The ‘Marketing Mix’ is a classic tool to help plan what to offer to consumers and how to offer it to them. The marketing mix works with different variables to adapt a marketing strategy to the market.
Why the Marketing Mix is important for your company?
The marketing mix can be considered the backbone of a good business strategy. A clear and well thought out marketing mix allows us to make adjustments in the market to change, redesign and innovate products whenever necessary, attract customers, win back lost customers and retain customers.
The classic 4 P Mix-Set
The 4 P are: product, price, place and promotion. The Marketing Mix strategy will be aimed at adapting these four variables to the market and this classic strategy has been around since the 60s. A very clear example is when a company wants to make the leap to digital. Obviously, it must adapt the variables to the digital context after seeing how the market and the consumer behave in this medium. The answer is simple and complicated at the same time: It has to place the right product at the right time in the right place at the right price.
The product is one of the most important variables because it is the good or service that satisfies a need. This leads to a positive or negative user experience. The product chosen must be sufficiently innovative and simple to outperform the competition and also to be understood by every user.
The price of the product or service is a fundamental factor for the majority of customers. If we cannot stand out from our competition, the price is always the decisive factor. The aim is to set a price for the product that is large enough to generate income to cover expenses and that also generates a profit. It is also important to consider the maximum price the customer is willing to pay. A deep knowledge of the market gives us much more clues than an examination of the company’s internal costs. This variable is relevant to the consumer and competitive to the market.
Distribution channels and logistics are of decisive importance for a company in order to be successful in the market with its products. In the product sales process, it is distributed to the customer via the sales outlets, intermediaries and dealers as well as logistical warehouses, among other things. Poor inventory management or logistics can result in the loss of many sales.
It consists of all the efforts that the company makes to make this product more successful and better known. The aim is to present the product in such a way that future customers are motivated to purchase the product or to deal with the product more closely (e.g. for newcomers to a market) or to convey certain values or experiences to them.
The digital 4 C Mix-Set
In the late 1990s, a new theory was proposed to adapt the variables to the environment. 30 years after the 4Ps, it was necessary to put the product aside a bit to focus on the customer. The 4Cs were born: customer, cost, convenience and communication. Without a doubt, the digital age was crucial for this change as the 4Cs became the key in social networks. For Kotler, applying the 4C’s ensures that «companies have a good chance of surviving in the digital economy.»
The perspective changes radically from the product to the customer and people. The customer becomes a protagonist and prosumer (acronym for producer and consumer) who not only receives information, but also creates it. Companies are now creating products that customers ask for.
When it comes to price, too, the perspective is now changing towards costs, because a product no longer only costs money, but also time and effort to go to a store. For example, if a store has a low price for its product and is very far from your home, you would probably prefer to buy from a nearby store at a slightly higher price. Hence, the company needs to study these two factors, which are more important than price.
In relation to the customer’s time is the shift from location to convenience. The company assumes responsibility for setting up an efficient distribution system that is affordable for the customer. It’s about making life easier for the customer.
Conventional advertising no longer works, so promotion gives way to communication. Customers communicate now differently, and so should do the company. The ideal is a direct, interactive and relational communication. The company should not only inform about the products, but also create an experience around them.
The 7 P Mix-Set for Services
The service sector is expanding and new approaches to implementing a strategy are emerging. The variables are expanded, 4 Ps become 7 Ps: People, Process, Physical Evidence + product, price, place and promotion
The staff providing the service are part of the customer’s shopping experience, which has a direct impact on the quality of the service. The company’s success in this regard will consist in building a good team that clearly understands the client’s needs and knows how to meet them.
Processes are the method by which the company provides a service. That means how the customer is served and what differentiating advantage does the company have in this regard. Dealing with the customer during the entire service process is now a new variable in order to achieve differentiation within the market.
To make the service quality palpable, a new variable comes into play: physical evidence provided by the company to the customer to confirm the quality of its service, such as: videos, photos, opinions, recommendations …
The evidence provided relates to the design and creation of strategies around the brand image, both physical and non-physical.
From 7 P to 9 P
And the evolutions continue to progress and we move from 7P’s to 9P’s. Add to that participation and prediction.
To make users feel part of the brand world, companies emphasize their participation and start creating both online and offline communities where users can participate and collaborate with the brand. This is how you achieve loyalty.
This variable consists in identifying and attracting customers based on the quantitative values already collected. For this, there are monitoring tools that track customer behavior.