuses on users and their needs, or outbound marketing, which is more intrusive and aligned with traditional marketing.
Sometimes, the marketing mix extends beyond the classic 4 P’s of product, price, place, and promotion established by Professor E. Jerome McCarthy in 1960. Additional categories include people, physical evidence, and process.
The 7 P’s of the Marketing Mix
In addition to the previously explained 4 P’s, we have:
People represent the employees who interact with customers. A company may consider its corporate culture in relation to its brand strategy. This can include Customer Relationship Management (CRM), which aims to increase brand loyalty among customers.
6. Physical Evidence
Physical evidence encompasses the physical environment where a business provides a service or sells a product. Product packaging is often the focus of physical evidence, along with store design, ambiance, and signage. A store with an attractive facade, appealing colors, and clear signage enhances its overall appeal to an audience.
For online sales, product packaging and website design are the physical evidence presented to potential customers. Both factors will influence their judgment about the quality of your offerings and your brand.
Business procedures and workflows impact the user experience, making them a key part of the modern marketing mix. The process involves how orders are fulfilled and whom customers speak with during the transaction. When a company focuses on standardizing a popular product or customizing the sales process, the marketing message and necessary tools are likely to change.
The process is also related to user experience and how easily customers can find what they need and complete the transaction. This is especially important in online sales. If the process of finding the right product and going through the payment procedures is difficult, customers are less likely to return.”
Why a Marketing Mix is Important
A marketing mix is essential for both the short and long-term sales strategy of a business. Companies rely on their marketing mix to guide market research and identify core values and the most viable products. A well-crafted marketing mix focuses on objectives, adjusting each variable to achieve optimal sales.
By emphasizing different tools in their marketing mix, a business can remain flexible in responding to customer buying behavior. Your marketing mix is also a significant part of your brand identity, enabling you to differentiate from competitors or reach new audiences.
Juan Esteban Yepes