Oh, Hello Branding Group
If you’ve ever taken a marketing class, one of the first things you learn about is the marketing mix – or the four P’s. Just knowing the four P’s isn’t enough though, you need to know how to actually apply it to your marketing strategy.
What is the Marketing Mix?
Originating in the mid-20th century, the marketing mix is the actions a business can take to market their product or service. Over the years the marketing mix has been added onto and tweaked, but the four key components have remained the same; product, price, place, and promotion.
The Four P’s
The key elements of the marketing mix are product, price, place, and promotion; also known as the four P’s.
The product is what your company is selling, it could be a product, service, or both. Doing product research and development is important to understand the need of the product. Knowing and planning the functionality, packaging, and services of the product is done in this stage. You want to identify why your product is unique compared to competitors. Developing the product launch and educating customers about the product is also necessary.
Price refers to the cost to purchase the product. Deciding the price point of your products is a critical step in your marketing strategy because it affects how customers view your product. Analyzing similar products price points and gaining insights on your consumers feelings about the price should be done during this step. The price point also plays a big part in profits and margins.
The place refers to where your product will be sold. This can be a physical store or an online website. To determine the right place, you need to figure out where your customer is, if you want to sell online or offline, distribution channels, and where your competitors are.
Promotion is referring to the marketing activities your business does to let customers know what you are selling. This can be commercials, print advertising, email promotion, word-of-mouth marketing, content marketing, public relations, social media marketing, billboards, internet ads, etc. Promotion is all about communication; what is being communicated, who it is communicated to, the method of communication, and how often you communicate.
Other Elements of the Marketing Mix
In recent years, the marketing mix has been added onto. Sometimes the marketing mix will be referred to as the seven P’s instead of four. In addition to the four P’s mentioned above, process, people, and physical evidence have been added to the list.
Anything that has an impact on how the product is handled by employees and delivered to consumers is part of the process. Most of the time it is internal activities like the order in which employees perform tasks, where customers are directed for help, how performance is tracked and measured, standardization, and involving the sales staff a lot more.
People refers to any employees who directly interact with customers. This can be salespeople, customer service, delivery people, etc. Having the right employees is important because they are the face of the company. They impact how customers feel about their experience and your product/service.
- Physical evidence
This is anything tangible that is related to your product or service. Physical evidence includes packaging, receipts, delivery vehicles, or any materials needed to complete your service.
Developing the Right Strategy
It is essential to develop a clearly thought out marketing mix strategy before any product launch. Follow these steps to develop the right plan for your business.
Participate in market research and product development
The work starts before the product is even finished. It’s imperative you understand your customer and what they want from your product/service. To do this:
- Engage in market research to understand your target market’s needs.
- Speak to current customers about their pain points and insights to see what can be added or changed to your current product/service.
- Evaluate the competition.
- Monitor industry trends for demands in the market.
- Product test with current customers to see if it’s something they need.
- Constantly communicate and collaborate with your product team during product development.
Determine the right pricing model
Pricing is an important step, use your knowledge from the previous step to choose the right price for your customers. During this stage, be sure to:
- Speak with current customers to see what their ideal price is.
- Ensure that the product can be made in a cost effective manner.
- Work with finance department to make realistic sales forecasts.
- Work with sales to determine how discounting should be utilized.
- Factor in the perceived value by the customer. You can mark up your product or service if it provides irreplaceable benefit or if there’s little competition.
Choose your distribution channels
Determining where your product is sold is an important step. To ensure you have thought of everything, follow these steps:
- Identify if your product will do best sold in your own physical location, another retailers storefront, on your website, on another company’s website, or a combination of these.
- Consider geographic location. Do you want to sell locally, regionally, nationwide, worldwide? Determine what will meet demand.
- Set goals for third-party sellers and come to an agreement with resellers on margins and markups.
- Determine how many salespeople you’ll need.
Select your promotion tactics
The final step is determining what promotional activities you want to do to market your product or service. It’s important that you do this step last as the previous steps build up to this. Consider the following when planning your promotion:
- Content marketing like blogging, content creation such as eBooks or infographics, and building a website.
- Social media marketing using platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. This can be done both organically and with paid ads.
- Search engine ads on Google
- Public relations like press releases or articles.
- Influencer marketing – using social media or blog influencers to promote or review your product.
- Email promotion – this is still a very effective way of letting your customers know about any new products.
- Video ads, whether it be a commercial on TV or streaming sites like YouTube or Hulu.
- Customer marketing like word of mouth, customer referrals, and positive reviews.
- Event marketing like attending conferences or hosting your own event.
- There are still so many more ways you can promote your new product or service!
By working through each step of the marketing mix, you’ll be able to create an effective strategy that will help you reach your goals and grow your business.