For someone who is new to marketing, the term heard most often is – “Marketing mix”. For those in whom marketing runs in the blood, the term also flows and they don’t just hear it, they live it. The journey from hearing the term to living it is indeed a big one and may span years, if not decades. It consists of many intermediate steps where one learns to use the aspects of the marketing mix – either individually or in combination. In the simplest form, Marketing Mix consists of four aspects, more commonly known as the four P’s – Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Each of the four P’s is a study in itself and takes years to master.
A marketing career is not for everyone. One needs to have the flair to understand not only the marketing mix but also to understand people as well, people who will end up being customers. Marketing mix is about understanding the customers and working around the four P’s to target the customer. There are various aspects to customer targeting. However in this session, we will limit ourselves to the introduction of the marketing mix – a brief about the four P’s of the mix.
Product – The heart of the marketing mix. Without the product, there would be no need for price, promotion or place. There are many aspects to product management. The most commonly used models are the product life-cycle (PLC) management and the customer adoption curve (AC). PLC is about the stages a product goes through and how as a product manager, one should be ready for it in terms of the overall marketing mix. AC is about how the product will be accepted in the market place so that other aspects of marketing mix can be aligned.
Price – Price can really make or break the product. It can fetch good returns or leave the company in doldrums. It is very important to price the product right – neither too high nor too low. This is the most challenging part of pricing – how to find the right price, especially in a competitive environment. There are various techniques used, however in today’s world, innovation in pricing is a key skill needed of marketers.
Place – Place is about the distribution strategy of the company for its products. It answers questions about the number of intermediaries, the flow of ownership, the commissions and finally the consumer reach. With the SCM (supply chain management) evolution, distribution strategies have the ability to create a big impact on the product success. Companies are investing a lot of money in getting their distribution strategies right.
Promotion – The most important aspect of promotion is advertising. But promotion is not just about advertising. It also includes personal selling, handling public relations and devising sales promotional tactics. In recent times, promotion is also about forming strategic relationships with the clients. There are key account managers who deal with specific clients and interact with them on a regular basis. Good promotional strategy can click with customer’s big time and bring in a windfall of revenue.
The four P’s model has been expanded to seven P’s (maybe more that I am not aware of) and other equivalent models to suit different industries and sectors. However the gist is very simple – it is really about the four P’s mentioned above. Only when one has a good and clear understanding of the four P’s, one can truly set himself/ herself on the path of a marketing career.
Some of the interesting books on Marketing Mix which are available online are:
- Marketing: A Guide to the Fundamentals
- The Marketing Mix Handbook – Everything You Need to Know about Marketing Mix
- Marketing Research: Text and Cases
- The Marketing Mix: Master the 4 Ps of marketing (Management & Marketing Book 8)
- Marketing Mix for Tourism Products