The president of the American Marketing Association (Neil Borden) in the year 1953 coined the term, marketing-mix.
The term, marketing mix was coined in order to ease the process of executing marketing plans. The rhyme (Ps) makes it even easier for marketers and business owners to remember the marketing mix which in turn makes its application easier after the marketing plans.
The earlier known elements of the marketing mix were known as 4P`s (products, Price, Promotion, Place). In recent time however, some marketers have expanded the mix to 7P`s (Products, Price, Promotion, Place, Packaging, Positioning and People). So we now have 4P`s of marketing and 7 P`s of marketing.
Let`s go into these one after another.
- Product. As a business owner or marker, you have to make sure you learn how to look at your product or service from the “outside eye”.
You must be able to see your product or service the way an outsider will see it, if not, you cannot have a right assessment of how your market perceive what you`re offering.
To succeed in your marketing effort, you have to offer the right product/service to the right market.
Just as a round peg doesn`t fit the square hole, no matter how good your product/service is, it needs a certain market to flourish.
As part of your marketing strategies, you have to ask yourself some good questions: is this product/service in the right market? Am I trying to sell what I am selling to people who need it (and are willing to pay for it)?
Sometimes the product/service you`re offering is very good, but the market (customers) you`re trying to sell to don`t value it or are not willing to pay the amount you have to sell it to make it profitable. Then, such a product/service is not right for the people.
Then, there is a need for change in your marketing strategy.
- Price. The second element in the marketing mix is price.
Pricing is very important to your marketing effort because how much people buy what you`re selling determines your profit and success as a business person.
Just like the first element, price has to fit the market.
Even if you`re offering the right product to the right market, but at the wrong price, you will still not go far.
Two things are possible. First, you offer price the customers are not willing to pay (or are not able to pay), so they don`t buy or you offer a price too cheap, so you`re not making good profit or you`re not maximizing the market potential.
Sometimes your target market is willing to pay you 500% profit on your product/service. A good example of this is when you`re the leader in the market. Most at times, you`re seeing as “the real man” and the consumers never hesitate to pay you much more than your competitors.
This happens in the case of MTN in Nigeria. They came in and sold Sim at an unimaginably high prices (#20,000 and above) and even till now, most people are paying higher to call on MTN lines and are not complaining.
Some other times (this is likely to be common than the first instance), you have to watch what the competitors are asking on their products/services to determine how much you will charge for your product/service.
The element of price in the marketing mix is advocating for the right price to the right people, so has to get the best out of your marketing plans/strategies.
- Promotion. The third element in the marketing mix is promotion.
The good old days when you have customers searching for your good product/service is gone. In today`s world, if you`re selling a good product, some people (I mean hundreds of people) somewhere might be selling better fashion of what you`re selling.
That`s the reason why promotion is of great importance in every marketing plans and strategies.
Promoting your business is probably the most tedious marketing endeavor for a reason: you don`t know what will work and even when a particular promotional medium is working, it may stop working anytime from tomorrow.
Is T.V advert best for your product? Will radio sell your service better? Will you need Newspaper advert? Should you go for billboards or social media? Will word of mouth be better (though slow)?
You rarely can tell until you try and, you get it, trying requires investment of time and money.
Sometimes you think you know your audience so much that you know where they go and how to market to them, yet, you still won`t really know until you try.
I once decided to focus a marketing effort on Facebook. I thought the audience for the kind of products I’m selling is on Facebook, so I advertised on Facebook and on Facebook alone.
Though I was right when I concluded that my audience is on Facebook, I never considered the fact that most people go to Facebook when they are tired, weak or idle. Their minds want to socialize and they don`t have much space on their brains to pay attention to adverts.
That`s one way a promotion can fail.
The third element on the marketing mix teaches that you have to include in your marketing plan, how to promote your product in the right way to the right people and at the right time.
- Place. Where does your product/service meet the buyers?
Your product/service have to meet the buyers for there to be sales. This means that your product/service must “walk” to where the buyers are or where they go.
Many companies have devised several means of getting their products/services to the hands of their target customers.
Some companies use direct marketing, sending their sales people out to sell directly to the consumers. Some companies sell through telemarketing, catalogs or mail order. Some sell at trade shows or through retailers.
The key word here is that you must brainstorm and include in your marketing strategies, the best way by which you can get your product/service to the hands of your targeting audience.
- Packaging. Human beings always judge books by its cover, though it`s foolish at times to do so.
We all see products we love in few seconds after we come in contact with them and there are other products we really don`t like, just by looking at them.
The difference is packaging.
IBM under the leadership of Thomas J. Watson, sir discovered the importance of packaging to the business success so he restructured the way IBM`s salespeople dress.
He created dress and groom code and made sure that both the products they`re selling and the people selling them were well packaged.
Packaging is all about everything in your company (or business) that customers can see or touch from your products to your salesperson to your office or business environment to just everything, so a deep thought has to be invested on your marketing plan about your business`s packaging.
- Positioning. This is another element in the marketing mix which is very important to your marketing strategies. Your position in the market is the space you cover, how your market perceive you, what they think about your business and products/services.
It`s very important you put a lot of effort into this. Until you create a space in the hearts of your target market, you will be seeing as “just another business” and your products/services as, “just another product/service”.
You don`t want that title, do you?
You want to be known for something, something unique and attractive.
You may want your product to be known as strongest (just as Dangote cement is claiming to be 3x stronger than its competitors) or to be known as most effective (just as MTN claims to cover everywhere).
You may want to cover a space for speed (fastest service) or of a specialist (a female only private school), just have a space you are known with by your market (customers).
- People. The last in the list of marketing mix is people.
This may come last but it controls others. Brain Sher explains in his book (what the rich people know and desperately want to keep secret) explains that the quality of people who are managing and working with a company determines the success or failure of such company.
Companies are not competing with each other`s products, companies are competing with each other`s people.
A business with smarter people will in 100 times win the competing businesses.
Jim Collins in his book (Good to great) says, get the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off the bus if you truly want to have a great company.
When diligently applied, a good marketing strategy that considers all of the above mentioned marketing mix can lead to great business success.