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Marketing Mix Elements and Why They’re Important

Having a great product or service is one thing. But if you’re not getting the word out to customers looking for what you offer, your business won’t reach its full potential. The secret to achieving that goal is in the strength of your marketing mix.

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What is a marketing mix?

A marketing mix includes the tactics and tools you use to market your company’s offerings and influence customers to buy to buy them. The best marketing mix is one that uses up-to-date market research and data-driven strategies to reach customers and drive sales.

In many cases, this involves changing your current strategy. If your marketing mix isn’t in a constant state of flux, you’re doing something wrong. What worked to engage your customers ten years ago or even two years ago will be unlikely to work now, so consistently assessing your audience, your marketing plan and the tools you use to execute it is simply smart leadership.

The seven P’s of marketing

Neil Borden, a researcher and professor for the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, first used the term “marketing mix” in the 1950s. In 1960, another marketing professor, E. Jerome McCarthy, refined Borden’s ideas into the four P’s of marketing: Product, place, promotion and price.

Since marketing strategy in that era focused on selling products, adjustments were needed for it to work with selling services, as well. That’s when researchers Bernard Booms and Mary Bitner added three additional marketing mix elements in 1982: People, process and physical evidence. Whether used for marketing a product or a service, all of these factors of the marketing mix relate to learning how customers are influenced to make a purchase.

Product

Another point of focus among your marketing mix elements is a product or service. It has to fill a need for a certain type of customer and it has to be different in some way than what competitors offer. This could be in how a product is made or how a service is packaged, but it needs to stand out from the rest while offering a solution to a customer’s need. You could incorporate the best possible marketing mix to sell something, but if your product or service isn’t needed, no amount of marketing will work.

Place

In the 1950s and ’60s, “place” typically meant a brick-and-mortar store. Fast-forward to today’s marketplace, and you can see that the concept of place has evolved. However, the same considerations are there in both contexts, your place determines your distribution model and will play a large role in your marketing mix. An online store will require different strategies than brick-and-mortar locations, although digital marketing would benefit both.

Promotion

Direct advertising platforms make up the promotion element of the marketing mix. Digital marketing via social media platforms, blogs and landing pages is included, as is TV, print, radio, billboards and other signage.

Promotion works closely with placement, and may emphasize the price point needed to better reach a target customer. Effective promotion requires extensive market research about the best channels and tools that generate a positive response from consumers for each individual product and service offering.

Read More: 7 Types of Advertising to Consider

Price

The price point of a product is the primary driving factor in the marketing mix. Businesses seek to make their product affordable and accessible to as many people as possible, or raise the price and quality as a premium option. A product’s pricing will influence the number of sales and the overall profitability of a company.

Read More:Setting Prices for Your Products and Services

People

As the point of contact with potential buyers, employee training, behavior and appearance all contribute to brand messaging and marketing consistency. This is true from the sales counter to social media managers. Recruitment, professional development and staff skills drive marketing strategies. Employees are a key part of your company’s public perception, which the marketing mix can reinforce or rebrand.

Process

Business procedures and workflow impact user experience, making them a key part of a modern marketing mix. Process involves how orders are fulfilled and who customers talk to during the transaction. When a company focuses on standardizing one popular product or customizing and personalizing the sales process, the marketing message and tools needed will likely change.

Process also relates to user experience and how easily your customers are able to find what they need and complete the transaction. It is especially important in online sales. If the process of finding the right product and going through the checkout procedures is difficult, customers will be less likely to return.

Physical evidence

Physical evidence makes up the physical environment where a business provides a service or sells a product. Product packaging is usually the emphasis of physical evidence alongside store layout, ambiance and signage. A store with an attractive facade with appealing colors and clear signs increases its general appeal to an audience.

For online sales, product packaging and website design will be the physical evidence shown to potential customers. Both factors will influence their judgement on the quality of your offerings and your brand.

Why is it important to have a marketing mix?

A marketing mix is essential for a business’s short-term and long-term strategy for making sales. Businesses rely on their marketing mix to guide market research and identify the core values and most viable products. A good marketing mix is objective-focused, adjusting each variable to reach optimum sales.

Emphasizing different tools in your marketing mix allows your business to be flexible when responding to the buying behavior of customers. Your marketing mix is also a significant part of your brand identity, allowing you to differentiate yourself from your competitors or reach new audiences.

How do you rethink your current marketing mix?

If your business goals are not being met, it might be time to rethink your marketing mix. Benson P. Shapiro, a well-known authority on marketing strategy and sales management, wrote in the Harvard Business Review that a successful marketing mix must leverage a company’s strengths, precisely define its consumer segments, and keep a competitive edge.

Is it a logical fit?

Shapiro also suggests three approaches to testing your current marketing mix to determine if it needs some minor tweaking or a major overhaul. First, be sure that there is a logical fit between your product or service and the methods of marketing and distribution you use. Selling a high-quality product through a low-quality retailer might work temporarily but isn’t a logical strategy moving forward.

Is it integrated?

Second, you should integrate your marketing mix to work harmoniously with your product or service. The example Shapiro offers is heavy advertising for a higher selling price. Consumers have a natural distrust of marketing as it is, so a higher price is justified if it’s a product or service they have seen advertised across multiple channels.

Is it leveraged to its fullest potential?

Third, focus on ways to integrate your marketing mix to leverage each element’s potential. This might mean choosing one channel over another for a particular campaign. You not only have to think about the marketing channels you’re using, but how your potential customers are using that channel. For example, do “likes” on your Facebook ads translate into increased sales or customer retention? If not, another marketing channel could offer more potential.

Related: Creating a Facebook Page for Your Business

FAQs: marketing mix

What is a marketing mix example?

Apple is a great example because the company focuses on product innovation to maintain a competitive edge for their marketing mix. Everything from product design to user interface set it apart from its competition. Their advertising also focuses on these elements to be more effective.

Why is a marketing mix important?

A successful marketing mix helps to get your product or service to the right customer, at the right time and at the right price. Without consistently analyzing and adapting your marketing mix based on real-time data and consumer research, your business will not reach its full growth potential.

What is the most important part of a marketing mix?

Pricing is the most important element of your marketing mix. The price you set for a product or service will significantly influence your potential customers’ choice to purchase it. Pricing will also affect consumer confidence in the benefits your product or service provides. If higher pricing than your competitors doesn’t equal better service or quality, your marketing efforts will struggle.

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