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Marketing is an overarching term many people know what to do with but still don’t know which sub-areas fall under. What do I have to consider so that my marketing strategies are successful? Is it primarily only about advertising? Or is it mainly the sales channels that are decisive? These questions are certainly asked by founders who now want to market their products or services. Therefore, in this article, we explain what the marketing mix exactly is, which marketing instruments belong to it and how you can use it.
Definition And Objective Of The Marketing Mix
The marketing mix describes all activities and measures implemented to achieve marketing goals. The mix is divided into four sub-areas: Product policy, pricing policy, distribution policy, and communication policy. The aim is to coordinate these four marketing instruments with each other to achieve the overriding goals in interaction. Once the plans have been defined, you need to determine which marketing agencies you can use to achieve them. Therefore, the instruments and measures used can differ significantly from company to company if they have set different goals. Because the sub-areas are called Product, Price, Place, and Promotion in English, the marketing mix is also known as the “4Ps”.
Marketing Mix: The 4Ps Explained
We will present them separately to give you a more detailed insight into the individual sub-areas. You must never forget that all Ps relate to each other and are interdependent.
Product policy concerns all decisions and activities directly related to the product. This is about the product or service that you want to sell or offer. This is about the selection and development of your products or services. This, therefore, involves decisions on design, quality, functionality, quantity, and the product’s nature. At this point, you need to ask yourself the following questions: How does my product differentiate itself from others? What innovations can I show? What does the product stand for? What is my brand? What exactly does my service look like? What is the benefit for my target group? What does the packaging look like? What lifestyle does the product stand for? Since these are fundamental questions, product policy is considered the essential pillar within the marketing mix.
Another essential sub-area is pricing policy. This is about pricing and value for money. Price here refers to the amount the customer pays when they purchase the product or service. So, it would be best if you decided how much you can charge to make good enough money but make the customer feel like they are paying a fair price. There are different approaches you can use to do this. It is up to you to decide whether to offer the lowest possible prices with the penetration strategy, to offer the highest and most exclusive prices with the skimming method, or to calculate different costs with the price differentiation strategy. Above all, this decision should fit your product policy. Thus, the following questions arise here: At what price do I sell my product or service? What are the delivery and payment terms? Do I want to enable discount promotions?
The distribution policy is the third pillar in the marketing mix and an essential marketing tool. This is where you determine the channels through which your customers can purchase your product or service. Here, too, you have several options and should choose exactly the one that fits your product and price perfectly. Should the customer be able to buy your product directly from you without a go-between? Or is it a good idea to run your product through intermediaries so that you can concentrate solely on production? But the multi-channel structure is also interesting for you, where you play several channels and thus design directly as well as indirect ways. Therefore, the central questions are: Can I store my product well and quickly? Which channel suits my target group? Does my product require explanation and should therefore be demonstrated by specialist personnel? Which sales channels does the competition use?
Let’s move on to the last pillar of the marketing mix: communication policy. Just because it’s listed last doesn’t mean it’s unimportant. On the contrary, your customers should ultimately hear about your product or service. And that’s what it’s all about: How do you communicate your product? Because you should never see communication as a one-way street but as a possible exchange. And for this, you need to think about suitable communication channels that fit in with your marketing tools and, above all, with your target group. And in all these considerations, you must remember to consider internal communication. Therefore, questions arise at this point, such as: How do I reach all stakeholders? What message do I want to convey? Which channel is suitable for which statement? And on which channels are my target group? What do I want to achieve with my communication?
In terms of communication policy, this can be achieved, for example, by having a website that presents all your products to your customers. Marketing expert Eric Kaiser, CEO of the online marketing agency We like Social Media, is also convinced of this strategy: “The website is the virtual business card of your company and your shop window on the Internet. That’s why it’s crucial that your website looks professional and convinces your customers. Because customers don’t look for you in the phone book anymore – they Google you. And when they then find your website, that’s the decisive sales moment.”
Expansion Of The Marketing Mix
Over the years, the basic marketing mix model has changed somewhat, adding more Ps. We will also explain the subsequent marketing tools to give you a comprehensive picture.
The personnel policy (People) focuses on your employees, who are a direct link between the manufacturer and the customer. Accordingly, they are the people who have the most contact with customers and therefore play a crucial role. As a result, they also represent your company to a certain extent. They can explain your product to customers through their expertise and influence them to a certain degree. So you should take time for your employees and invest in further training measures. Make them feel like they are doing important work, which is precisely what they are doing. If your employees are happy, the chance that your customers will be satisfied is higher.
Process policy refers, on the one hand, to the customer experience and, thus, to a customer-oriented process. On the other hand, it also refers to general process management, including technical processes in product manufacturing. When does who do what? And at what point in this process does the customer come in? These questions help you to make your processes as efficient as possible and to increase customer satisfaction through improvement measures. Because here, too, your goal is a perfect customer experience.
The Physical Evidence policy refers to, for example, the equipment and design of the sales premises or the company. It includes all the features of your company that can have a substantial effect on the customer. Therefore, this marketing tool is only essential if you contact your target group at one location. If you have several branches or stores, the employees’ appealing interior design or “matching outfits” can not only provide eye-catchers. They can also have a notable effect on the customer.
Marketing Mix Conclusion
It should now be clear to you what is essential in a holistic marketing concept. The most important thing to remember here is that everything must be coordinated and tailored to each other. For example, you should not offer a glitter smartphone case at an upscale price via an online store and communicate this offer via advertising flyers. As crazy as this example may sound, it illustrates that all four marketing tools are not aligned. Because with this product, you will not reach your target group through the chosen marketing measures. Therefore, formulating goals beforehand and achieving them using a healthy thought-out marketing mix is essential.