Why do you need a 'Marketing Mix'?
The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) defines marketing as 'the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably'. A 'marketing mix' specifically is where a business uses a combination of marketing tactics to achieve their set goals or objectives by marketing effectively to their customer groups. Marketing is about where you want to get to, but it's also about analysing what you have now. The marketing mix is made up of '7 Ps' which outline the framework for how to deliver a targeted marketing strategy that works for your business. In this article, we will be looking into why you should be implementing the 7 Ps into your marketing and some real life examples to illustrate their applications in business.
The first of the 7 Ps of marketing is Product. The main aspect to remember here is that impactful products are developed with a target audience in mind, not developed first with the hope that customers flock to it. The last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time and money on creating a product you think will appeal to your audience or fulfil a need, when in reality, they want something completely different. Value is a key consideration with products, and this value is often subjective depending on the consumer.
Keeping your audience in mind is also important to ensure that your product appeals to the needs of specific segments of your customer base. For example, higher quality products may contain environmentally sourced materials, have a lower carbon footprint, or a longer lifespan. These are all important factors you may consider. Successful businesses research what customers need or want and then develop the product to match those requirements.
High quality products allow your business to differentiate itself from competitors, as do products that handmade and versatile. The Classic Brick Company stocks clay bricks in both metric and imperial sizes. Imperial sizes were used in older properties, and due to the modern move towards metric measurements, it can be more difficult for owners of properties constructed from imperial bricks to source the building materials they need for a project. The Classic Brick Company's products therefore ensure that owners of period and prestige properties can 'brick match' their existing building and seamlessly blend their extensions or repairs into their home. The product is simple, yet premium quality, and fulfils a requirement that other brick companies may not offer as part of their standard range.
Marketing needs to be a consideration at every point of a product lifecycle, yet price is a key component of effective marketing, and one that is often overlooked. Consider what your audience will be willing to pay. You need to understand what your customer perceives as good value for money, otherwise they may turn to a competitor. This is especially important if you are in an industry with a range of direct competitors. If customers only bought a product based on price, the cheapest product would win out, so it is often the marketing around mid-range and premium products that convince consumers that it is worth their investment. John Ozimek, director of PR and marketing consultancy Big Ideas Machine, commented in Marketing Week that "Companies that fixate on cost often are in a race to the bottom," so avoid the temptation to discount products that are worth far more in order to compete with others.
Understanding competitors' prices and what your customers deem as good value is crucial in being able to provide a good customer experience, consumer satisfaction, and business revenue. Market Insight is therefore key, and maintaining communication with your customers through regular touchpoints and opportunities for feedback will allow your business to stay up-to-date with customer perceptions.
Aldi’s adverts directly target competitors by highlighting the price differences in their groceries over others. This is spelling out to potential customers why they should choose Aldi over other supermarkets for value shopping. Consumers gravitate towards sales or offers when products are also good quality, so by using direct comparisons, Aldi can emphasise their brand message of everyday savings and 'swapping' to their products instead. This aggressive marketing tactic is high risk, but has paid off for Aldi. However, they do not target higher end competitors such as Marks & Spencer and Waitrose, who are able to position themselves as premium brands with price tags that are justifiable due to their quality.
The place is the physical premises for your business. In an increasingly digital society, it is becoming more common for businesses to be online-only, without a retail space in which customers can browse or speak to staff. This makes the 'shop window' of physical premises even more crucial due to the competition from online retailers - you want your business's location to be convenient and accessible to not only drive sales, but to ensure efficient deliveries. In addition, customers expect the places they visit to offer an experience, so establishing a differentiator or providing an appealing space in which they can interact with your brand is key.
If your business is purely digital, it is even more important to make sure your website is clear and easy to navigate, and that you provide an efficient delivery service.
The razor e-commerce company Harry’s has been growing fast over the last few years. Subscription services are booming in popularity, as they offer deliveries without the hassle of repeat purchases, and can incentivise customers with the sense that they are receiving a gift on a regular basis. A smooth, positive user experience on Harry’s website is therefore vital - the content's messaging is informal, providing a casual user experience for their target demographic of men and women who want a no-nonsense deal. The product naming is also self-explanatory so that first-time and repeat ordering is simple.
Promoting is an essential part of your business's marketing mix as it enables you to put what you do and what you offer in front of consumers. To promote successfully, you must be engaging, interesting to your audience, and be consistent with your messaging. You should also tailor your strategy to your budgets, company objectives, and where your customers are. This is not only time efficient, but can save you money by targeting the right channels and delivering the correct messages. Ultimately, you want to encourage your customers to make a purchase and not give them a reason to go to a competitor by remaining front of mind when customers are considering products or services within your sector.
A notorious example in the marketing world, Innocent promote themselves in a unique, light-hearted and fun way. They market their smoothies by entertaining their followers, whether that's by jumping onto trends or engaging with their audience in informal exchanges in the comment sections on social media. This is effective because it then creates a laid-back and jovial perception of the brand without the impression that customers are being actively 'sold to'. This means that the audience will have a positive association with the brand in addition to their products' environmental and nutritional credentials.
The people in your business are an integral part to the customer experience as they are the face of your products and services. If you have undertrained or unsatisfied staff, they are less likely to provide customers with a high level of service, and will not represent your brand in the best light. In turn, your customers may not be repeat purchasers if they were unhappy with their experience. Therefore, ensuring that your staff are happy in their role and well-trained can lead to a more positive experience for all involved. Gaining buy-in from employees is essential, and regularly measuring your staff satisfaction and providing incentives to be an engaged member of the team can promote a positive working culture that pays dividends when employees feel comfortable and act as brand advocates.
Glossier is a predominantly online skincare and makeup company which demonstrates a great quality of customer service. They go the extra step to make customers feel valued. When receiving customer feedback, Glossier’s customer service team acknowledge and correspond with customers to discuss how they are finding the products. Not only is this good customer service, but the feedback can be vital for helping the company flourish and grow by directly understanding what the customers value.
The process from the customer placing an order right up until they receive it will have an impact on how they perceive your business. Customers expect prompt and informative customer service throughout the path to purchase. Customer journey mapping is key to understanding where the pain points are in this process, and the customer experience is typically made up of the following points:
- Awareness: the consumer encounters the brand through channels, including advertising and word-of-mouth.
- Consideration: the consumer considers whether or not to buy the product or service on offer in order to meet their need.
- Purchase: the consumer makes the purchase.
- Retention: the customer uses the product.
- Advocacy: the customer spreads the word, positive or negative, about the product.
The hotel company The Ritz-Carlton is a good example of how to ensure consumers have a great customer experience throughout the duration of their stay and after. There have been numerous viral stories regarding The Ritz-Carlton’s customer experience. One case details how one guest left his laptop charger in his room as he checked out, and The Ritz-Carlton posted the charger to him with a note and an extra charger. Having a positive customer experience will ensure your customers not only return, but become advocates for your brand.
Physical evidence is important because customers want to know what they are buying and who they are buying from. Appearances are likely to be your customers' first impression of your business so you want to make sure both your physical and digital sites are tidy and well presented, and your customers are well informed on products. These tangible images also directly represent your brand and its values, so you want to make sure you are providing the correct messages for your target audience.
The meditation company Headspace has a distinctive branding style by using animations with a block colour scheme. This creates a positive association with the cheerful branding style and the previews on their social media channels. The brand image this conveys is that of a laid-back, fun and light-hearted company.
To conclude, having a holistic view of your business as well as delving deeper into specific areas for what you want to achieve will help you better your marketing mix. This can set you on track to assess and analyse your strategy to go on to effectively market to your customer groups.