No matter what you sell or offer you need to need to define your marketing mix. Marketing mix has been around for as long as trade exits, which is for ages. The only difference is that today everything is well defined and keeps developing even further. To get to the point, marketing mix is a business tool used for successful marketing of the products. This tool is often critical when defining the product or the unique advertising point, customer cluster, pricing strategy. Defining one’s marketing mix gives you a standing chance at a fair game at the current product market. Anyone can do without thinking through the marketing mix, however, there is no doubt that anyone would benefit from well developed 4Ps.
Classic ingredients of marketing mix are: product, price, promotion and place, and importance of those should never be underestimated. (Armstrong, Kotler, 137) If one of them is wrong the other loose their importance and value. Let’s say you know what you are selling, but you don’t know whom you’re selling it to, than you wouldn’t know how to promote and price it and where to sell it. (Armstrong, Kotler, 186)Here is another plausible scenario, you have a product, you know your customer, you know your price but you can’t get the place right. All your promotion efforts, pricing strategies and extremely attractive products will be of no value if no one comes. So developing marketing mix for the company can first of all help understand current mistakes and improve business in the future.
First one on the list is product; this is actually what you are going to offer to your customer in the end. Typically product is perceived as an item that satisfies certain consumer’s needs or wants, which are often far from each other. The product can be tangible or intangible, to be precise simply good or service. To set an examples of these groups, intangible would be counseling services provided by psychologist, or routine check up at the doctor’s. Tangible product can be anything physical you can touch and feel, a car bought at the dealership, pair of jeans in the store .Every single product has a life-cycle of its own, it includes phase of growth that is followed by the maturity phase, it all logically ends with the phase of decline, when sales fall.
Having your product defined is crucial to its success on the market. Not being sure of what your product is , is just like an unidentified Jane or John Doe. Everybody knows they are representatives of human race and all, but no one knows what they are. Absolutely the same thing is when you don’t have a firmly defined product, people see that you are trying to sell them something, but they have no clue whatsoever what you’re selling. No one will buy it, since they don’t what it is and if it satisfies their wants and needs.
Product can also be put in the following categories: destination, seasonal, daily needs, convenience. (Armstrong, Kotler, 175 )Destination products are the ones customer is actually willing to travel to get them. Seasonal products are the ones that are popular during a certain period of time, for example snow shovels or candy canes. Daily needs are the categories of products we buy every day, bread, milk, produce. Convenience products are tricky, no one actually needs them, however , once they stumble upon them they consider buying those, like cork opener by the wine section or thermo bags by the freezers.
Price is a relatively simple concept and understandable pretty much for everyone, it is the amount of money that customer pays for the certain product. First of all, pricing is important as it defines the profit company receives, hence survival and success of the company. Adjustment of the price has a tremendous effect on the marketing strategy and consequently buyers behavior , therefore, depending on the price elasticity of the offered product it will often affect sales as well as demand. When setting the price marketing specialist should always see if it compliments other elements of the marketing mix.
When pricing the product, the one should be aware of the perceived value of the product by the customer. Another important aspect that needs to be addressed when setting the price is reference value, that’s when consumer of the product compares the prices of competing products. Differential value is when the customer puts in the contrast it’s view of your offered product versus attributes of other similar products. The most basic commonly used pricing strategies are: market penetration pricing, market skimming pricing and neutral pricing.
People who have established Timberland were aiming for producing high quality shoes for reasonable price. And that’s what they were for a while, however their product had very little to no demand on the market. After a while they decided to raise the price and see what happens, it could not get any worse. And this is how the Timberland brand evolved to become as we know it now. As silly as it seems, pricing can play a huge role in the success of the company.
Promotion conveys all the methods and means of communication that a marketing department might use to convey information to potential customers about the product. Promotion includes the following elements: public relations, sales promotion, advertising, personal selling .
The notion of advertising includes virtually any form of paid communication with consumers, Internet and radio, cinema commercials, advertisements via billboards and print media. Whereas public relations is the type of communication that is not directly sponsored, it includes sponsorship deals, press releases, seminars, conferences, exhibitions or trade fairs. Word-of –mouth or otherwise known as ‘Buzz marketing’, is simply an informal communication regarding the product buy independent individuals, or satisfied customers. (Armstrong, Kotler, 142 )However, at times there can be cases when the company actively participates in creating this desired ‘buzz’.
The last but not the least in this equation is the place, also term distribution can be used as a synonym for this. The notion place refers to supplying the product at the most convenient location for the customer. There can be intensive distribution, when the retailer literally fills up every possible spot. Strategy like this can be observed at Starbucks, there are Starbucks cafes that are situated one across or by the other. That is done in order so the competitor would not take up that place and drive away customers. Selective distribution is when company invests a lot of thought in the placement of their retail points. As an example it can be a candy stores situated by schools, parks and playgrounds. And there is exclusive distribution, where retail points are put into a specific places where consumer can exclusively get their desired product. For example, Apple stores in Europe, they are located in very few places, have impressionable design and there is no other place you can purchase Apple products.
