Guest blog post by Jane Sandwood. Jane Sandwood is a professional freelance writer and editor with over 10 years’ experience. She decided to leave the corporate world and move into freelancing to take advantage of the flexibility and work-life balance it offers.
According to data collected by Hubspot, nearly 25% of marketers don’t know whether their efforts truly affect the outcome of a conversion. If you’re in this boat, the first thing you need to do is take a step back and analyze your overall marketing plan. Ask yourself:
When you’re able to determine the answer to these questions – especially the last one – you’ll be in a much better position to create an effective marketing mix. In turn, you’ll have a better understanding of whether or not a certain offer will resonate with a certain customer persona at a given time.
A marketing mix is the tools, strategies, and tactics a company uses to promote its products or services. When discussing marketing mix, we focus on all of the controllable elements of a marketing plan.
If you’re at all familiar with the term “marketing mix,” you’ve likely heard of the “Four P’s” of marketing.
While you may have seen the terms “marketing mix” and “Four P’s of marketing” be used interchangeably, it’s important to understand the two aren’t synonymous.
While “marketing mix” refers to the strategies and tactics implemented by a marketing team to promote its brand, the “Four P’s” refer to common factors that a team analyzes in order to develop these strategies.
The reason many people use the terms interchangeably is because, in his 1960 book Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach, marketing wizard E. Jerome McCarthy proposed the “Four P’s” approach to marketing mix, which became the gold standard in terms of forming a marketing strategy for years to come.
However, in the early 1980s, Bernard H. Booms and Mary J. Bitner recognized that the “Four P’s” essentially ignored the fact that customer service is a huge part of any company’s marketing initiatives (even product-focused companies). In turn, they developed the “7P model” of the marketing mix.
An 8th “P” has also been added over time, which we’ll discuss momentarily.
Most recently, marketing experts have begun focusing heavily on the customer side of the marketing equation (rather than taking a brand-centric approach to marketing). This led to the development of the 4C model – again, which we’ll discuss later in this post.
The point, here, is that there are many elements to a marketing mix. Which ones a company chooses to focus on depends on the company’s overall marketing objectives, the products or services it offers, and the needs of its customers.
In the following sections, we’ll dig into the “P’s” and “C’s” of the marketing mix, and explain how analyzing each of them will contribute to a better understanding of how to reach your company’s marketing objectives.
In this section, we’ll define each of these terms in greater detail, discuss some of the questions you should ask yourself and considerations you should make regarding each one, and explain how popular brands have used each of these factors when developing a new offer.
Let’s get started.
.When developing your product or service, you need to consider:
When assessing the product or service you offer (or will offer) your customers, ask yourself the following questions:
Understand the answers to these questions, and you’ll have a much better idea of where your product fits in with the current market. In turn, it will be much easier to showcase the value it can bring to your target customers’ lives.
Again, pretty straightforward – to be successful in any industry, you need to offer your products or services at a price that is affordable to your customers while also allowing you to maximize returns.
In general, when determining the pricing of your products or services, you should ask yourself:
While everything about your marketing initiatives is, at one point, a matter of trial and error, this is most often the case when it comes to pricing. As mentioned earlier, you should always be prepared to assess the way you’re pricing your offerings to see if there’s room for improvement.
Place refers to the logistics of where (and how) you actually deliver your product or service to your customers. In terms of distribution, there are three main strategies to choose from, depending on your customers’ preferences and needs:
As with placement, distribution also takes into consideration how to provide a product in a way that’s most convenient for both the company and the consumer.
Promotion refers to any action, taken by a company or its customers, that gets the company’s name out in the public eye in a positive way. Such promotion can either be paid for in some way or another, or it can be organic.
Some of the most common forms of promotion are:
When deciding on a promotion strategy, consider the following questions:
Above all else, a successful marketing campaign is one that provides value to the consumer. This value might come in the form of a discount for frequent shoppers, or it might be a series of blog posts explaining how to get the best use out of your product. It all depends on what your customer is looking to get out of their engagement with your brand.
As mentioned earlier, the original Four P’s of marketing focused mainly on product-related marketing, and didn’t offer much in terms of best practices for marketing services.
Not only that, but even product-focused companies now tend to define their unique selling proposition based on the added services they provide (rather than just the features of their product).
Because of this, three new “P’s” (and a fourth) have been added to the marketing mix equation, which we’ll discuss in the following section.
The four “new” P’s of Marketing, which focus more on the service side of things, are:
There’s still one more to add, too…Let’s take a look at each of these categories in greater detail.
Simply put, without qualified, competent personnel working hard behind the scenes and on the floor, no company can succeed.
Processes refers to all of the actions that a company implements when delivering a service to its customers. Of course, this is a rather broad definition, as essentially everything a company does ultimately goes toward providing quality services to its customers. So, for our purposes, let’s discuss the processes in which customers are directly involved.
In thinking of processes in this way, we need to think of all of the touch points a customer experiences from the moment they walk into a storefront (or log on to a website, or contact a customer service helpline…) to the moment this engagement ends. A few questions to consider:
In service industries, physical evidence refers to all the tangible parts of the otherwise intangible experience customers have when they engage with a company.
Physical evidence, in this regard, refers to three different aspects of a brand:
Ambience refers to the overall “feel” of the location in which a service is rendered.
Whether you call it Performance or Productivity, the 8th P of Marketing is all about how well your company operates – in the eyes of your customers – in comparison to all of the other companies in your industry.
Often, your company’s ability – and drive – to go the extra mile to ensure your customers’ satisfaction is the key differentiator that will keep them coming back whenever they’re in need of the services you offer. Performance is incredibly important in service related industries.
As mentioned earlier in this post, the marketing world has, in the past few decades, undergone a shift in focus and philosophy.
Understanding this, in the early 1990s Robert F. Lauterborn developed the 4 C’s of Marketing as an updated version of the 4 P’s.
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