Business Plans…

What is the marketing mix and how can you use it?

There are principles and overall strategies that govern marketing for brands and businesses. The marketing mix offers guidelines to promote a brand and its products in the most beneficial and profitable way possible. It determines the brand’s place in the market, helps it effectively target its key demographics, and assists the development of marketing strategies. Modern marketing is dominated by digital channels, but selecting the best digital approach for your brand is crucial to converting leads to sales. And don’t discount traditional physical marketing materials – for certain products old school techniques can still prove extremely effective. Let’s look at the marketing mix, and how it could benefit your business. 

What is the marketing mix?

The concept of the marketing mix dates back to 1953, originally made up of the four Ps – namely product, price, promotion and place. This covers most of the different factors which can influence a consumer as they decide whether to use a product or service. By mixing these factors strategically, brands aim to elicit responses from their demographic, essentially directing their behaviour through their marketing message. The response could be a sale, or it could be signing up to a mailing list or filling in a survey. The four Ps also help businesses understand their own products and services, their appeal and the best way to market them. 

Product

This means your physical product, or your service, but it means more than that as well. We’re talking about the customer’s experience with your product – why did they choose it? What will it offer them? A good idea is to draw up customer profiles to define your target demographic – age, location, gender, profession, socio-economic standing, education etc. This way you can really get to know your customer, and learn to think like them. Knowledge is power, so learning as much as you can about your target audience will help you tailor your brand experience for them.  

Price 

Choosing the price level for your product can be a stumbling block. Of course, you need to turn a profit, but there are many things to consider. Price too low, customers may view it as a cheap and nasty or disposable market option. Price too high and you won’t make any sales. It’s important to think about your customer demographic and their earning power – if you’re selling to the midrange market you need to price as such. Pricing strategies include bundle, subscription, psychological – pricing as £599 rather than £600 to give the illusion of a cheaper price – among many others.  

Promotion

Contrary to what some think, promotion is not the same as marketing. It is a part of it, sure, but promotion is the process of how you communicate your product, your brand and their value to your existing and potential customers. It is important to identify which communication channels are appropriate and optimal for your target demographic. Digital channels are by far the dominant routes, but working out which to use depends on who you are trying to reach – social media communications can be tailored to fit almost all groups, such is their ubiquity these days (although much older people may not engage). Platforms such as SnapChat and TikTok are geared towards young adults and teenagers – those more likely to engage in viral marketing or user generated content. If you believe your product needs a lot of copy, a printed booklet is an ideal tool, and can easily be ‘digitised’ as a PDF and used in an email marketing campaign. Again, knowing your customer is critical when it comes to promotion. 

Place

Now you’ve got to know your customer base, priced your product and promoted it, how are you going to distribute it? Can you conduct sales purely online, or will you aim to place it in retail outlets? Wholesalers / re-sellers such as Amazon and Walmart have revolutionised placing products, leading to widened availability – if your product was aimed at a narrow demographic in the past it would have been much more difficult to find leads and generate sales. But on the other side of the coin, using those big, faceless companies takes away something from the customer experience, losing the intimacy and personal touch many consumers favour in this increasingly globalised world. 

The marketing mix may be almost 70 years old, but its principles are ageless, and by applying them you could more effectively develop your customer base, and turn leads into conversions. 

 

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