Coca- Cola is the one of the most famous and well known brands. Today Coca-Cola company has gone far from producing just Coke, currently it produces the number of various drinks. Nevertheless, Coca-Cola drink remains to be an industry leader among company’s products.
Product part of a marketing mix for Coke is rather simple. Coca-Cola drink has a long history of evolution, classic design and taste. However, in 1985 Coca-Cola Company decided to introduce the new taste under the name ‘New Coke’ which later was changed to ‘Coca-Cola II’ . That was a major marketing failure; people did not like the taste of the new Coke at all. Very soon company had to reintroduce Coke by an old recipe under the name ‘Coca-Cola Classic’. So the product is highly recognizable and has unique classic traits.
Pricing strategy of Coke is rather simple it is slightly more expensive than other soda brands that are not that popular. The Coca-Cola company is aware of the reference value customer estimates comparing it to Pepsi drink, its biggest competitor. Pepsi and Coca-cola create strong competition to each other for a very long time. Coca-cola cannot raise the price higher, otherwise people will resort to Pepsi and they cannot lower the price otherwise the company will bear losses.
Coca-Cola Company’s promotions are and always have been phenomenal. They have been always following latest trends and fashions. If there is any major even nationally or internationally Coca-Cola Company is right on it. Not to mention their song from Christmas commercial that has been translated into so many languages and has become one of the signs that Christmas are coming. Yearly they have couple of promotions that involve giving out souvenirs with Coca-Cola logos. This drink promotions mostly target teenagers, adolescents as well as young adults, and promote active lifestyle. There is another group of advertising and promotions that targets families, it promotes family quality time and family traditions.
Place for Coca-Cola drink is literally everywhere. Every single place where are sold, most of the fast foods, restaurants. This product can be purchased nearly everywhere where there is a civilization. If you go on the website first thing you have to do is to choose your location, you have to do that from the world map.
As mentioned above Coca-Cola drink has Pepsi a competitor. And there have been numerous unethical commercials from both companies when advertising their product, where they humiliated and degraded the product of their competitors. However, the studies have been made where customers were asked to try thee samples: New Coke, Coca-Cola Classic and Pepsi, and determine which one is which. Surprisingly very small sample of participants could actually tell which is which, so this brings us to conclusion that it is not so much about the taste, as about band and customer perception of this brand. Coca-Cola hast to follow Pepsi trends and be aware of their moves and actions as fully as possible, this will give the strategic advantage to the company.
Everything that is sold has it’s marketing mix and 4Ps and it does not matter if the one who sells it know about it or not. Although, knowing what you sell and who do you want to sell it to and where, for what price, and how to let your consumer know that you can satisfy his need is very important. Having gotten of four things wrong will get the whole mix out of balance, it is not too hard to keep in balance four parts of the whole. Classic marketing mix consists of only four P’s but there is more advanced 7Ps marketing mix. In 7P’s in addition to product, price, promotion and place were added physical environment, process and people.
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The marketing mix revolves around the customer and their desires and/or needs. Although the customer is not included in the marketing mix, the customer is the center of the marketing mix profile -- "The customer should be the target of all marketing efforts" (Perreault & McCarthy, 2005, p.38). The marketing mix is a piece of the whole picture constructing the marketing plan. Once the decision has been made that a new product or service is wanted or needed, the organization has to determine the target market: Who will use the product? What makes them use or buy the product? How do they expect to obtain the product? What price will they pay to have the product?
The Four P's
The marketing efforts have been categorized into four basic components: product, place, price, and promotion (Four P's). By using the customer as the target for making decisions related to the product, place, price, or promotion--the manager also provides what Robert Lauterborn says corresponds with the "customers' four Cs: customer solution, customer cost, convenience, and communication" (as cited in Kotler & Keller, 2006, p. 20).
The product the customer wants or needs is not necessarily a physical good; it could be the additional benefits one receives because of a service provided. For example, at Wal-Mart, the door greeter is a service provided to make customers feel appreciated and welcomed into the retail store. Another way to think about the product is to "define product as every want-satisfying attribute a consumer receives in making an exchange" (Kinnear & Bernhardt, 1990, p. 267). Other product decisions such as quality, features, packaging, and accessories also have to be determined and solved for. In retail locations such as Wal-Mart, another dynamic that goes into the product selection is that of rotation or consistent changing. Wal-Mart is a large seller of clothing which changes frequently because of trends and weather; so, Wal-Mart has to plan the timelines for each product change. Essentially, the goal of the manager is to provide a product that will fulfill the desires of the customer from the target market it has identified as its core benefactor.
Convenience for the customer is a large attribute in determining the right product; therefore it only makes sense that the place also be a deciding factor in the marketing mix. Wal-Mart has multiple retail locations in order to meet the customer wants for convenience. In addition, Wal-Mart has opened up smaller retail outlets in order to bring their product to areas that may have limitations in the amount of land. Moreover, place does not only refer to a...
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