The Marketing Mix (The 4 Ps of Marketing)Marketing decisions generally fall into the following four controllable categories:ProductPricePlace (distribution)PromotionThe term "marketing mix" became popularized after Neil H. Borden published his 1964 article, The Conceptof the Marketing Mix. Borden began using the term in his teaching in the late 1940s after James Cullitonhad described the marketing manager as a "mixer of ingredients". The ingredients in Bordens marketing mixincluded product planning, pricing, branding, distribution channels, personal selling, advertising,promotions, packaging, display, servicing, physical handling, and fact finding and analysis. E. JeromeMcCarthy later grouped these ingredients into the four categories that today are known as the 4 Ps ofmarketing, depicted below: The Marketing MixThese four Ps are the parameters that the marketing manager can control, subject to the internal and externalconstraints of the marketing environment. The goal is to make decisions that center the four Ps on thecustomers in the target market in order to create perceived value and generate a positive response.Product DecisionsThe term "product" refers to tangible, physical products as well as services. Here are some examples of theproduct decisions to be made:Brand nameFunctionalityStylingQualitySafetyPackagingRepairs and SupportWarranty
Accessories and servicesPrice DecisionsSome examples of pricing decisions to be made include:Pricing strategy (skim, penetration, etc.)Suggested retail priceVolume discounts and wholesale pricingCash and early payment discountsSeasonal pricingBundlingPrice flexibilityPrice discriminationDistribution (Place) DecisionsDistribution is about getting the products to the customer. Some examples of distribution decisions include:Distribution channelsMarket coverage (inclusive, selective, or exclusive distribution)Specific channel membersInventory managementWarehousingDistribution centersOrder processingTransportationReverse logisticsPromotion DecisionsIn the context of the marketing mix, promotion represents the various aspects of marketing communication,that is, the communication of information about the product with the goal of generating a positive customerresponse. Marketing communication decisions include:Promotional strategy (push, pull, etc.)AdvertisingPersonal selling & sales forceSales promotionsPublic relations & publicityMarketing communications budgetLimitations of the Marketing Mix FrameworkThe marketing mix framework was particularly useful in the early days of the marketing concept whenphysical products represented a larger portion of the economy. Today, with marketing more integrated intoorganizations and with a wider variety of products and markets, some authors have attempted to extend itsusefulness by proposing a fifth P, such as packaging, people, process, etc. Today however, the marketingmix most commonly remains based on the 4 Ps. Despite its limitations and perhaps because of its simplicity,the use of this framework remains strong and many marketing textbooks have been organized around it.
Market SegmentationMarket segmentation is the identification of portions of the market that are different from one another.Segmentation allows the firm to better satisfy the needs of its potential customers.The Need for Market SegmentationThe marketing concept calls for understanding customers and satisfying their needs better than thecompetition. But different customers have different needs, and it rarely is possible to satisfy all customers bytreating them alike.Mass marketing refers to treatment of the market as a homogenous group and offering the same marketingmix to all customers. Mass marketing allows economies of scale to be realized through mass production,mass distribution, and mass communication. The drawback of mass marketing is that customer needs andpreferences differ and the same offering is unlikely to be viewed as optimal by all customers. If firmsignored the differing customer needs, another firm likely would enter the market with a product that serves aspecific group, and the incumbant firms would lose those customers.Target marketing on the other hand recognizes the diversity of customers and does not try to please all ofthem with the same offering. The first step in target marketing is to identify different market segments andtheir needs.Requirements of Market SegmentsIn addition to having different needs, for segments to be practical they should be evaluated against thefollowing criteria: Identifiable: the differentiating attributes of the segments must be measurable so that they can be identified. Accessible: the segments must be reachable through communication and distribution channels. Substantial: the segments should be sufficiently large to justify the resources required to target them. Unique needs: to justify separate offerings, the segments must respond differently to the different marketing mixes. Durable: the segments should be relatively stable to minimize the cost of frequent changes.A good market segmentation will result in segment members that are internally homogenous and externallyheterogeneous; that is, as similar as possible within the segment, and as different as possible betweensegments.Bases for Segmentation in Consumer MarketsConsumer markets can be segmented on the following customer characteristics. Geographic Demographic Psychographic BehavioralisticGeographic SegmentationThe following are some examples of geographic variables often used in segmentation. Region: by continent, country, state, or even neighborhood Size of metropolitan area: segmented according to size of population Population density: often classified as urban, suburban, or rural
