Created in 1960 by Jerome McCarthy, the marketing mix gives concrete form to the marketing actions that can play a major role in satisfying the target audience in a given market. Indeed, your marketing and sales strategy must be based on clear objectives and positioning to enable you to envisage concrete actions to become a major player in your market.
Taught in all business schools, the marketing mix is a marketing tool used in the operational part of a project. It consists of dividing your marketing strategy into 4 parts according to the positioning that your company has chosen beforehand.
As a major variable in your marketing development, the marketing mix studies in detail the actions to be taken to promote your project.
This marketing approach must be thought out according to the needs and expectations of your customers. Each variable studied with and by the marketing mix must be coherent with the others to form a common homogeneous whole.
Marketing mix: definition
The marketing mix is a marketing tool that allows you to group all your marketing decisions and actions into a matrix; the 4Ps. The primary objective of the marketing mix is to ensure the success of your product, company, brand or service on its market thanks to a perfectly developed strategy.
This matrix concerns 4 aspects of your marketing strategy; they are called “the 4Ps”.
What are the 4Ps?
The marketing decisions taken in the marketing mix phase concern product, price, communication and distribution policy.
This part of the analysis is called “the 4Ps”, which all begin with the letter P. It is therefore a particularly practical mnemonic for setting up a marketing mix.
The product part of the marketing mix consists of determining how your product responds to consumer demand, what added value it has compared to the competition, etc. It is the basic element of the marketing mix. It is the basic element of the marketing mix, the first variable to be studied before moving on to the others because it is dependent on the rest.
It will also constitute a main communication element in the marketing strategy due to its functions, design, packaging, brand name, etc.
You are therefore going to define what differentiates you from the competition; to do this, you are going to analyse the strengths of your offer, its weaknesses and compare them with those of your competitors to focus your strategy. The aim is to stand out in the market by offering something that your direct or indirect competitors do not have.
Here we will define the channels on which your offer should be distributed, whether it is online or on the internet, on marketplaces, on a merchant website or in supermarkets etc. Think about the fact that the success of an offer will largely depend on its distribution.
It is the first point of contact with the customer, so it must be designed with him in mind. This variable also includes other aspects such as product availability, delivery methods, shipping costs and also the merchandising to be put in place.
You will define how to communicate about your offer and on which channels (online and/or offline). To do this, you will determine and analyse the different options available to you and define which one will allow you to reach the largest part of your target group by being visible, but also by creating desire and making people want to buy.
The pricing policy to be implemented depends greatly on the market you are targeting, your positioning and its target. This is why an upstream analysis and market study is necessary before committing the first step towards the marketing mix.
Certain analyses can be put in place to determine what price seems ideal to reach your target, such as a psychological price study. Of course, first of all, think about how profitable you are and how much turnover you make before you want to position yourself as an accessible product, for example.
This will enable you to determine whether you want to focus on a premium or low-cost strategy, define your pricing policy, price, promotional offers etc.
The 7Ps, the evolution of the marketing mix
Moreover, if the initial 4Ps have been established for years, new complementary “P’s” have emerged in recent years to give way to strategies more focused on processes and people. The P’s “People”, “Process” and “Physical Evidence” were introduced by Lovelock in 1996, thus widening the scope of the marketing mix and making your marketing strategy more effective.
How does the work of your teams influence your results? From the consumer’s point of view, the role of this variable will be decisive. It will be closely linked to the people who represent your brand, i.e. your employees, your sales force.
Whether it is the employees of your physical shops, the after-sales service or anyone else who is linked to your company, you must therefore put in place a coherent positioning in the way of being, acting and the values to be conveyed to all your employees to guarantee the image of your company thanks to intensive and continuous training of your teams on how to manage files, customers and deal with unforeseen events.
Remember that every employee reflects the image of your company.
In marketing, when we talk about a process, we are referring to the whole period between the first interaction with the customer and the end of the service.
It is therefore important to set up a clear process to facilitate the work of your teams and thus make it more efficient thanks to better speed and fluidity.
By optimising your processes you will increase your sales because speed means less customer flight to the competition.
Proof is security in the eyes of your customers. It consists of providing proof that you offer good value for money products and that you can be trusted.
This can be done by sending samples, customer reviews, critics, word of mouth, your NPS score etc.
So you need to pay attention to your reputation and your e-reputation.
The 10Ps, to further improve the effectiveness of your marketing mix
In March 2011, the 7P’s were expanded to become the 10P’s, adding new variables to the marketing mix tool: “Partnership”, “Permission” and “Purple”, which will be more related to service marketing.
This term covers co-branding strategies, i.e. co-development between several complementary brands; the aim being to promote each other’s services and thus develop your activities.
This refers to inbound marketing strategies, the aim being to encourage the consumer to enter into a direct relationship with the brand and not the other way round. Consumers have grown tired of brands imposing themselves on them, for example with constant calls home to offer services or unsolicited e-mail (spam).
This P comes from a rather ironic image; it illustrates the fact of placing a cow in a field. So far, nothing exceptional, just one cow among many. Now, paint it purple… There you go, it’s all you see!
It’s the same thing for your products or services, you have to stand out from the competition, be remarkable. To do this, you will play with the emotions of consumers, you will appeal to them, make them remember you.
Why do marketing mix?
The marketing mix allows you to define the objectives to be achieved and the actions to be taken in your marketing strategy to achieve them. It allows you to know your market and your targets well and to help you promote your offers, products and services.
With the marketing mix, you will make decisions based on each of the above variables, taking into account your market criteria and the positioning you wish to address. It is an overall strategy.
Thanks to the marketing mix, you will be able to promote your offer and reach new consumers thanks to a communication policy that is better targeted and responds better to the needs and expectations of your customers.
You should implement this tool after a study of your market because the marketing mix will enable you to better consider your product or service and identify the means that will enable you to bring your offer to the target population. It is therefore a work of reflection upstream but should not be taken lightly because it represents a real springboard towards the success of your project or the visibility of your brand in its sector.
We consider our product and determine to what extent and by what means it meets a demand, we determine the target and, depending on this target, we determine an appropriate pricing policy and the most effective distribution channels to reach it. Finally, we determine the means by which we will promote this product to be attractive and reach the largest number of people.
What are the objectives of the marketing mix?
First of all, the interest is to create a global and coherent offer around all the elements that make up the strategy, always keeping in mind the customer on the one hand, but also all the other elements linked to your employees on the other.
The aim will of course be to improve the performance of each of the variables in order to anchor yourself in your market.
How do you put the marketing mix into practice?
Keep in mind that a marketing mix cannot be applied in the same way to all your products and services. You have to constantly adapt and adjust the variables according to the evolution of your market, the new constraints that are present, the technology and finally the PESTLE environment (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, Environmental) that is around.
You have to implement 4 successive steps
- You will identify the needs of the target market
- You will compare the characteristics of your offer with those of the competition and find out how you can differentiate yourself
- In line with the positioning you have adopted through these two steps, you will build your marketing mix
- Finally, you will prioritise the variables in the marketing mix that are important to emphasise in relation to your project and your objectives
What are the benefits of the marketing mix?
In short, the marketing mix is a way of :
- Set up a strategy adapted to your target while taking into account your means (human and financial)
- Improve the coherence of your strategy by taking into account all aspects of it to create homogeneous actions; it therefore also improves the effectiveness of your strategy.
- Differentiate yourself from the competition by focusing on points that represent your added value
- Measure your risks and weaknesses in order to respond to them through accessible and implementable solutions
You will thus improve your company’s profitability through the marketing mix and ensure the success of your offer on its target market.
Image credit: Hendric Simarmata