Marketing mix - what is it and how does it work?

Service Business

Marketing mix - theory and practice

Marketing has been a dynamically developing branch of science for several decades. His example shows clearly the dynamics between the sphere of theoretical conceptual work and practice. The influence of the latter is extremely important here - very often entrepreneurs and advertising specialists contribute to the enrichment of the theoretical layer of marketing. New promotional concepts - such as ambient marketing - were born first in the minds of creative employees, and only later were formally defined and introduced into the canon, thanks to which they now inspire millions. This is what the marketing mix is ​​all about.

Of course, technological development has a great influence on the formation of new ideas - undoubtedly, the greatest confusion in marketing was caused by the development of the Internet. This interactive medium enables symmetrical two-way communication on the client-brand line, therefore new theoretical tools (such as the 4C model described below) were needed, resulting from practice - and supporting it.

Here we come to the question: are theoretical models really needed? After all, many of these things are intuitively understood by entrepreneurs. True, but we must not forget that building synthetic mental structures is very helpful in organizing information.Therefore, for planning work, such as creating a budget and marketing strategy, models can prove useful. And let's not forget about the purely academic aspect of marketing - models are an important element in scientific works.

Marketing mix 4P

The earliest theoretical composition related to marketing. As the name suggests, it consists of four elements - in English it will be price, product, place and promotion, which in Polish translates as:

  • price,

  • product,

  • place (distribution),

  • special offer.

These four ingredients are the basic tools you need to build effective advertising campaigns. Let us discuss them one by one.

  • Price - is very much related to the other elements of the marketing mix. Its amount is influenced by expenses on promotion, distribution costs, as well as the product itself - the cost of its production, value for buyers, demand, supply and price flexibility. There are various price-shaping strategies - for example, a popular brand (like Apple), which focuses on quality, may even overstate them, thus building a belief in its exclusivity in customers. Temporarily lowered (even below the cost of production) prices are helpful in expansive strategies aimed at winning a given market segment. It is often used by new companies trying to increase awareness of their brand among customers. The weight of this component has increased significantly with the development of e-commerce, as the consumer browsing online stores can easily and quickly compare prices. In this way, the price becomes the main determining factor for the purchase.

  • Product - a physical good or service. A very broad category, which includes the right product - its characteristics, suitability for the customer, innovation, uniqueness - associated emotions, aesthetics and even the appearance of the packaging. In the original concept of marketing mix, it is the central thing - it is, as a rule, supposed to bring satisfaction to the client and meet his needs. Its life cycle is important for the product. The phase it is currently in (e.g. market entry, recall, etc.) has a decisive influence on the promotional strategy as well as the price.

  • Place (place, distribution) - channels through which the product or service reaches the customer. This concept can cover both the location of shops or service points, and the arrangement of products on shelves. In the case of e-commerce, it is important, among others available payment methods (the more, the better) and shipping conditions - time and cost. The legendary Steve Jobs, the founder of one of the richest companies in the USA, i.e. Apple, knew well about the strength of the place of sale. He was the originator of the famous brand store on 5th Avenue in New York. Its facade is spectacular - made of glass, with a huge Apple logo on the front. It tempts even those who are not interested in buying anything to enter. And inside, Jobs ordered to leave a lot of space, and to set up the company's products for easy touching, viewing and testing.

  • Promotion - an element that is mistakenly identified by many with marketing, with the omission of the elements discussed above. This concept includes, among others: traditional advertising, Internet advertising, public relations, direct sales. This is a topic, because there are a lot of advertising techniques, so there is no point in discussing them in detail here - but I refer to texts about inbound marketing, new forms of advertising and the rules for creating promotional messages.

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Extended 5P and 7P models - marketing mix

In the course of subsequent theoretical work - obviously based on market empirical evidence - the 4P concept was strongly developed. Another "P" was added to represent previously omitted components pertaining to the rapidly growing service sector. And so the fifth letter appeared, that is ...

  • People - the human factor is extremely important in the information age, also in marketing activities, such as the marketing mix. In modern marketing, the concept of Consument Experience Management (experience management, consumer experience management, abbreviation: CXM) has appeared, in which people are extremely important for the quality of service. The importance of competent staff was always emphasized by the aforementioned Steve Jobs - Apple stores employ so-called "Geniuses", that is, well-qualified employees who help clients. This can also be seen in the example of multimedia book stores, which led to the bankruptcy of many small bookshops, and now have problems selling themselves. No wonder - they employ people without much knowledge of literature, which frustrates customers who want to learn something useful about the product range. Therefore, there is an outflow of consumers towards online bookstores, which, although they also do not offer educated service, are cheaper. And information about new products can always be found on the web.

The final version of the marketing mix took shape when the last two elements were added to it, thus creating the 7P model.

  • Material evidence - a slightly blurred category. In fact, it is all that the consumer associates with the brand. So you can put his impressions after using a given service - positive, indifferent or negative. You can also mention a whole set of logos, colors and slogans, which in the mass consciousness are equated with a specific brand. The catalog also includes the quality of the product, the most durable and visible mark.
  • Process - processes inside the organization. This concept relates primarily to services - how they are delivered. For example, in an elegant restaurant, it can be a nice welcome by the staff, taking your outerwear, and then presenting the menu of dishes and drinks in an effective way. There are companies that limit their spending on other marketing tools - such as promotion - all their efforts are directed to the process and, of course, to people. The popular chain of Starbucks stores is known for such a strategy, for which the individual experience of the consumer is the most important.

In the next part of the article, we will look at the 4C and compass models that were created to complement and improve the concepts discussed above.