Climate: according to weather patterns common to certain geographic regionsDemographic SegmentationSome demographic segmentation variables include: Age Gender Family size Family lifecycle Generation: baby-boomers, Generation X, etc. Income Occupation Education Ethnicity Nationality Religion Social classMany of these variables have standard categories for their values. For example, family lifecycle often isexpressed as bachelor, married with no children (DINKS: Double Income, No Kids), full-nest, empty-nest,or solitary survivor. Some of these categories have several stages, for example, full-nest I, II, or IIIdepending on the age of the children.Psychographic SegmentationPsychographic segmentation groups customers according to their lifestyle. Activities, interests, and opinions(AIO) surveys are one tool for measuring lifestyle. Some psychographic variables include: Activities Interests Opinions Attitudes ValuesBehavioralistic SegmentationBehavioral segmentation is based on actual customer behavior toward products. Some behavioralisticvariables include: Benefits sought Usage rate Brand loyalty User status: potential, first-time, regular, etc. Readiness to buy Occasions: holidays and events that stimulate purchasesBehavioral segmentation has the advantage of using variables that are closely related to the product itself. Itis a fairly direct starting point for market segmentation.Bases for Segmentation in Industrial MarketsIn contrast to consumers, industrial customers tend to be fewer in number and purchase larger quantities.They evaluate offerings in more detail, and the decision process usually involves more than one person.
These characteristics apply to organizations such as manufacturers and service providers, as well asresellers, governments, and institutions.Many of the consumer market segmentation variables can be applied to industrial markets. Industrialmarkets might be segmented on characteristics such as: Location Company type Behavioral characteristicsLocationIn industrial markets, customer location may be important in some cases. Shipping costs may be a purchasefactor for vendor selection for products having a high bulk to value ratio, so distance from the vendor maybe critical. In some industries firms tend to cluster together geographically and therefore may have similarneeds within a region.Company TypeBusiness customers can be classified according to type as follows: Company size Industry Decision making unit Purchase CriteriaBehavioral CharacteristicsIn industrial markets, patterns of purchase behavior can be a basis for segmentation. Such behavioralcharacteristics may include: Usage rate Buying status: potential, first-time, regular, etc. Purchase procedure: sealed bids, negotiations, etc. SegmentationThis is the first of three lessons based upon SEGMENT - TARGET - POSITION. To get a product orservice to the right person or company, a marketer would firstly segment the market, then target a singlesegment or series of segments, and finally position within the segment(s).Segmentation is essentially the identification of subsets of buyers within a market who share similar needsand who demonstrate similar buyer behavior. The world is made up from billions of buyers with their ownsets of needs and behavior. Segmentation aims to match groups of purchasers with the same set of needs andbuyer behavior. Such a group is known as a segment. Think of you r market as an orange, with a series ofconnected but distinctive segments, each with their own profile.Of course you can segment by all sorts of variables. The diagram above depicts how segmentationinformation is often represented as a pie chart diagram - the segments are often named and/ or numbered insome way.Segmentation is a form of critical evaluation rather than a prescribed process or system, and hence no twomarkets are defined and segmented in the same way. However there are a number of underpinning criteriathat assist us with segmentation:
Is the segment viable? Can we make a profit from it? Is the segment accessible? How easy is it for us to get into the segment? Is the segment measurable? Can we obtain realistic data to consider its potential?The are many ways that a segment can be considered. For example, the auto market could be segmented by:driver age, engine size, model type, cost, and so on. However the more general bases include: by geography - such as where in the world was the product bought. by psychographics - such as lifestyle or beliefs. by socio-cultural factors - such as class. by demography - such as age, sex, and so on.A company will evaluate each segment based upon potential business success. Opportunities will dependupon factors such as: the potential growth of the segment the state of competitive rivalry within the segmenthow much profit the segment will deliver how big the segment is how the segment fits with the currentdirection of the company and its vision.The Segmentation Matrix Business Battlemap is a useful segmentation tool. There are two bases forsegmentation. Here we use beer brand