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What Is The Marketing Mix? 7 Key Elements

What is the marketing mix featured image
The right marketing mix is fundamental to all marketing decision making. Image credit: Kaleidico

What is the marketing mix? Well, the goal is simple – delivering the right product to the right customer at the right time, and at the right price. Making that happen is where the marketing mix becomes a keystone for your business.

For example, the best products can sit on the shelves without the right promotion. The best offer won’t work if the product or price is mismatched with customer needs. Bad customer service can drive people away from places they love.

Conversely, when the marketing mix is aligned, amazing things can happen!

As such, your goal is to bring all of these elements of your marketing strategy into line.

To kick things off, let’s take a look at the core elements which make up your marketing mix.

What Are The Elements Of The Marketing Mix?

Marketing experts point to the model developed by E. Jerome McCarthy in his book “Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach.” McCarthy outlines the ‘7 P’s of Marketing’ which companies as diverse as Toyota, Levi’s, Apple, Samsung and others have adopted.

Here are the 7 Ps of marketing:

  1. Product: The design, benefits, and value of the product,
  2. Price: The pricing strategy for the product,
  3. Place: How the product is distributed to the customer,
  4. Promotion: Targeting the customer and persuading them to buy,
  5. People: The people who interface with customers,
  6. Process: The systems and processes to create and deliver the product,
  7. Physical: The physical environment the customer experiences.

This framework allows you to create an overview of all of the elements which make up your marketing mix, without having to drill down into more specific strategies.

Let’s take a look at each of the seven Ps in turn.

Marketing mix infographic
There are seven key elements to the marketing mix. Image credit: SkillsYouNeed

Product

Everything begins and ends with the product. If you don’t have the underlying product right, nothing else really matters. Here, it’s important to understand new product development.

The most successful products have always filled a need, even if consumers didn’t know they had a need! Think about how bottled water has become a staple for so many, when for more than a century what came out of the tap worked just fine.

In other words, your product either has to meet consumer demand, or create this demand from scratch.

Price

Pricing obviously plays a critical role in a product’s success. If your price is too high, you may miss the market. Charge too little and you leave money on the table. In addition, pricing shapes perception.

You’d expect something that cost £1,000 to be better than something that costs £500. But this isn’t always true. In other words, your price has to reflect the quality of your product, in terms of the value it provides for customers.

The sweet spot is finding a price point that creates a reasonable return on investment, while delivering the perceived value for the customer.

Competitive analysis of pricing infographic
Price is a top decision factor for most consumers. Image credit: Skuuudle

Place

Where and how you distribute your product is the next step. By understanding your target market, you can properly position your product for success. These days, this can mean a physical or a digital presence.

Does it need to be available online and, if so, is your website able to handle today’s mobile shoppers? Do you need to have a product in the Amazon store? Do you need retail distribution?

Do people want instant delivery or will they come to you and pick it up. Will it sell itself with advertising or do you need a sales force to go get the business?

Promotion

As the name suggests, this is all about how you promote your product to target customers. Within the Promotion area, there are several examples of marketing mix:

  • Traditional Advertising – TV, Print, Radio, Direct Mail, Billboards, etc.
  • Digital & Social Advertising – Email, Search, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
  • Content MarketingSEO, Native Advertising, Press Releases, etc.
  • Public Relations – Including Earned Media, Customer Outreach, etc.

Experts suggest that a mix of all of these strategies work best. Studies show that a combination of traditional and digital yield the best results because the efforts complement and magnify the strengths of each medium.

Of course, the exact mix of promotion strategies will depend on your business. Specifically, you’ll need to take into account:

  • Your target customers,
  • Your budget,
  • Your staffing and expertise,
  • Your marketing goals.

People

In terms of your marketing mix, you’ll need to factor in the demand from customers, and your human resources to meet this demand. In other words, you need enough people to create your product, and enough people to buy it.

Think of it like this:

  • First, you need to know there are enough people in your target market category to create demand to meet your sales goals.
  • Secondly, knowing what the customer expects and being able to deliver it means having enough staff, and the right people, to meet consumer demand and service after the sale.

With pricing for most items fairly transparent online, it’s often a company’s culture and the way they deal with people that can make a difference in purchase decisions. This can extend to your company’s values and branding.

In recognising the importance of marketing mix, It helps to truly understand your target customer intimately.

Process

Systems and processes drive the whole ecosystem. Quite simply, efficient systems will drive ROI. Processes here can refer to:

  • How you create your product,
  • The logistics behind product creation and bringing this to market,
  • How you promote or market your product,
  • Internal operations and project management.

The smoother and more cost effective all of these processes are, the more profitable your business will be. This is because you’ll reduce the overall cost associated with each sale.

In evolving companies, you have to make sure you have the processes in place to create the products and meet demand. The larger a company becomes, the more difficult it can be as the number of people that touch a product – from creation to end user – grows.

Physical

When you hear the word “Physical,” your first instinct may be to think about the physical place of business. Is it attractive and inviting to customers? If you run a retail business, do you have a pleasant in-store customer experience?

However, that’s just part of the mix. Maybe you don’t even have a physical office to visit.

It’s really about the brand identity you create. It may help to think of this more as “Positioning” than Physical. It’s where you create a connection with a potential customer so that they recognise your brand and place a high value on it.

Here, branding means:

  • Your visual identity,
  • The language you use in your promotional materials,
  • Your company values,
  • Your customer relationships.

In other words, branding is everything from the packaging your product comes in, the way your employees answer the phones or greet people coming into your store, the design of your website, the tone of your social posts, and the advertising you buy.

All of it adds up to your marketing positioning, or the physical identity which contributes to your brand.

Consistent branding stats
Proper branding can have serious business benefits. Image credit: Venngage

What Is The Purpose Of The Marketing Mix?

The purpose is to make sure you hit your core marketing goals: The right product in front of the right person at the right time and at the right price. You can think of this a little bit like a table.

If one leg is the wrong length, the whole thing will end up wobbly.

Similarly, if one element of your marketing mix is off, the whole thing will suffer. If there is a minor problem with one element of your marketing mix, the overall impact may be relatively small.

However, large problems can tank your entire marketing strategy. For example, if you get everything else right but charge too much for your product, you won’t make any sales at all.

If you’ve created the right marketing mix, it’ll be plain sailing from then on..

Summary: Assess, Reassess And Repeat!

Products and companies have a natural cycle of evolution: Growth, Maturity, and Decline. You may need to adjust the marketing mix as each product line evolves.

Making smart decisions at the right time can reinvigorate a category or create a spin-off product that can start the cycle anew.

The best companies continually examine and re-examine their marketing mix. After all, we don’t live in a stationary world. Things are constantly changing and evolving. What worked yesterday may not work today.

New competitors, innovations, and products hit the market regularly.

Top marketers are continuously examining their market mix to make sure it remains relevant. Maintain a critical eye on yours and, by treating the marketing mix as a constantly evolving strategy, the benefits are there for the taking.

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