The marketing mix (also known as the P’s) is a framework for build a strategic outlook for your product.
The marketing mix consists of;
Building the foundations of your product through your marketing mix should result in success, however it depends how you deploy these and use the principles in practice.
Marketing is a science, by that I mean there is no hard and fast rule to success – however there are, similar to creating music, structures which you have to follow. Today’s music is build around thirds and sixths and another combinations are considered to sound incorrect, but people will constantly push the boundaries. Marketing planning is similar – you have to work to the marketing mix for success but you can make your own tweaks and interpret the 7P’s differently.
The history behind the marketing mix comes from Neil Bordon in 1953 and has since been edited, adapted and improved. The original mix consisted of 4P’s – Product, Price, Place & Promotion – whilst People, Process and Physical Evidence were added later.
Why do I need a strategy?
Some people might think they have a “product which will sell itself” or “It’ll fly off the shelf” – these are all expressions I’ve heard before. Typically the people that think like this haven’t done their homework and thought about who will buy the product, how much they will spend or the process to get the item. Whilst they may have a “product which will sell itself” eventually, they still have to tell people their product exists.
There are too many alternatives to list every combination that could be used by companies when building their marketing plan. There should be a marketing mix for every route to market. For example, a furniture company may sell direct to consumer but also wholesale to other businesses. The strategy to get the product to market is completely different.
Whilst the product remains the same i.e. the furniture, the pricing, Promotion, place, people, process and physical evidence is different;
Direct to consumer (B2C)
Product – the same product, usually purchasing in a one off environment
Price – As it’s a one off price you would generally not discount, although you may have a special sale
Place – Selling in-store with customers coming to you
Promotion – Through newspapers, leaflet drops, posters, sales promotions or even television
People – in-store sales team where the end user makes the purchasing decision
Process – Deal directly with the consumer
Physical evidence – Concerned with the store layout, how accessible is it, is it clean etc?
Alternatively, the marketing strategy for wholesale will be completely different;
Product – The same product, usually purchasing several pieces.
Price – Because the company is purchasing several items at one time you can have economies of scale and provide a discounted price (this helps you sell more volume).
Place – You would usually have to deliver the furniture to your client.
Promotion – A sales team or sales contact will be required to keep the client satisfied and organise repeat purchases.
People – B2B sales team, delivery drivers and business contacts at their company are all involved.
Process – The client will want support and it won’t be a one off sale, there will be relationships to forge and an intermediary support team is necessary. The client will be selling your stock and will expect a level of contact.
Physical evidence – The client is concerned with the assistance they get from the furniture company, how he’s treated and what standards are set by the employees of the furniture store.
The correct strategy can make a company millions. Dell is an example of a company that changed the market, found a niche and exploited it. Dell only sell computers online which means cutting out the middlemen and saving the end user money. Through having a different place / distribution strategy they have created a new model for selling computers and captured a large part of the market. I should mention Dell have also changed numerous other parts of their marketing strategy including product- they make their own PC’s instead of reselling other brands.
Dell has made their marketing mix work for them. They have changed their pricing structure to be cheaper than competitors, the quality is good, they advertise heavily and have a well established brand, the process means you get one point of contact to help you through the process.
I don’t work for Dell and they are not one of my clients. A negative I constantly hear is about their sales team which is too ‘pushy’ and people end up buying their computer elsewhere. This should be identified through their market research and may be something which will change in the future.
The importance of the mix.
Successful businesses are built on the back of solid marketing planning which starts with the marketing mix. Always consider your customer who will be the person buying, using and telling other people about your product.