versus ages groups. The various products are then plotted on thematrix. The result is a battlemap. Targeting Part of STP - Segment-Target-PositionTargeting is the second stage of the SEGMENT "Target" POSITION (STP) process. After the market hasbeen separated into its segments, the marketer will select a segment or series of segments and target it/them.Resources and effort will be targeted at theThe first is the single segment with a single product. In other word, the marketer targets a single productoffering at a single segment in a market with many segments. For example, British Airways Concorde is ahigh value product aimed specifically at business people and tourists willing to pay more for speed.Secondly the marketer could ignore the differences in the segments, and choose to aim a single product at allsegments i.e. the whole market. This is typical in mass marketing or where differentiation is less importantthan cost. An example of this is the approach taken by budget airlines such as Go/Finally there is a multi-segment approach. Here a marketer will target a variety of different segments with aseries of differentiated products. This is typical in the motor industry. Here there are a variety of productssuch as diesel, four-wheel-drive, sports saloons, and so on.Now have a look at the final stage, positioning. Positioning Part of STP - Segment-Target-PositionThe third and final part of the SEGMENT - TARGET - POSITION (STP) process is positioning.Positioning is undoubtedly one of the simplest and most useful tools to marketers. After segmenting amarket and then targeting a consumer, you would proceed to position a product within that market.Remember this important point. Positioning is all about perception. As perception differs from person toperson, so do the results of the positioning map e.g. what you perceive as quality, value for money, etc, isdifferent to my perception. However, there will be similarities.
Products or services are mapped together on a positioning map. This allows them to be compared andcontrasted in relation to each other. This is the main strength of this tool. Marketers decide upon acompetitive position which enables them to distinguish their own products from the offerings of theircompetition (hence the term positioning strategy).Take a look at the basic positioning map template below.The marketer would draw out the map and decide upon a label for each axis. They could be price (variableone) and quality (variable two), or Comfort (variable one) and price (variable two). The individual productsare then mapped out next to each other Any gaps could be regarded as possible areas for new products.The term positioning refers to the consumers perception of a product or service in relation to itscompetitors. You need to ask yourself, what is the position of the product in the mind of the consumer?Trout and Ries suggest a six-step question framework for successful positioning:1. What position do you currently own?2. What position do you want to own?3. Whom you have to defeat to own the position you want?4. Do you have the resources to do it?5. Can you persist until you get there?6. Are your tactics supporting the positioning objective you set?Look at the example below using the auto market.Product: Ferrari, BMW, Kia, Range Rover, Saab, Hyundai.Positioning Map for Cars.The six products are plotted upon the positioning map. It can be concluded that products tend to bunch in thehigh price/low economy (fast) sector and also in the low price/high economy sector. There is an opportunityin the low price/ low economy (fast) sector. Maybe Hyundai or Kia could consider introducing a low costsport saloon. However, remember that it is all down to the perception of the individual. Brand EquityA brand is a name or symbol used to identify the source of a product. When developing a new product,branding is an important decision. The brand can add significant value when it is well recognized and haspositive associations in the mind of the consumer. This concept is referred to as brand equity.What is Brand Equity?Brand equity is an intangible asset that depends on associations made by the consumer. There are at leastthree perspectives from which to view brand equity: Financial - One way to measure brand equity is to determine the price premium that a brand commands over a generic product. For example, if consumers are willing to pay $100 more for a branded television over the same unbranded television, this premium provides important information
about the value of the brand. However, expenses such as promotional costs must be taken into account when using this method to measure brand equity. Brand extensions - A successful brand can be used as a platform to launch related products. The benefits of brand extensions are the leveraging of existing brand awareness thus reducing advertising expenditures, and a lower risk from the perspective of the consumer. Furthermore, appropriate brand extensions can enhance the core brand. However, the value of brand extensions is more difficult to quantify than are direct financial measures of brand equity. Consumer-based - A strong brand increases the consumers attitude strength toward the product associated with the brand. Attitude strength is built by experience with a product. This importance of actual experience by the customer implies that trial samples are more