Marketing Mix – What is it and why it’s important for every small business
What exactly is the marketing mix and how do you get yours right?
Getting your own marketing strategy right and applying it daily through good tactics is all about good planning and understanding how your marketing mix is going to work for you.
There are few simple essentials you need to know in order to do this.
The first golden rule to work with is known as The Four Ps of marketing and goes like this –
You need to understand how your pricing will affect your marketing outcomes. Price is much more than simply deciding how much profit you want to make, or how much you think you can get away with charging.
It’s more about the positioning of your offer. We all use price as a marker with which to judge VALUE. And this is where marketing gets really interesting.
Firstly there is almost certainly a price spectrum that exists within your market right now. This will be the price range that your competitors charge for the same or similar products or services.
Of course it could be the case that your offer is completely unique and has no direct competitors. In such a case you’re going to need to do much more work.
When you compare you current or proposed price model how does it compare with the competition? Are you ‘reassuringly expensive’, good value, or bargain basement?
In each case and across this spectrum choosing your Price is about defining the level of value and quality that you’re offering.
As we all know customers very rarely look to buy the cheapest of anything, and very few can afford the most expensive.
Here’s a simple test that you might want to think about trying:
Ask 10 people, not connected with your business, if your price looks expensive, modest or cheap?
Then ask them what they are comparing it with? This is equally as important, as this tells you how they perceive the value that you’re actually offering. Always remember, price is all about VALUE and not simply the direct COST.
The second ‘P’ is all about your Product. This could also describe your service and not just physical products. I prefer to talk about your offer and proposition, which we’ll get on to shortly.
When designing your marketing mix you need to look at how your product is built and put together. This isn’t simple the item in a box, or the material you’re selling, it’s about the way the product is presented and offered.
Just think about it for a moment; how many products do you buy each month, each year, based on how the actual material is offered?
It could be a bottle of wine, a new suit or perhaps a new piece of technology, like a phone, computer or tablet PC.
Certainly in the case of consumer goods (and fast moving consumer goods in particular) the way a product is presented is critical to the success and profitability of it.
But let’s imagine that you’re not selling any material, instead you’re offering a service.
Marketing a service-based offer is much harder than offering an actual product. This is because it’s not the service that the customer is really buying, it’s the outcome and future benefit.
I don’t pay the workshop for the hours of labour for a mechanic to fix my Alfa Romeo; I pay to get back in a car that works, fulfils my needs and keeps me happy. Until the next time it needs repairing!
The best way you can market a service is to ‘productize’ it – sorry for the terrible English!
But this is just it; you need to convert your service into a product that is easy to explain, present and promote the features and benefits of. You need to make it easy for your customer to understand.
Now let’s look at the next ‘P’ in the marketing mix…
Now this is where the vast majority of people, especially new business owners and startup entrepreneurs, spend their time.
It’s easy to get fascinated by all the different ways of getting your message into the marketplace. We might describe these as our marketing channels.
There’s a whole raft of advertising and promotional activities that you can use, which might include:
Online marketing through your website
Direct marketing and mailshots
Social Marketing using facebook, twitter, linkedin, etc.
Advertising in magazines, journals and newspapers
Banner advertising and signage, noticeboards, etc.
Email marketing campaigns
Radio or even TV advertising
SMS or Text marketing
Voucher Offers and VIP Schemes
Public Exhibition and trade shows
It’s easy to get bamboozled by all the different ways you can promote your offers. The main thing is not to get too focused on where you are marketing and what you are doing, to the exclusion of concentrating on WHAT you are marketing.
Remember a good marketing mix uses all of these elements and at heart it’s the quality of your product or offer that makes all the difference.
Here we are talking about the actual distribution of your product. The place that your customers will come to engage with you and find out what you have to offer.
Now of course in times past this was almost certainly either a shop or other retail environment. It could have been a company office, if you sell business-to-business.
Today we have a whole new place to focus on and you’re here right now; the Internet.
In this virtual world we still have a number of places that engage customers in different ways. Your potential customers could find out about you –
- On a website, yours or someone else’s
- On social media, like facebook, twitter or Google+
- On YouTube, which is the second largest search engine after Google
- On a Directory or Public Listing
- On a forum of other similar customers
A good marketing mix will look at all of these (and some others) to fully capitalise on the benefits of digital marketing
We certainly have a mass of new opportunity within the digital space for good marketing reach and the ability to find our audience from far and wide.
In Summary –
These Four P’s are the classic foundations of good marketing mix strategy. However, they are only the start of this. There are several other factors that you should include. Here’s one other to get you started.
PEOPLE – this is something that is constantly overlooked in creating the right marketing mix. You, your team and the people who make up your business are a critical element of your marketing assets and should certainly be included.
If you want to know more about marketing mix please take a look at some more of the free advice and information on this website.
You might also want to take a test drive of Make Marketing Work and get access to a FREE sample chapter today.
Further Resources: McCarthy’s Four Ps on Wiki