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The Marketing Mix

The Marketing Mix

Marketing is the total system of interacting activities designed to plan, price, promote and distribute products to present and potential consumers. At the heart of this system is the concept of the marketing mix, consisting of four components known as the four P’s – product, price, place and promotion. Getting the right balance between these four factors is the difference between a successful and a failed result.

Getting the product factor right is obviously critical. A product or service that really meets customer demands, and is both different and better than the existing competition, could be a winner. Product development is an important part of this, often the result of extensive consumer research implemented through surveys, questionnaires and flyers. The quality, style, servicing, packaging, warranty and labelling of the product can also be derived from the information gathered.

Aside from the practical side of the product, we need to look at the creative aspect as well, as it is a well known fact that consumers not only buy products through their function, they are also lulled by the emotional image the product portrays.

Think about cars for example. All are designed for the sole purpose of getting you around, so why do consumers choose luxury brands that often cost so much more? The answer is that they are buying status as well. And that's another aspect of the product offering. You need to give customers both functional and emotional satisfaction.

The price of a product is often defined by the costs of the manufacturing, labour, transporting, promotion and packaging processes that have resulted in the final product. Another factor that is also taken into account is the profit margin instilled.

Setting the right price of a product is a very significant issue contributing to the success of the product. The price often portrays an image concerning the quality of a product, as in if the cost was high, consumers would instantly think that it is a high quality product but if the price were low, then it would be useless.

This leads to the fact that low pricing is not always the route to success. In the fashion market for example, people pay well over the odds to wear a particular label. The same goes for designer perfumes or even beer brands. Also, price-cutting doesn't necessarily guarantee success either. Just because you're cheap may not mean that consumers will buy it if they think quality is compromised.

Place is not just about distribution, it's about convenience, too. If the product is not available where and when people need it, you'll end up with a warehouse full of unsold items. You may choose to sell through established retailers, wholesalers, telemarketing, door to door sales or even through mail order. Or, of course, you may well use your website to sell direct. The point here is that you need to provide access to your customers in a way that suits their habits and choices. In a 24/7 world, customers are no longer prepared to be restricted to your choice of opening hours. And if you want to market yourself globally, it makes even more sense to offer flexible availability.

The final 'P' refers to promotion or communication. This is probably the most important component in the marketing mix, including advertising, public relations and promotional offers. Promotion, like price, reflects the image that you are trying to project to your chosen target market. This may include choosing the best media to advertise, whether it is television, radio, newspapers or magazines.

All manufacturers have to comply with these guidelines to build a product; otherwise it simply will not be successful. In truth, most products available on the market all differ in the product, price, place and promotion aspects and that is what makes every one unique and successful.


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