How To Achieve an Effective Marketing Mix
Delivering an effective marketing strategy is not a one size fits all process. Every business holds differing values, their own goals and their own set of consumers. Therefore, knowing how to effectively approach your marketing strategy to produce optimal results, can be a challenge. Fortunately, there is a model which sets out how to target various areas of your business, known as the marketing mix.
What is a marketing mix?
Mackman defines a marketing mix as ‘a process used to assess and analyse a product or service by method of the 4 Ps.’ It involves exploring specific marketing elements which make up your business plan in order to deliver an efficient and consistent service across the board. By having a marketing mix, you can analyse and establish whether you are meeting customer expectations across a variety of areas. However, as you may infer, you are likely to have a range of customers with differing needs. Fortunately, one of the benefits of a marketing mix is that it helps you deliver a targeted marketing strategy.
How is segmentation related to the marketing mix?
In order to deliver a marketing mix, you may want to divide your market into groups, defined by varying characteristics and needs. As mentioned, a marketing strategy isn’t a one size fits all task. Your consumers are unlikely to all be looking for exactly the same thing, they will all have different expectations and values. Implementing segmentation to drive your marketing mix allows you to satisfy your customer needs to a higher degree.
Segmentation can mean categorising your consumers by simple traits such as age, education, gender and demographics. However, you may want to delve deeper into what their lifestyles are, what their personality traits are, how they interact with your brand, and what values they hold. All of these factors mean you can directly adjust the elements you want to highlight in your marketing to cater for these different segments, for example in your newsletter.
What are the 4 P’s of marketing?
The marketing mix itself is broken up into four core components which are product, price, promotion and place. However, these have since been extended to include people, process and physical evidence.
Products form the core of your business, as you cannot run a business without there being a purpose or service at the centre. A surprisingly common mistake is that some businesses will decide on a product or service to offer, without researching whether there is a demand for it. In reality, this process should operate in reverse by gathering insight on what customers are looking for and developing the service or product from there. This insight phase is crucial in not only forming an understanding of what consumers want now, but also for crafting an idea of what they may want or need in the future. This stage helps mould a sense of what the customers value, which can help your business and strategies develop when moving forwards.
The price comes off the back of the product itself. Ultimately, a consumer will only be willing to pay what they deem worthwhile. This is a key factor to bear in mind, but it doesn't mean you have to slash down the prices of your offerings to be the cheapest on the market. However, having the upper hand over your competitors is something to strive for.
Consider, what do you offer that is different and why should the customer buy from you specifically? This is an opportune time to revisit your mission statement and what constructs the values of your business. It is not solely the product which warrants the value of the price, but the holistic customer experience. If you offer exceptional customer service or use higher quality supplies, these are aspects which may warrant a higher price. However, it is worthwhile noting that the higher the price, the better value for money your customers will expect.
Promotion is where the importance of communication comes into play. Referring back to your mission statement and business values, these will inform your tone of voice to ensure that you are conveying messages that align with your brand. This should extend across all aspects of your communications including PR, social media, customer service and advertising. The goal of promotion is consistency, otherwise, your brand may appear muddled and disconnected across departments.
Promotion often becomes misconstrued as a one way conversation, but to be able to successfully promote, you want to be able to listen too. Customers are far more likely to be receptive to your promotion if you take onboard their feedback and responses. Likewise, this should filter through to the internal workings of your business. Ensure that your staff understand your values and products as this knowledge can be passed onto customers. As for your promotional materials, they should be engaging, unique and also project the values of your brand.
Finally, the place of business refers to where your customers can buy your product or service. This does not just apply to a brick and mortar shopfront, but also to e-commerce websites. The place of business expands out to incorporate factors such as delivery, displays and mobile usability, which are all key for retaining customers.
Although it is an element that on face value, may not seem as important as others, your customers ultimately want to be presented with a physical or digital shopfront that is easy to navigate, clearly labelled and appealing to look at. Cluttered, confusing or in the case of digital not mobile friendly stores are unlikely to encourage your customer to make a purchase. Sticking with e-commerce stores, your customers expect a reliable service, so you should ensure that this diffuses through your delivery offerings too. Providing a well-rounded and consistent service is essential for customer loyalty. Even if your products are of the highest quality, customers may be put off if this does not reflect in your shop’s displays, tidiness or delivery offering.
Considering these key four principles is essential to ensuring that your resulting marketing strategy is consistent across all aspects of the business. Being aware of the 4 Ps is crucial to a successful marketing mix and should be regularly reviewed in order to maintain a dependable strategy and reliable brand image.
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