What is the marketing mix? The marketing mix has an eloquent definition: it is the set of all marketing levers used to meet consumer needs and thus achieve, at least in theory, the pre-established market objectives.
The most widespread approach, at least until a few years ago, for building a winning marketing mix strategy was the 4P model.
What are the 4Ps of marketing?
The 4P model, developed in the 1950s by Professor and marketing consultant Edmund Jerome McCarthy and later theorized and widely disseminated by marketing luminary Philip Kotler, is based on:
- Product, central in a promotion mix strategy and a dynamic element of the marketing mix, as it is modified according to consumer needs, new technological opportunities, necessary differentiations to stand out in the market and many other factors aimed at preventing the product from becoming too obsolete. It therefore becomes the task of those who do marketing mix to continuously evaluate the product’s performance on the market, through quantitative research, in order to verify if there is still interest from the consumer or if it is necessary to change some aspect of the product (and which one)
- Price (or point of sale), binding in marketing activity. In fact, in order to establish what should be the right price for a given product, the company must take into account some internal factors, such as production and purchase costs, and try to predict at the same time the elasticity of the demand curve. And this is where the real difficulty lies: in most cases (and in contexts of high innovation) it is not possible to know the demand curve in advance and therefore it is not possible to determine in advance what should be the most convenient limit at which to set the price.
- Place (distribution), understood as a decision-making lever regarding the actions necessary to make products available to customers, when and where they want to buy them. In this case, however, it is necessary to distinguish commercial distribution (which concerns the decision to be made regarding distribution channels, the number of levels of intermediation between the producer and the consumer) from physical distribution which instead concerns the material transfer of goods from production sites to consumption sites (choice of logistics system, warehouse location, stocks etc.)
- Promotion, not to be understood only as sales promotion as it also includes communicative aspects, i.e. communication promoted by the sales force, advertising, public relations to strengthen brand image and retain customers.
To better clarify the concept of marketing mix, let’s take an example. Who doesn’t know the Ferrero brand? The company has in fact put into practice the 4P marketing mix from the outset with:
- First choice products
- Higher prices than competitors due to the quality of each individual product
- Distribution everywhere, in the sense that it has not limited the distribution of products to a single point but has extended it to wholesale as well as supermarkets, thus reaching more customer segments
- 360° promotion, since the brand uses all promotional channels to sponsor its range of products.
The evolution of marketing: from 4p to 7p and 4c
However, in recent years the 4P model has been opposed by the 7P model. That is, 3 other segments have been added:
- People, the pillar of any company. Just think that anyone who comes into contact with customers can influence their level of satisfaction with the service or product offered
- The process, understood as the evaluation of the efficiency of the entire process that leads to the delivery of the product to the customer and therefore it is necessary to verify that this happens promptly and without technological problems
- The proof, to be understood as the action taken by the customer towards the company. This can be a testimony or a review.
However, the evolution of marketing does not stop here because in 1993 McCarthy’s 4Ps were refuted by scholar Lauterborn, who proposed the 4C model of marketing (consumer, cost, convenience, communication), shifting the focus from the company to the customer.
This transition naturally raised a question: which model should be adopted when doing marketing communication mix? It depends on the company fundamentally. In fact, the 4P model is mostly suitable for small and medium-sized enterprises that offer an undifferentiated product, while the 7P model is a more strategic model useful for companies that want to move from a company-centric perspective to a “customer-centric” one. In both cases, however, it is necessary to first establish a marketing plan.
What is a marketing plan and how to set one up for your company
The marketing plan is the synthesis of the marketing strategy adopted by a company that wants to achieve its business objectives and to do so it implements marketing actions. So the marketing plan is actually used to:
- Have within the company a single document containing the complete picture of what needs to be implemented for the strategy
- Communicate externally, particularly to investors, what the company is doing to grow the business
That’s why these data cannot be missing in any marketing plan:
- Analysis of competitors and SWOT analysis (analysis of the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
- Strategic and operational objectives, after having carried out a careful market research aimed at identifying what the end consumer expects
- Definition of the target to be reached and the budget to be used
- KPIs and scenario analysis, associated with marketing mix strategies
In the online world and therefore of digital identity and digital marketing and sales, the discipline of marketing planning and the adoption of a marketing mix open up to particular declinations and automation technologies (see also marketing automation, martech).
Contact our team of digital marketing specialists and together we will define your company’s marketing mix strategy.