What is the Marketing Mix?
The marketing mix is a powerful model that can be used to create an effective marketing plan. It is a combination of four core elements that encompass your entire marketing strategy – product, place, price and promotion.
The marketing mix is a helpful tool because it forces you to think about all aspects of your marketing strategy at once, helping you to create one that is comprehensive and has the best chance of success. It also gives you a framework for dissecting other’s marketing strategies, which helps when analysing your competition and identifying ways to differentiate yourself.
In this article, we’ll explore the marketing mix in greater detail so you can use it to your advantage.
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The 4 Ps of the Marketing Mix
The marketing mix is divided it into four core areas:
- Product: This refers to the actual product that your company offers to its customers. It could be a physical or digital item, or a service.
- Place: The place element refers to how your product is distributed and made available to potential customers. This might involve determining which stores to sell your product in and how to get your product to these stores, as well as making sure that it’s easily accessible online.
- Price: This is one of the most important elements of the marketing mix. A poor pricing strategy can leave you with unsold inventory, and a pricing strategy that isn’t effective can also hinder your ability to reach your target audience. It’s important to determine the price of your product before you begin marketing it – and to make sure that it’s the right price for your target audience.
- Promotion: This refers to your promotional strategy and how you market your product/service through various channels.
Considering all of these elements gives you a broad view of your overall marketing plan. Each of them is important in their own right, and they are all interrelated. It’s therefore essential to have a thorough understanding of each, and how they influence each other.
The product element spans from identifying target markets through to your product development strategy.
Any product or service must meet customers’ needs and provide value and in a competitive market, it should do so in a unique way. Therefore, when reviewing this element of the marketing mix, identify what benefits and advantages differentiate your product or service offers and communicate those benefits through your marketing materials.
Packaging for physical products should draw attention and create a memorable impression, while still being practical and easy to use.
Another aspect of ‘product’ to think of is whether you can create offers that combine different products or services so you can sell them together.
‘Place’ applies to both physical and digital products and services. Distribution strategies are essential for delivering products to customers in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. The type of product or service will also influence where it’s distributed. For example, newspapers are sold in a huge range of outlets, while luxury home goods will be reserved for exclusive stores.
When it comes to digital products ‘place’ refers to the method and means by which customers will access a product or service online and involves making sure that consumers can easily find, purchase and use digital products in an effective manner. This requires companies to think strategically about where they distribute their product or service, as well as how they direct customers to that product.
For example, digital products may be distributed through online stores such as Apple’s App Store, or through companies’ own websites. Additionally, you can and should use multiple digital channels—including SEO, advertising, social media, and email—to direct customers to their products. It is also important to create a seamless checkout experience, whether it be through a third-party payment service or via an eCommerce platform. (As you can see, place and promotion are closely linked).
In addition, businesses should ensure their digital products are accessible on multiple platforms—including desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones—so that they reach a broad range of customers.
Effective placement strategies are key to ensuring customer satisfaction, driving sales and growing market share, helping businesses stand out in an increasingly competitive digital landscape.
Price and promotion are closely related, as the pricing will affect the marketing messaging used; for example, the targeting and choice of words will vary depending on whether the product/service is high-end or being made available at a more accessible price.
When determining a price, there are a few key factors to consider – the product’s value, the cost of production, and the broader market conditions.
Some questions to ask yourself relating to the above factors are as follows:
- What are my competitors charging for similar products and how can I justify charging more than them? What unique value does my product offer that theirs does not?
- What price is the target audience willing to pay for such a product/service?
- What is my desired profit margin?
- What is the total cost when taking into account product development (or service provision), marketing, distribution and any other overheads?
You also need to consider your pricing model – for example, will you offer customers the option to set up a subscription for your product or service? Will you offer the option to pay in installments or one time payments only?
The overall market condition is vital to keep in mind. During recessions, for example, customer retention needs to be a priority. Maintaining competitive prices is an important factor in keeping customers loyal, since they are not willing to spend as much during such situations. They are also not as likely to spend on items considered non-essential – another factor to consider when assessing the ‘product’ element of the marketing mix.
It’s also important to also consider how the pricing reflects the branding. Customers that are looking for something high-end may be put off by something that is priced too low as they may perceive it to be of a lower quality. In fact, this applies in many cases, not only for high ticket items. For example, everyday appliances that are priced too low may cause customers to assume they will break easily.
Combining Cost and Value-Based Pricing
Companies can use a combination of cost based and value based pricing in order to maximise profits. Cost-based pricing is often used as a starting point in setting prices, while value-based pricing takes into account the customer’s perceived value of the product or service.
A company may choose to use both strategies when deciding on their final prices. For example, if they believe that customers are willing to pay more for higher quality products, they may use cost-based pricing as the base price and then add an additional fee based on perceived value of the product or service. Using both strategies can help ensure that you are charging a fair price while also maximising profit.
Here, you need to determine the best channels through which to communicate your message and drive sales. You will want to consider factors such as your audience’s generation and which platforms they use the most – for example, members of Gen Z are far more likely to be active on TikTok than millennials or boomers. Also consider whether methods such as podcasts would bring good returns in your circumstances.
When planning your marketing communications on different channels, it’s important to consider the frequency of contact, and there are different guidelines for different platforms. With email marketing campaigns, keep emails regular but not too frequent – one or two emails per week. As for social media marketing, posting once or twice per day is considered optimal, but more than five times a day is excessive and may irritate your audience. For SMS, keep messages to a minimum and only send when absolutely necessary – one text per week is sufficient.
Finally, as mentioned, review the features, benefits and advantages of your product and company overall when planning for the promotion element of the marketing mix.
The four Ps of the marketing mix are product, place, price, and promotion. When used correctly, this model can be a valuable asset in helping you reach your target audience and make the most out of your marketing efforts.
The product or service must provide value and you must be clear on the benefits it offers, which you will refer to when promoting it. Next, place refers to the distribution of physical or digital products and services. When it comes to selling online, place refers to the channels by which your products/services are available. It also involves making websites and landing pages accessible and mobile-friendly in order to distribute your product/service to as many customers as possible.
Pricing strategies include cost-based and value-based approaches, as well a combination of the two. Other factors to consider include the overall market conditions and the price that potential customers are willing to pay, as well as whether the price reflects the branding. Finally, promotion encompasses all your marketing efforts.
To get the most from the marketing mix, make sure that each element of your marketing mix is aligned with the others.
For assistance with your marketing strategy, don’t hesitate to get in touch – my team and I would be delighted to help.