effective than advertising in the early stages of building a strong brand. The consumers awareness and associations lead to perceived quality, inferred attributes, and eventually, brand loyalty.Strong brand equity provides the following benefits: Facilitates a more predictable income stream. Increases cash flow by increasing market share, reducing promotional costs, and allowing premium pricing. Brand equity is an asset that can be sold or leased.However, brand equity is not always positive in value. Some brands acquire a bad reputation that results innegative brand equity. Negative brand equity can be measured by surveys in which consumers indicate thata discount is needed to purchase the brand over a generic product.Building and Managing Brand EquityIn his 1989 paper, Managing Brand Equity, Peter H. Farquhar outlined the following three stages that arerequired in order to build a strong brand: 1. Introduction - introduce a quality product with the strategy of using the brand as a platform from which to launch future products. A positive evaluation by the consumer is important. 2. Elaboration - make the brand easy to remember and develop repeat usage. There should be accessible brand attitude, that is, the consumer should easily remember his or her positive evaluation of the brand. 3. Fortification - the brand should carry a consistent image over time to reinforce its place in the consumers mind and develop a special relationship with the consumer. Brand extensions can further fortify the brand, but only with related products having a perceived fit in the mind of the consumer.Alternative Means to Brand EquityBuilding brand equity requires a significant effort, and some companies use alternative means of achievingthe benefits of a strong brand. For example, brand equity can be borrowed by extending the brand name to aline of products in the same product category or even to other categories. In some cases, especially whenthere is a perceptual connection between the products, such extensions are successful. In other cases, theextensions are unsuccessful and can dilute the original brand equity.Brand equity also can be "bought" by licensing the use of a strong brand for a new product. As in lineextensions by the same company, the success of brand licensing is not guaranteed and must be analyzedcarefully for appropriateness.Managing Multiple BrandsDifferent companies have opted for different brand strategies for multiple products. These strategies are:
Single brand identity - a separate brand for each product. For example, in laundry detergents Procter & Gamble offers uniquely positioned brands such as Tide, Cheer, Bold, etc. Umbrella - all products under the same brand. For example, Sony offers many different product categories under its brand. Multi-brand categories - Different brands for different product categories. Campbell Soup Company uses Campbells for soups, Pepperidge Farm for baked goods, and V8 for juices. Family of names - Different brands having a common name stem. Nestle uses Nescafe, Nesquik, and Nestea for beverages.Brand equity is an important factor in multi-product branding strategies.Protecting Brand EquityThe marketing mix should focus on building and protecting brand equity. For example, if the brand ispositioned as a premium product, the product quality should be consistent with what consumers expect ofthe brand, low sale prices should not be used compete, the distribution channels should be consistent withwhat is expected of a premium brand, and the promotional campaign should build consistent associations.Finally, potentially dilutive extensions that are inconsistent with the consumers perception of the brandshould be avoided. Extensions also should be avoided if the core brand is not yet sufficiently strong. New Product Launch StrategyA well planned new product launch strategy can result in a very successful business. However, often peopledo not plan the product launch well enough to get enough publicity and generate enough interest in the newproduct. The more initial buzz and interest you generate in your product the greater your initial success willbe and the more money you will have to market your products and create an even bigger impact.The very first part of your new product launch strategy should contain a well written press release. It is veryimportant to make your press release newsworthy. You can organize a product launch at a trade show whichwill create additional buzz and interest. If you do this right you can generate substantial interest and freemedia coverage which could be worth tens of thousands of dollars in advertising.The next step of your new product launch strategy is to announce the product launch to your list. Your listalready knows and trusts you. If it is something that interests them they will buy your product. You cancreate a video which advertises the benefits and this will increase the interest level in the product.The following step is to find suitable joint venture partners. They will announce your product to their list.You have to offer them something in return. You can offer affiliate commissions or offer to send your list anemail announcing their product.A well executed new product launch will result in an initial rush of new business helping you to maintain astable business with a lot of cash flow. The importance of this cannot be underestimated.
