The marketing mix is made up of four unique variables. These four variables are interdependent and need to be planned in conjunction with one another to ensure that the action plans within all four are complimentary and aligned.
Through the use of this set of variables, the company can achieve its marketing targets such as sales, profits, and customer retention and satisfaction.
The marketing mix is a fluid and flexible concept and the focus on any one variable may be increased or decreased given unique marketing conditions and customer requirements.
It is vital to keep an eye on changing trends and requirements, within the company as well as in the market to ensure that the elements in marketing mix stays relevant and updated.
A mature, intelligent and innovative marketing manager needs to be at the helm of the marketing mix. This pivotal role means that this manager is responsible for achieving desired results through the skill manipulation of these variables.
A vital feature of the marketing mix is that the customer is the focal point of the activity. The value of the product is determined by customer perceptions and the goal is to achieve a satisfied and loyal customer.
Intuition and creative thinking are essential job requirements for a marketing manager. But relying on just these can lead to inaccurate assumptions that may not end up delivering results. To ensure a marketing mix that is based in research and combines facts with innovation, a manager should go through the following systematic process:.
The first item on the marketing manager’s agenda should be to define what the product has to offer or its unique selling proposition (USP). Through customer surveys or focus groups, there needs to be an identification of how important this USP is to the consumer and whether they are intrigued by the offering. It needs to be clearly understood what the key features and benefits of the product are and whether they will help ensure sales.
The second step is to understand the consumer. The product can be focused by identifying who will purchase it. All other elements of the marketing mix follow from this understanding. Who is the customer? What do they need? What is the value of the product to them? This
The next step is to understand the competition. The prices and related benefits such as discounts, warranties and special offers need to be assessed. An understanding of the subjective value of the product and a comparison with its actual manufacturing distribution cost will help set a realistic price point.
At this point the marketing manager needs to evaluate placement options to understand where the customer is most likely to make a purchase and what are the costs associated with using this channel. Multiple channels may help target a wider customer base and ensure east of access. On the other hand, if the product serves a niche market then it may make good business sense to concentrate distribution to a specific area or channel. The perceived value of the product is closely tied in with how it is made available.
Based on the audience identified and the price points established, the marketing communication strategy can now be developed. Whatever promotional methods are finalized need to appeal to the intended customers and ensure that the key features and benefits of the product are clearly understood and highlighted.
A step back needs to be taken at this point to see how all the elements identified and planned for relate to each other. All marketing mix variables are interdependent and rely on each other for a strong strategy. Do the proposed selling channels reinforce the perceived value of the product? Is the promotional material in keeping with the distribution channels proposed? The marketing plan can be finalized once it is ensured that all four elements are in harmony and there are no conflicting messages, either implicit or explicit.