Many business owners regard “marketing” as being just about promoting their business – blasting out some promotional messages and waiting for the result in sales. A strategic approach to marketing understands that your business needs to offer a total package to customers: this is the Marketing Mix. With seven different elements, this framework enables you to take a holistic approach to meeting your customer’s needs, giving them a compelling reason to buy from you.
The Marketing Mix. It’s either a bit of business school jargon – or a useful framework to check you’ve covered all the aspects of your business that your market cares about.
Browse around this web site long enough and you’ll come across the occasional reference to the Marketing Mix – usually in an effort to hammer home the message that marketing is about more than just promoting your business.
Here’s a quick, jargon-free, run-down of what it’s about and why it matters that you make decisions that hang together.
Does what you sell really meet your customers’ needs? Is it fit for purpose in current market conditions or a little behind the times. If you’re trying to sell something people no longer want, you might not be in business very long. “Product” includes services.
Example decision: You need to identify the benefits your customers get from your product; this will feed in directly to the promotional messages you use.
Getting your price right for the market is vital. You need to set your prices profitably and at a level that is acceptable and desirable to the market. This rarely means being as cheap as possible – the decision is likely to be more subtle than that.
Example decision: If you’re selling on quality you need to set prices accordingly; too low and they will not be credible. You’d also want to be choosy about where you set out your stall so you don’t undermine your quality proposition.
Yes, it’s in there. The thing that everyone tells you marketing is – and I tell you it isn’t entirely.
Example decision: Your choice of promotional tools should reflect your pricing – no flimsy leaflets for high value products – and your distribution channels, for example getting your balance of online and offline promotion right.
A bit contrived to begin with a “P”, this means how you distribute what you sell, what sales channels you use.
Example decision: If you sell through other channels you’ll need to build this into your pricing decisions as they will be different to selling directly. Where and how you sell will affect the promotional material you need – is point-of-sale material necessary, for example.
In any business, and in a small business environment particularly, people buy from people. A poor service will send your customers directly to your competitors.
Example decision: Are your people up to speed on the way your product or service works; can they talk to prospective customers about the benefits? Have you equipped them with the right promotional messages and supporting promotional material?
Being easy to do business with it key to keeping customers happy and to keeping happy customers. We all get hacked off with endless button pressing on the phone, customer service staff who can’t answer a simple question because they don’t have access to the right information, and systems that don’t allow any variation even when common sense is crying out for it.
Example decision: Do your systems and processes, and the technology you use to support them, truly back up the kind of claims you make in your promotional messages? Would your customers agree?
One for the service-based business here. If you sell a physical product, it’s easy to demonstrate its qualities – you just let someone see, touch, taste or smell it. A service, by definition, is intangible and can’t be sampled before purchase (even a taster session only gives a taste of what you’ll be charging for). So you need to give some tangible proof of the quality of what you sell.
Example decision: If you’re charging a lot for your service you need to provide good quality coffee and you don’t want people snagging their clothes on your furniture. And you don’t want one of your team plonking that coffee down in a surly manner.
It’s important that these different elements are considered as a package – they all contribute to the customer experience and unless that is right your marketing is wrong.