What is a 'Marketing Mix'

A marketing mix usually refers to E. Jerome McCarthy's 4-P classification for developing an effective marketing strategy. The four Ps are product, price, placement (distribution), and promotion. Depending on the industry and the target of the marketing plan, marketing managers may take various approaches to each of the four Ps. 

BREAKING DOWN 'Marketing Mix'

The purpose of marketing is to make the prospective customer aware of your product. The utilization of McCarthy's methods forces the marketer to refine the focus of the audience they hope to reach with their advertisement. A marketing mix helps an organization make strategic decisions when launching new products or revising existing products.

Although the four Ps can be examined independently, in practice, they are often dependent on one another. 

  • Product refers to the item or service designed to satisfy customers' needs and wants. Questions marketing professionals ask are: What features differentiate this product from a competitors' products? How can we effectively brand the product? Can associated products be marketed with the initial product?
  • Price regards the sale price of the product and reflects what consumers are willing to pay for it. Marketing professionals consider costs related to research and development, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution. Basing the product's cost on these figures is known as cost-based pricing. Pricing based primarily on the consumers' perceived quality or value is known as value-based pricing.
  • Place or distribution refers to where the product will be sold. Careful consideration of the type of product sold is useful when determining areas of distribution. Basic consumer products, such as paper goods, are often made readily available in many stores. Premium consumer products are typically made available in select stores. Another consideration is whether to place the product in a physical store, online, or both.  
  • Promotion refers to joint marketing campaigns, called the promotional mix, used to promote the product. Promotional activity includes advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, and public relations (PR). A key consideration should be for the budget assigned to the marketing mix. Other factors include the stage of the product's lifecycle and positioning of the product through promotion. When promoting the product, the marketing professional should carefully construct the message in a useful manner that reaches the target audience. Determination of the best mediums to communicate the message and decisions about the frequency of the communication are also important. 

Consumer-Centric Marketing Mix

A consumer-centric marketing mix method will consist of additional elements. Customer service businesses are fundamentally different than those based primarily on a physical product. Other guidelines are needed to address the company's unique needs. 

  • People refers to the employees who represent the company as they interact with clients or customers.
  • Process is the method or flow of providing service to the clients. Process will include measurement and monitoring of service performance for customer satisfaction.
  • Physical evidence relates to the area or space where company representatives and the customer interact. Considerations include furniture, signage, and layout.
  • Cost or price is the capital required to satisfy a customer's wants or needs and includes the cost to release a new product or service.
  • Consumer wants and needs drive the market for a product or service and are studied by marketers to promote the company's service or product.
  • Communication includes feedback and responses from the customer with the goal of creating an ongoing dialogue.
  • Convenience of place refers to the ease and the method in which the customer interacts with the company.

Traditionally, marketing commences with identifying the consumer's needs and ceases with the delivery and promotion of the final product or service.  Consumer-centric marketing is a cyclical process.  Reassessing the customer's needs, communicating frequently, and developing strategies to build customer loyalty are tasks within the consumer-centric marketing strategy.  This form of marketing has translated into great success for many firms and is increasingly becoming a preferred method of marketing.

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