Do you want to improve your marketing strategy? Have you heard about the marketing mix or the 4 Ps, but you are not sure what it is? Well, if so, you’re in the right place. The marketing mix is a set of tools which will help you to develop a very complete marketing strategy.
There are many variables, but in any of them, you must keep in mind that the main thing will be the customer. All the elements will be oriented towards him, and their purpose will be to provoke a specific action, such as the purchase of a product or service. Read on to find out all your doubts about this market concept.
- The marketing mix is a set of variables. It is necessary to take each of them into account and direct them towards the same objective.
- There are different marketing mix models. For this reason, you must choose the one that best suits your business.
- World-known companies, such as Nike and Netflix, are clear examples of the use of this tool.
6 essential concepts for understanding the marketing mix
Here are some concepts and answers that will help you better understand the marketing mix. And we hope that after reading this article you will be able to apply it to your brand.
What is the marketing mix?
To be all on the same page, let’s first define this concept. We say that the marketing mix is a set of tools used by companies in their marketing strategies. As its name suggests, it is a “mix”. So it is made up of more than one variable. And it is necessary to take all these into account in order to rush to the consumer’s needs.
All its component parts are aimed at the same goal: to achieve the company’s market goals. These elements are dynamically integrated and interrelated. And if one of them is modified, it will also influence the rest.
You may be wondering why we haven’t told you what the marketing mix variables are yet. Well, it’s a bit complicated, since there are many theories on the subject and all of them have some modifications. To go deeper into the subject, we can say that the main ones are: product, price, place and promotion. But we will go deeper into this concept later on.
Objectives and usefulness of the marketing mix
As we said before, it is an extremely effective tool to elaborate a complete marketing plan for any company. And with this, achieve the objectives you set for it.
Some of the purposes of the marketing mix are (8):
- Generate an expected behaviour in the consumer. For example, the purchase of a product, or a subscription.
- Achieve the company’s market objective.
- To provoke a positioning in the target market and satisfy their needs.
Define what will be the specific objective of your strategy. And then, direct all the variables that make up this mix towards it.
The “4 P” of the marketing mix
The “4 P” are the main tools of the marketing mix. They are Product, Price, Place and Promotion. However, they are not the only ones; different authors will add other variables. But we will talk about them later.
Now let’s take a closer look at each of these points.
It can be a good, a service, a place, a person or an idea. In short, it is what is actually sold to the consumer. The customer’s needs and expectations must be taken into account in order to satisfy them. And it includes aspects such as appearance, name and packaging.
In short, it is the monetary value of the product that really generates income for the company. It also includes any financing and discounts that may be available. However, in the case of non-profit services, you should look for another reading, such as the effort made by the user to obtain something in return (4).
These are all activities related to where the company places the product on the market. And as a consequence, it can reach the hands of our target customer.
Refers to all communication aimed at persuading the public. It is used to communicate all the benefits of the product to consumers. However, it can only be designed once the three previous points have been defined (4). It includes decisions on how, when and where it will be promoted.
Can we apply the “4 P” to the digital world?
The 4 Ps we mentioned above were formulated in 1971. So it is valid to ask yourself, can they really be applied to today’s world? Since the world is changing faster and faster, a theory that is more than 50 years old might not be useful.
There are those who argue that this tool is totally valid in digital contexts. However, it is advisable to adjust some points to improve its functionality (5).
Below, we leave you with a chart. Where you can see the changes that you will have to take into account to adapt each variable to the digital world.
|Product evolution||Price evolution||Evolution of the marketplace||Evolution of the promotion|
|“All the benefits that the user gets from the exchange” (5). Definition is applicable to the digital world.||“Everything given by the customer to obtain the product, in terms of money, time and effort” (5).||“Everything that is done and necessary to smooth the buying process” (5).||“All information that is transmitted between the parties” (5). It will include interactive issues of digital communication.|
|The virtual product must be taken into account.||The Internet reduces asymmetries and allows real-time comparison of prices.||The physical place will become virtual and intangible.||The Internet and social networks make it possible to target a specific individual, taking into account his or her preferences. Something impossible in traditional media.|
|It can be delivered digitally, such as MP3s, e-books or PDFs.||It reduces the price for users in terms of time and effort.||It will be possible to collect customer-specific data based on their purchases.||It is no longer just about showing a product. It’s about building buying relationships, building customer trust and interacting in a more personal way|
Modern alternatives to the “4 P” of the Marketing Mix
Earlier we talked about the possibility of adapting the 4 Ps to the current market. Contrary to this, there are those who believe that these variables cannot be adapted and must be replaced by others. This is seen mainly in non-profit, service and industrial marketing (8).
Many theories have been proposed to replace the traditional 4 Ps. Here are some of them:
The new “4 P” of the Marketing Mix
It emerged in 2001 and is directly oriented to a more interactive and digital type of marketing (9). Its 4 P’s are: Personalization, Participation, Peer-to-Peer and Modelled Predictions.
