Understanding the Marketing Mix

Understanding the Marketing Mix

We have mentioned the ‘Marketing Mix’ in a number of other articles and guides on this site but, unless you’ve received formal marketing tuition, many business owners don’t know what it is or how it should inform your thinking.

Originally (and still to this day if you’re a traditionalist) the marketing mix was created by E. Jerome McCarthy and was essentially a balancing act between the following ‘4 P’s’:

Product, Price, Place, Promotion

… but in more recent years, additional ‘P’s’ have been added to these original 4, bringing us up to 7, and these are also worthy of consideration:

People, Processes, Physical Evidence

On further research, you can now find websites promoting up to 15 different ‘P’s’ but, frankly, this is getting out of hand! Here’s a quick, whistle-stop tour of the official 7 P’s that we think you should be aware of:

Marketing Mix: Product

This refers to the product or service that you are offering your customers. Typical elements for consideration here include:

  • The features (and more importantly the benefits) of the product.
  • The quality and consistency of the product.
  • The number of products, product groups, product ranges, etc.
  • The product life-cycle including research & development, design, etc.
  • Product guarantees, warranties, returns processes, etc.
  • Further services or products that associate with the original one – this can include service contracts, upsells, cross-sells, etc.
  • The presentation of the product, its design, branding and packaging.

Marketing Mix: Price

In simplistic terms, the price is self-evident. Its the price you charge the customer for the product or service … but actually, this section includes additional elements such as:

  • Pricing strategy – discounts, deals, offers and an awareness of your market position and the price you can demand.
  • Selling through distributors or sales agents. Having an understanding of their pricing needs.
  • What options are you providing your customers to pay for the product or service?
  • The understanding of ‘value’ as something different to price. In other words, a customer’s perception of value can allow you to charge more for something – think Stella Artois – reassuringly expensive!

Marketing Mix: Place

This element of the marketing mix refers to making it practical for your customer to purchase your product or service. Clearly, with a physical retail shop, you will focus on the building itself, but there are many wider implications too:

  • Enabling convenience to the customer – if you have an online shop, does it really allow the customer to get a feel for things, is it easy to make a purchase, etc.
  • What are the transportation implications?
  • What geographic market are you aiming for – for instance, the Yorkshire Powerhouse isn’t likely to do so well in Cornwall!
  • Understanding where your customers will see you, your product or your service. This is closely linked to promotion (below) – will you physically network, attend exhibitions, visit clients in their homes, invite customers to your office / showroom / shop, etc.

Marketing Mix: Promotion

This is the element of the mix where you focus on the communication between you and the customer:

  • The communications channels you will use – print advertising, social media, pay-per-click, networking, search engine optimisation, radio advertising, exhibitions, signage, etc.
  • The actual message you wish to communicate – what will resonate with the client
  • The activity needed, how often you will be emailing, blogging, posting, networking, etc.

Marketing Mix: People

Normally an integral part of the perception a customer builds of you will be based on their interactions with you and your team … but also be aware in the modern, connected world. Customers can now ‘talk’ to other customers with online reviews, testimonials, recommendations, etc. Other thoughts include:

  • Recruitment, training and ongoing development of your staff.
  • The standards you want your people to present – their language, their attitudes, their dress code.
  • The methods of dealing with customer service, feedback, compliments, etc.
  • The need to manage social interactions, especially with social media these days.

Marketing Mix: Processes

This area focuses on the ‘flow’ of a business … the mechanisms by which the products or services are delivered:

  • Planning, flowcharting and sharing all processes to ensure consistency and standards are achieved and maintained.
  • Tracking and monitoring the performance of your processes.
  • Measurement of key performance indicators (see our article on marketing metrics).
  • The planning, writing, training and observance of an operations manual.

Marketing Mix: Physical Evidence

This is the area where you look at the physical places customers interact with you when buying your products or using your services.

  • The tangible elements that are part of the delivery of your product or service – the furniture, signage, equipment, etc.
  • Spatial layout considerations would include the efficiency and functionality of the space.
  • The design of the space, exterior signs, interior design, colour schemes, and continuation of branding.
  • The physical conditions such as room temperature, background noise, etc.
  • The physical design of your marketing materials – brochures, leaflets, business stationery, website, etc.

The marketing mix provides a structure to approach your overall marketing strategy – and it reminds you to focus on the needs of the client. It is clearly invaluable to have clarity on all the ‘P’s of the mix and how they impact your business and your customer.

The marketing mix is a valuable prompt to help you focus on your customers – review yours with an expert to get an unblinkered view of your business.

Blunt thinking on the marketing mix from Yorkshire Powerhouse

Have you any questions?

Here at Yorkshire Powerhouse, we’re happy to help as much as possible – is there anything else we can do to help you, do you have any further questions or can we help introduce you to an expert – please let us know:

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