New Product Launch Planning Positioning Execution Additional ResourcesPlanningA new product has been conceived, researched, tested in prototype and made it through all the hurdles of theprocess. The time has come to launch it in the marketplace. What happens now?According to TEC new product development experts Mitch Goozé and Nick Webb, the seeds for the launchphase should be sown back at the very beginning."In the most successful ventures, planning for the new product launch starts along with preliminary designand development," Goozé says. "Positioning, sales channels and distribution, advertising and publicrelations all need to be addressed and should be given as much time and energy as the development anddesign stage. Synchronizing marketing activities with product development is critical for success."Among the key components included in a strong product launch plan: Clearly defined sales objectives Assured sales channel readiness Promotional functions in place (public relations/marketing/advertising) Resources to track, monitor and account for execution"Launch projects often fail because companies dont manufacture adequate quantities of the new product andmake them available to prospective customers," Webb says. He suggests creating a launch team withresponsibility for, among other things, ensuring that all levels of the company are prepared to handledemand for the product and to train staff in its use for customer support.Positioning"Positioning is not about features and specifications," says Goozé. "Its the core message that differentiatesyour product from everything else in the marketplace. A unique product identity strengthens the marketsperception of your product and in turn reinforces your companys overall positioning."To make sure everyone is working toward the same goal, certain milestones should be established: Have we identified all necessary launch channels? What number of new products do we plan to sell by a specific date? When will the product be ready to launch at a national trade convention? Are sufficient stocking orders placed with key distributors? How can we grow the product into a 5-10 percent market entrenchment by a specified date?"Break down every conceivable launch component," Webb says. "Identify customer databases whereappropriate. Send new product samples to industry and trade publication reviewers. Do everything necessaryto create a strong, functioning life-support system for that product."Planning for these activities should be as simple as possible, he adds. "Were not talking about writing a 50-page launch overview document. These tasks should facilitate the most favorable deployment of the newproduct -- thats all."
Approaching the customer with the new product can be the most delicate situation of all, which is why"having your ducks in a row”, is so important. If existing customers encounter design flaws in the newproduct, they may forgive and forget (particularly if their relationship with the company is strong enough),but its unlikely new customers will feel the same way. Also, the new product may not be the right "fit" withall of your current customers. Preparedness reduces the risk that the companys credibility may be damagedby missteps at launch time."In order to establish the new products identity in the marketplace, the core message must be repeated overand over again," Goozé notes. This requires consistent positioning within all of the companys marketingcommunications, including: New and current product literature Press releases Product specifications Sales presentations Internal communicationsGoozé draws a distinction between advertising and public relations. Public relations present the new productas "news" which, he says, "is viewed as impartial as and more reliable than advertising -- even if the news isonly a company press release printed verbatim."Advertising, on the other hand, is aimed at presenting the product (specifically, its features and benefits) inthe best possible light."These promotional tools are most effective when used in tandem. The goal is having each activity reinforceeach other to influence the market and your customers."Beyond issuing press releases, look for unique angles to interest industry opinion leaders, or try placingstories about how the new product benefits customers in trade publications. "Exposure to your product viaboth advertisements and public relations generates greater mindshare and higher perception in themarketplace," Goozé says. "Success breeds success."ExecutionHow will the new product reach customers? Are you’re established sales channels (sales force, distributors,dealers, etc.) up to the new challenge?"When introducing a new product, you need to step back and assess its fit with existing channels," Goozésays. For example, if the new product is a features-reduced version of an existing product that is beingtargeted to a mass market, there are some questions you should ask: Do our existing distributors serve mass marketing retail outlets? Does our current pricing schedule take factors like mass market competition into consideration? If we lower our price, how much can we afford to spend on the sale of each unit at this lower price? Can we reach this market with our current sales force?"Determining your pricing strategy and reviewing your sales channels should be happening while theproduct is being positioned, as these factors will have a definite impact on the positioning message." Goozésays.In situations where one company partners with another to introduce a new product, Webb advises strict duediligence before the execution phase -- thus ensuring that each partner is fully committed to the process andhas the necessary financial resources and familiarity with the marketplace.
"Whatever the circumstances, have clear-cut performance objectives in place and be ready to measure themcarefully," he adds. "Use the launch team to track progress and make it responsible for communicatingresults to senior management."Network marketingNetwork marketing is a general term for a type of marketing that is usually performed by an individualinstead of a company. It refers to the use of interpersonal or social networks to market products and servicesfor business purposes as opposed to the more traditional and common practices of wide-range advertising.The term is technically a type of marketing that can be used as part of an overall marketing strategy whichmay or may not encompass multiple tactics. For example, the most common marketing tactic in a networkmarketing strategy is word of mouth.Many companies which utilize a network marketing strategy facilitate it with a multi-level marketing(MLM) compensation structure. For this reason, the two terms are often confused with one another and usedinterchangeably.