Marketing mix – what is it and what is it used for?
The marketing mix is one of the elements of any effective and correctly created marketing strategy. But what is the marketing mix, what does it describe and how can it help your organisation? We are in a hurry to provide you with answers!
What is the marketing mix?
The classic concept of marketing mix was born already in the 1940s at Harvard, but appropriately extended and refined it saw the light of day 20 years later in 1960. The full theory was published in his book by marketing professor Edmund J. McCarthy. His idea was revolutionary and revealing, to such an extent that to this day (with some modifications) it allows marketers and businesses to better adapt to customers’ needs and improve their services and products.
The main objective of the marketing mix is, of course, to attract customers – to get them interested in the offer, and even to convince them to make a purchase decision. In order for this to happen, however, the offer must be properly refined in terms of the elements of the marketing mix.
What makes up the marketing mix?
The marketing mix concept is a combination of several factors that influence the purchasing decisions of potential customers. There are currently 7 of these factors, so the exact name of this marketing concept is marketing mix 7P. The letter “P” stands for the individual elements, which begin with this letter:
In the basic version (the one developed in 1960), only the first four elements of the marketing mix were considered, but over the years the concept has been expanded to take into account new market needs. For this reason, the concept is often broken down into marketing mix 4P and marketing mix 7P, but we will discuss the full and extended form of this marketing concept. It is the most up-to-date and adapted to today’s market realities. Moreover, it is actually used in business and really useful when creating a marketing strategy.
What do the individual elements of the 7P marketing mix tell us?
Why is it worth getting to know all the components of the marketing mix in detail? Because they very well describe the external and internal environment directly influencing sales. Analysing the activities of the company or individual products and services will help you discern what is not yet perfected in the offer and where to focus particular attention. After all, a cheap product will not sell if it does not meet customers’ expectations, and a high-quality service will not conquer the market if it cannot be bought anywhere, right?
The product aspect naturally deals with issues related to the product or service offered and describes its functions and characteristics. When considering products, it is important to look at how they meet customer needs and to what extent they are useful to customers. When describing products, it is worth considering whether it is an emerging or exiting product and whether it has characteristics that distinguish it from competing products. Even the attractiveness of the packaging and the emotions the product evokes are worth considering at this point.
In the case of price, both costs and profits associated with the sale of a product/service are analysed. It is now one of the most important factors in the 7P marketing mix because in the age of Internet sales, customers are able to compare prices instantly.
The price of a product should be a reflection of the value the customer receives with it. The price should be compared to competitors’ prices and in terms of value for money. This aspect takes into account both the costs that the customer incurs with the purchase and the own costs involved in selling the product (production, maintenance, delivery, etc.). Under this point of the marketing mix, it is good to look at the discount policy (does it exist, is it worth introducing?) or, perhaps on the contrary, is it advisable to increase the price?
The “place” factor relates primarily to the availability of the product, but also touches on the topic of distribution. A product or service should be considered here in terms of how easy it is to buy, order and deliver. Can the customer find the product easily? Can they buy it easily? Will it be sent to them quickly? These are aspects that absolutely must be taken into account. In the case of physical products, it is good to consider the availability and positioning of the products on the shelves and the distribution network – does it go deep enough and reach where the company would like it to?
The component called promotion refers to all types of advertising and promotional messages. It is sometimes confused with marketing as such, but we are in the process of analysing all aspects of the 7P marketing mix, so you may notice that “promotion” refers only to a certain part of marketing.
This aspect considers elements such as different forms of advertising (traditional and online), merchandising or public relations, which give products and services a certain dynamic and sales direction. Promotion does not only have an informative form, but is supposed to actively attract customers to a particular brand.
This element of the 7P marketing mix concept points to all the human factors involved in sales and distribution. In this aspect we consider the role of salespeople, direct customer service and other employees who come into contact with customers, e.g. suppliers. Competence, knowledge, expertise, personal manners, ability to communicate and solve customer problems are considered. This is a very important factor which can directly influence a quicker purchase decision.
Process refers to the sales flow, starting from the customer’s interest in the brand, through sales and after-sales service. This factor applies to both traditional and online sales.
In the case of an online shop, it could be an examination of the customer’s journey from interest in the product, through the shopping cart, to purchase and subsequent contact with the buyer. With this factor it should be described whether the buying process is easy and pleasant for the customer, whether he or she encounters various barriers and inconveniences on the way, and whether he or she is able to contact customer service freely in case of problems or to send a return.
When it comes to traditional sales, e.g. in a restaurant, the process aspect will analyse the sales process and monitor the degree of customer satisfaction: from finding information about the premises, to the invitation and welcome at the restaurant entrance, to the well set table, the impeccable customer service, etc. For each product and service, the process will be different and determined by the nature of the industry. However, it is worth analysing it, as the process strongly influences the creation of positive feelings towards the brand.
The 7P marketing mix concept concludes with our seventh factor, physical evidence. Although its name is somewhat complicated, it actually covers very basic issues. The elements of physical evidence include various image attributes – everything that the customer can see and perceive on the outside of the organisation. This includes, for example, the appearance of the company’s headquarters, the design of the website, the employees’ clothing, the interior design, the logo or other graphic materials. This is a broad category, which nevertheless influences the coherent perception of the brand. Taking care of material evidence can subconsciously affect the customers’ perception and their feeling of attachment to the brand.
Marketing mix is an essential element of marketing strategy
We have presented all the currently taken into account elements of the marketing mix. However, the market is developing so rapidly that marketing experts are trying to push for further expansion of the concept. The new contenders include: Productivity & Quality and Pleasure, and who knows, maybe in some time they will be included in the concept of the marketing mix.
The 7P marketing mix allows you to take an in-depth look at, or even break down, your products and services. It allows you to identify the elements of sales that are working perfectly, but above all to detect the procedures in which there are shortcomings or which are malfunctioning altogether.
Any marketing strategy that is designed to realistically improve sales performance should include such an analysis – we ourselves believe that it is extremely helpful in developing products and services. We use the marketing mix technique in practically every marketing strategy we implement. We can also prepare such a strategy for your company. Take advantage of a free consultation and we will tell you what we can do for you.