The Modern Marketing Mix and What It Means for You

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Our modern marketing landscape is rapidly evolving, from VR wizardry taking customers on a virtual brand adventure to a social media environment that barely stops to take a breath. Yet a fundamental basis for understanding and excelling in that landscape can still be found in the oft-cited power of the marketing mix.

The marketing mix is a fundamental theory that emerged in the 1950s; a foundation for the principles of marketing designed to identify and amplify the success of a product or service through strategic planning. While the marketing mix may have been coined at a time where marketing and products were far more limited by geography than they are today, the 4 key principles that underlie it still remain relevant.

The framework for this marketing ethos is often referred to as the 4Ps; Product, Price, Promotion and Place. Understanding what these principles mean is the first step to effective marketing for your business.

The First P – Product

The first P of the marketing mix refers to Product. This might not necessarily be a physical good, but relates to the products or service offerings that your business provides.

Product is the foundation on which all your marketing is built. After all, you need to understand what your own product or service offering is in order to communicate that message to your desired audience.

This isn’t just a static judgement or snapshot understanding. A successful marketer needs to understand the full life-cycle of a product or service, how it meets demand, how it is consumed or accessed, where it should be positioned and how you promote it.

  • Why do your customers want this product?
  • How does it meet their needs?
  • What are its benefits?
  • What sets it apart from the competition?

The Second P – Price

The second P is Price. That might seem simple, but understanding the impact of Price on marketing goes beyond simple unit costs. Price is not just about the value of a product, but the perceived value of that product to your audience.

Price has to take into account market conditions, the cost of rival offerings, the cost of manufacturing your product or hosting your service, the target audience perception. Luxury goods offer an example where perceived value can lead to significant mark-ups, with items like celebrity perfumes leveraging as much as a 95% profit margin.

Seasonal changes and promotional periods can also impact the consideration of Price. Lowering the cost of purchase at a time of year that sees huge turnover of product can lead to lower profit margins but significantly increased total profit.

  • What are the total costs of your product or service?
  • What is the perceived value?
  • What is the price of the competition?
  • Is a promotional price worthwhile?

The Third P – Place

The third P, Place, has perhaps seen the greatest disruption from emerging innovations and changes to our modern marketing. However, it still remains a fundamental principle that must be understood as part of your marketing mix, even if that principle has evolved greatly since the 1950s.

Place is about deciding where your market or service is sold, and how it is delivered to the market. Those considerations are at once more global and more distributed than they have ever been, which makes the consideration more complex, not less important.

Our connected online landscape means that marketing and addressing the concept of Place is now more important than ever. Targeted advertising, social media audience acquisition, and even just understanding the content consumption habits of your target customer all feed into this consideration.

  • What kind of shop should sell your product?
  • Do you need a physical presence or just online visibility?
  • How can you position your product or service online?
  • Where should you place online adverts to target your audience?
  • What other multimedia or digital content offers valuable product marketing?
  • How do you deliver your product or service to the consumer?

The Fourth P – Promotion

The 4th P, Promotion, is all about visibility. You’ve understood your Product, assessed appropriate Price, analysed the relevant Place – now you’ve got what you need to communicate to your audience.

Promotion encompasses advertising, public relations, physical events, content marketing, and the wide range of strategic marketing planning to build visibility around your offer. Your job is to frame a story to consumers about what your product is, how it meets their needs, and why they should purchase it.

Promotion and Place tie in together to help frame the concept around building the right message for your target audience. It’s identifying who your product or service is for, and marketing it to them in a way they understand.

Increasingly in today’s connected landscape Promotion includes elements of content marketing and inbound communication, essentially the principles of attracting customers to your product or service offering by supporting them on an engaged and informative customer journey. Multi-channel content marketing, SEO, social media marketing help create interest and authority that builds into generating positive business results.

  • Where are your target audience?
  • What’s the best way to communicate with them?
  • How do you inform them of the value of your product?
  • What’s the best way to show you can meet their needs?
  • How do you improve their customer journey?
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