What is the marketing mix? From original 4P to their evolution in 7P

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What is the marketing mix? What are 4Ps? Here’s a useful definition: “The marketing mix refers to the actions taken by a company to market its product (s) and / or service (s). Typically, it acts as a framework to break down the four key components of marketing – product, price, location and promotion ”.

For those in marketing, these are the tools, “Levers” that you use for influence and condition customer choices, real or potential.

The advent of digitalization has brought about significant changes not only in marketing, but more broadly in society, consumer behavior and communication. Despite these changes, the 4Ps of marketing mix theory remain valid; in the digital age, McCarthy’s 4Ps are now 7. In this article, we will look at this expanded model and understand its value in a business strategy.

The 4 fundamental Ps of the marketing mix

Let’s see the original first The 4Ps of the marketing mix. The approach, which was proposed by E. Jerome McCarthy, was made popular by Philip Kotler. In this one, the 4 levers: Product, Price, Place and Promotion are used by the company to define the elements of its marketing mix.

For more than 50 years, in fact, companies have used this approach to define the entire marketing strategy, using these elements to influence the decisions and actions of the target audience and discover the market itself, the competitors and their strategies, the factors which then push you to think about the stakes and the potential of your company within it.

What questions does the marketer ask himself when he uses these decisive levers? Knowing what the marketing mix is ​​in itself is not enough to know how to apply it sufficiently; instead, we need to question the task of every single lever. Behind these basic tools lies a complex reasoning. It is not enough to apply them, it is necessary to understand the “why” of their function in order to fully exploit their potential. Let’s start by asking ourselves questions about the 4Ps of the marketing mix offered by McCarthy.

Product

After careful market analysis that helps understand consumer preferences and the characteristics of competitor’s products, the company must analyze the entire product life cycle. The marketer must study how his product is perceived by the potential customer, understand the form that the product must have, the packaging who should contain it, what it should be called and what characteristics it should have.

The questions to ask at this point are basically how and where the customer can use the product, and why it can be rated as different from any existing competitor product:What are consumers looking for when they buy products like ours?

Price

The perception of the quality of the product is influenced by the price. In addition to considering the cost of producing the good in question, you will especially want to try to understand the price potential customers would be willing to pay, that is, the value they would give to the product and the benefits they would derive from its use.

Place

With the third variable, we refer to the choice of the positioning of the product in the sales channel and the supply chain. The aim is to ensure that the product is well distributed and easily accessible to potential customers. Following the market analysis, the marketer knows that when choosing the sales channel, he must first ask where potential customers would go to get the product and what distribution channels competitors are currently using.

How will marketers market the product to the market? Today, the answer to that question is e-commerce. Retailers increasingly favor the integration between the physical and digital environment, where retailers use a “Omnichannel” strategy to meet customer needs. The current scenario is pushing companies to make the consumer’s purchasing experience “liquid”, through the interconnection of all the channels that “touch” on shopping: point of sale, e-commerce site, digital devices, direct email. , social networks, contact centers, etc. . (theinnovationfactory.it).

Promotion

Marketing has three objectives: to inform, to persuade, to memorize. What is the best channel to make the product known to the right target? When is the right time to communicate product characteristics and how? The ultimate goal is to stimulate buying. The main promotional tools are sales, advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing.

The promotion, or rather Communication, is necessary to inform the customer of the benefits he would gain from the purchase, to convince him to try the product and to dispel any misperception of the product, all in order to build loyalty, strengthen the impression and support the various forms of promotion.

The marketing mix goes digital

As technology advances, market dynamics have changed, which means that companies need adapt to the new needs of society. Although the 4Ps, the cornerstones of the marketing mix still hold true in the business process, the digital transformation – in the form of the widespread use of smartphones and the rise of e-commerce – has introduced new aspects related to the ways which customers find and buy. some products .

In the light of these developments, it is important to note an important change in the rules in play: the consumer is no longer passive in his choices, but more selective and demanding, and very active in the search for information on products. and services he intends to purchase. Online advertising leads to a reassessment of the product itself, move from a business-centric perspective to a consumer-centric perspective.

Looking at the product through the eyes of the consumer is to orient the company’s choices towards its needs. Kotler believes that, through a thorough analysis of the 4Ps of the marketing mix from another perspective, it can be assumed that the product is not entirely customer-centric, but rather as a result generated by a company and delivered to the market. The customer is at the center of the analysis, but up to a point. In fact, Kotler believes that the traditional four levers are designed to satisfy the customer, but are still too business-oriented. From this observation follows the evolution of the “4C” model: customer value, change, convenience, communication. In the new model, the focus is shifted from the brand to the customer. In other words, all the actions of the marketing mix revolve around the consumer, and all the sales activities are organized around that. Customer perceptions influence product value, and product sales success depends on achievement Satisfaction and loyalty.

It then becomes necessary to publicize the traditional 4P model of the marketing mix by expanding it with three additional variables offered by Booms and Bitner.

People

An important and often forgotten aspect is the recognition of the human value of the company. It means to remember that it is the people that make up the company, of all the departments, and that their behavior, their management choices, determine the functioning of the company itself. Here it is about the value of people and their involvement in the activities of the company. Making them aware of the quality of their contribution, encouraging their participation is the path that leads to the real and original goal: generate added value for people and humanize the company. Behind the perception of a good product are the people who participated in its creation, and this is an additional audience in which the company will invest.

To treat

Organizing the process optimally helps promote efficiency and affects the way customers perceive the quality of service offered. As the sixth element of the marketing mix, it encompasses all business processes, from the production cycle to the sales funnel. Focusing on the customer’s perception of the business and the product at the highest level means making sure that every part of the process is implemented in the best possible way. If the product or service meets the needs of the market well, but there is a lack of customer attention or an error in delivery, it could impact the perceived value.

Physical proof

Last but not least, the seventh variable in today’s marketing mix is ​​physical proof. It refers to the perception that the end consumer derives from the service provided. Customer appreciation of the product or service received is essential to convey a positive image of the company. In the digital age, people look for evidence in the form of reviews, case studies, and all kinds of feedback before making a purchase. Taking care of this aspect becomes crucial in acquiring new potential customers. In fact, a good review creates positive “word of mouth” between people with similar needs. This evidence helps build strong Brand awareness. Thanks to the feedback, the company can communicate with the customer, implement his suggestions, meet his needs. It also creates a positive perception by the customer in the brand as an attentive and reliable company.

The value of personalization in the 4.0 marketing mix

The 4C theory is, as we saw above, made for the digital age, and here marketers need to focus on two new emerging aspects in the digital economy: content and community.

We live in a connected world, where customers must have quick access to the products and services that interest them thanks to the immediacy of new information channels. This is the principle behind activation through community.

In this new economy, promotion is no longer a one-way street: social networks allow customers to respond to promotional messages from companies and comment on them, create a two-way communication flow and an interactive space for sharing.

By shifting the focus from the business to the customer, the new product development strategy foresees the involvement of customers early in the design process; companies can thus increase the chances of success of new products. Today, this is a very important part of the process. Customers want to feel like they are part of a personalized interaction, ad hoc calibrated, capable of creating a positive link between the customer and the brand of interest. Such an approach makes the difference: you can develop a sense of community and, at the same time, personal recognition.

Now that we have a better understanding of the marketing mix, how it has evolved and who is involved over time, all that remains is to explore the topic of personalization in our business strategy in order to make the most of its potential. and its advantages.


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