- Personalization. Massive and indistinct advertising is a thing of the past. Today, you can take advantage of online tools to analyse the specific behaviours of target customers. This way, you can direct your strategies to them.
- Participation. Now customers can interact directly with the brand. Turn them into followers by creating spaces where they can interact.
- Peer-to-peer. Word of mouth continues to triumph. People still rely more on what someone else tells them than on advertisements. However, now these recommendations are instantaneous and in real-time through social networks. It’s a double-edged sword, so use it very carefully.
- Modelled predictions. Predict the interests and needs of your customers and develop a strategy based on that. Thanks to today’s tools you can get audience data, evaluate their behaviours and understand them.
What about the “7 P” of the marketing mix?
The 7P of marketing is also called the extended or expanded marketing mix. It adds 3 more concepts to the traditional 4 Ps. Thus, the variables that make up this strategy are:
The first 4 concepts we have already explained above. So now we will only define the remaining 3.
People, it indicates all those who work in the organization. The sales team, customer service, the producer, etc. It is necessary to emphasize those who are facing the customers, since any error at that point could frustrate the efforts.
Physical evidence, on the other hand, refers to the way the product is displayed to the customer. This includes the environment in which it is located, delivery points and offices. Likewise, virtual evidence refers to the website and applications.
Finally, the process. This refers to the method and order in which it is carried out. It must be customer-friendly, avoiding frustration and delays when making a purchase.
What if we change the letter? The “4 E’s” of the marketing mix
We change the 4 P’s for the 4 E’s. This model emerged in 2005 (9) and the acronyms refer to:
- Experience. Today, brands no longer offer products, they offer experiences. It is not enough to satisfy needs, it is increasingly important the experience that the use of the product leaves in the customer. And it refers to the entire purchasing process.
- Exchange. The price is not only the monetary value. It should include everything that the user provides in the purchase. The time, the attention, the data they provide.
- Everywhere (Omnipresence). The presence of the brand must be more and more complete and not limited to a single channel. If possible, you should have both an online and offline presence. This will allow you to compete with the numerous companies in the market.
- Evangelism. Seek to create a community loyal to your brand. To defend and recommend your products. The recommendation of an acquaintance can be much more effective than paid advertising.
The SAVE model
This model came to light in 2013. It is formulated as an alternative to the traditional 4 P’s, focused on B2B marketing (9). The tools it provides are:
- Solution. Products do not stand out for their features or functions. They stand out for the solutions they offer and satisfy.
- Access. It is necessary to have a presence on several channels. To accompany the customer throughout the purchase process.
- Value. The price must be defined in relation to the benefits offered by the product.
- Education. Give relevant information to the customer throughout the purchase. Do not leave the informative part only in the hands of advertising.
How to apply the marketing mix?
To apply a marketing mix strategy, you must always keep in mind that the main thing is the customer. So orient everything according to the preferences, desires and needs of your target market. Then, once you choose the marketing mix model you will use, define each of the points based on the user.
Let’s say you choose to work with the traditional 4 Ps.
- First, develop the product. What does your customer need, what are his desires, and what will it look like?
- Once that is done, define the price and along with that the promotions, discounts or financing you will offer.
- Then you continue with the market. Where will you distribute the product, and will you have an online channel?
- And finally, evaluate the promotion, where, when and how will you promote your brand?
Marketing mix examples and success stories
Nike and its products
Nike’s beginnings are geared directly to the specific wants and needs of a niche. Phil Knight, a professional runner, felt that the shoes of the brands at that time were not optimal. For this reason, he decided to start his own business and target those who were looking for similar products.
Today, the brand is among the leading brands in the market. It manufactures products that make them unique in its material and design. And of course, it is an example to follow in all the variables of its marketing mix.
Netflix and promotion
Another huge brand and an example to follow in all that concerns marketing. In terms of promotion, we can talk about a company that is present in all possible channels. And certainly, no one can deny the incredible level of creativity in the same.
If we talk about online, we can easily find it on social networks. In which a community of followers is formed, supporting and defending the brand.
On the other hand, when it comes to offline promotion, it resorts to all possible means. Outdoor advertising ads are complemented by their online networks. In fact, they have even intervened in public buildings by means of light games and constructions in public spaces. For example, for season 4 of Stranger Things.
In summary, with a well-elaborated marketing mix plan, you will be able to carry out concrete and effective actions. Over the years, many companies have made use of this model and have achieved incredible marketing campaigns.
Remember to direct all your efforts precisely to your target market. Know their needs and desires to generate a product that satisfies them. Understand what price they are willing to pay, is there a discount that would incentivize the purchase? Make sure customers can find you in the places where they shop. And finally, make yourself known through advertising.
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