Marketing refers to the art of designing, packaging, and pricing products or services in a manner that appeals to their intended target audiences, offering those through efficient and convenient sales channels, and communicating key messages about all of the above via effective and cost efficient communication vehicles. (Phew, that was a mouthful!)
Each of these elements is equally important and an indispensable part of the Marketing Mix, which – along with segmentation – defines your marketing plan. Leaving out any of these elements will result in an incomplete marketing plan that will unlikely produce the sales and business results you envision.
These elements, Product, Price, Place, and Promotion are also prominently referred to as the 4-Ps of Marketing. You can also add People, Processes, and Physical Appearances to generate the Extended Marketing Mix, but we’ll focus on the original four elements for the purposes of this article.
Product refers to the design, packaging, functions, and features of the actual product or service. It doesn’t really matter how you feel about those. What matters is what your market segments and target audiences want, need, and demand. In other words, you have to make sure your product or service is built in a way that appeals to the demand.
This is tricky and requires a lot of research, especially about the market segments and target audiences you are serving. And this is where many people make their first – but most damaging mistakes. They fall in love with their products to the extent that they become oblivious to what the buyers will actually want (and buy), and then wonder why their sales aren’t going through the roof. The answer? Very simple; research, research, and then some more research.
Now that you’ve designed the perfect product, you’ve got to price it in way that will appeal to the market and respond to demand. That includes bundling, discounting, and incentives to generate repeat business from up-selling and cross-selling.
For example, your primary product (A) is priced at JD 500 a piece. It’s a relative high price and you fear customers won’t even come close to your showroom. In this case, you may want to design a stripped-down version (product B) and promote that for half the price. Once customers flock in to check it out and you have them in your showroom, you can start the process of convincing them that product A is really a much better option. Some brands have successfully designed and launched products they knew won’t sell well, but only serve the purpose of attracting customers into the showroom.
Place is about the various channels you deploy and utilize to get your products or services onto the market. That includes choice of retail locations, distribution channels, e-commerce, and what have you. What’s critical here is that consumers will find it easy and convenient to purchase the product you have designed and priced so adequately.
Sadly enough, this is where many businesses take a wrong turn; to save on rent for example, locations that are less suitable are chosen which may not be as accessible or convenient as they should be. We’re pretty sure you can think of several brands that you’d love to buy from, where it only for that impossible location they are situated in. What a shame to lose business because an outlet is simply misplaced.
Retail guru Sam Walton was notorious for stating “location, location, and location” as the most important three factors for a successful retail business. Given the massive retail empire he managed to build, we’re pretty sure he knew what he was talking about.
Promotion encompasses the various tactics you launch to communicate your key messages to your target audiences. This includes advertising, public relations, events, social media/ digital channels, sales promotions, and the list goes on and on.
But at this stage, designing your promotional plan becomes fairly easy because you have the right product at the right price, have set up your presence at the most suitable and convenient locations possible, and know exactly what key messages your target audiences need to hear to have their “eureka” moment. It become now a matter of creativity and effectiveness as to how you will reach out to your target audiences with your important messages.
We’ve written about this (the Marketing Mix) before and will probably keeping doing so in the future, simply because designing your marketing mix is the single most important endeavor you and your marketing team must complete to succeed.
As you see from the above, none of these elements can be left out, and the marketing mix must be either complete or it won’t work. It’s pointless to have the perfect product if it’s priced unreasonably, and both won’t work if your sales channels aren’t convenient for your consumers. And all three combined won’t make a difference if you aren’t communicating their values effectively. At the same token, it doesn’t matter how brilliant your communication tactics are if you don’t have the right product, are over-priced, or again – are working out of the wrong location. It’s a real package deal!
About the Author
Pinnacle Business & Marketing Consulting is a results-driven boutique consulting firm that specializes in providing clients with practical and pragmatic solutions to their business and marketing challenges.
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