The marketing mix is the most notable of all the marketing terms, being the main element of the marketing decisions and tactics. Also identified as “the four P’s”, the marketing mix consists of: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. The balance of these elements in the marketing plan is crucial as the manager has to meet customers’ needs in the target market. Blending these four variables, the marketing manager can accomplish and surpass the company’s objectives concerning the customers.
This concept is not limited to the tangible, physical object offered to the market, but a combination of both goods and services or conveniences part of the offer. Marketing product decisions regard:
- brand name
- service and support
Is the amount of money the customer pays in exchange for the product or service the company offers. Price is very important because customers are interested to obtain the maximum benefit from the resources spent acquiring goods and services. Price includes also discounts, financing, leasing, not only the list price.
While the price is determined by material costs, competition and customer’s perception about the product, marketing pricing decisions should consider the profit margins and the possible pricing response of the competition, price being well-known as a powerful instrument in the competition fight.
Price decisions include:
- price flexibility
- Discounts ( volume, value, cash, early payment)
- price strategy
- psychological pricing(the .99cent offers)
- bundle pricing
- seasonal pricing.
Also known as distribution, channel or intermediary, place is the mechanism through which goods and services get to the target customer from the manufacturer or service provider. Place depends on the perception of the consumer and can vary from physical stores to virtual stores.
The concept of Place in marketing is not fixed to the physical area where the product is available, the distribution decisions concern:
- market coverage
- inventory management
- distribution centers.
Promotion represents all of the communications that a marketer may use in the marketplace to display information about the product, with the goal of generating a positive customer reaction.
Promotion can be used to inform the market on a new product or service, a new brand or a new company. Also promotion can stimulate the interest of the customers in the product already on the market or in decline.
The concept of promotion in marketing consists in four elements:
- public relations
- personal selling
- sales promotion
Advertising includes all forms of communication intended to create a good reaction in customers perception about a product. Usually these media of communication are paid for and include form television, radio, Internet, press to in-store advertising and printed ads.
PR,compared to advertising, is a non-paid mean of communication focused on improving and maintaining the relationship between a company and its public. Public relations tools are press releases, newsletters, annual reports, blogs, press kits, websites.
Personal selling uses word of mouth of common persons like satisfied customers, sales staff apparently informal to promote company’s products. This promotion element uses people to people direct contact compared to organization to people contact used in public relations.
Sales promotion can be focused both on consumers and distribution channels. Customer sales promotions include coupons, games, contests, price deals, loyalty rewards. Trade sales promotion techniques regard discounts, trade contests, allowances, training programs.
Blending these four elements, the marketer gets a promotion mix,focused at the company’s objectives depending on company’s financial resources and the target market.
Though many authors tried to extend the meaning of the marketing mix concept, adding new P’s, this simple, comprehensive form of “The four P’s” persists in most of marketing books as a strong framework.