Elements of Marketing Mix

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Everything you need to know about the elements of marketing mix. Marketing Mix is the set of marketing tools that the firm uses to pursue its marketing objectives in the target market.

Marketing is the business function that identifies a customer’s needs, and wants, determines the target markets which the organization can serve best, and designs appropriate products, services and programmes to serve these markets.

Marketing requires everyone in the organization to ‘think customer’, and to do all they can to help create, and deliver superior customer value, and satisfaction. Target consumers are at the centre of all marketing efforts.

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The elements of marketing mix are:- 1. Products and Services 2. Pricing 3. Distribution 4. Promotion 5. Packaging 6. Place of Purchase.


Elements of Marketing Mix – Products and Services, Pricing, Distribution, Promotion, Customer Benefit  and a Few Others

Elements of Marketing Mix – 4 Popular Elements: Product and Services, Pricing, Distribution and Promotion

Professor Jerome McCarthy (1996) in early 1960s proposed a marketing mix consisting of four Ps—product, price, place, and promotion. The four As from the customer point of view include acceptability (in terms of customer value), affordable price (in terms of cost to the customer), available and accessible (in terms of convenience) products and services, and awareness about the product among the customer (in terms of communication of benefits, etc.).

They may be construed also as the four Cs, that is, customer value, cost, convenience, and communication. The four P framework is a convenient marketing mix.

Element # 1. Products and Services:

The basis of any business is a product or service. However, the customer’s perception of a good or a service is complex. The product may be perceived through the layers of tangibles (features, benefits, or packaging) or intangibles (emotional involvement, brand image, or advertisement aesthetics). The product-service hybrid may also be conceptualized as the core product.

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The tangible product indicates design, colour, styling, packaging, etc. or any other physical dimension that provides benefits to the customers. The intangibles comprise provisions of warranty, service, company image, and psychological benefits conveyed by the product. For existing products the starting point for formulating the product strategy is the product audit that seeks to answer certain questions.

Before promoting a product, a company should consider its target market, the benefits that customers are seeking, whether the product will be able to fulfill these customer needs, and its position among the competitor’s products. A company may aim to make the product offering different and better in some way that will cause the target market to favour it and even pay a price premium.

However, products differ in the degree to which they can be differentiated. According to Prof Theodore Levitt (1969), even commodities and services can be differentiated in real or psychological terms. Product marketeers understand that the challenge is to create a relevant and distinctive differentiation.

Element # 2. Pricing:

Setting a price for any product or service is a very important aspect of marketing mix. It singularly produces revenue while all other elements create costs. Firms try to differentiate their products from the competition so that they may command higher prices in the market.

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However, they have to consider the price elasticity of demand for their product, for the volumes are important for maximization of profits. Companies try to estimate the impact of a higher price on their profits.

According to Marn and Rosiello (1992), an estimate of the impact of one per cent price increase on the profits of some multinational companies, for example, will lead to an increase in profit of twenty eight per cent for Philips, seventeen per cent for Nestle, and six per cent for Coca-Cola respectively. This illustrates the importance of accurately determining this element of the marketing mix.

Companies may practice either value-based pricing strategy or cost-based pricing strategy. In value-based pricing the companies estimate the most that the buyer would pay for the offering. They then charge slightly less than that to leave a consumer with some surplus.

The seller, in order to generate profits has to keep costs less than the value price. Many companies add a ‘mark-up’ to their estimated costs, which is known as cost-based pricing. It assumes that the companies can estimate their costs with some degree of accuracy and then add a factor, which will cover the uncertainties and leave the desired profit.

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There is a difference between the list price and the realized price. A buyer may receive a discount, a rebate, a gift, or a free service as a result of customer incentives. Companies may not realize that these practices may result in unprofitability unless they have an accounting system such as activity-based costing in place.

Smart marketers will often bundle their product with additional benefits and then price the total offering at different price differentials for customers to have an opportunity to make a choice. Some companies will create a range of products or a product line at different prices to create a safety net for migrating customers who may be otherwise attracted to competitors’ lower priced offerings.

Companies will also try to motivate customers to buy the whole range of products by pricing it less than the sum of separate prices.

Pricing new products offers a different set of challenges. In general, two main opposing strategies may be observed—skimming, that is, keeping the price high to skim-off the short-term profit and penetration, that is, keeping the price high to maximize long-term market share. Prices may also be set at levels that are perceived to be psychologically appropriate. For example, Rs. 299.95 may be perceived as substantially lower than Rs. 300.00.

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In the industrial goods market, prices are often negotiated or offered as per different options. Prices are also used as an indicator of quality or for elevating the status of the product. Organizations may resort to price competition for several reasons but such a price war has its own drawbacks, as it can give the company a bad image and only a temporary advantage, thus leading to losses.

Element # 3. Distribution:

Broadly speaking, there are two choices available to companies to make their goods available to the target segment. One, is to sell goods directly and the other, to sell through intermediaries. Before a product reaches the end consumer, it must frequently go through a chain of intermediaries, each one passing the product down to the next organization.

This process is known as the distribution chain or channel. Distribution channels include retailers, wholesalers, and agents, or direct distribution through a sales force or mail order.

Distribution channels have a number of levels ranging from zero, where the contact between the manufacturer and the end user is direct without any role for any intermediaries to many levels in elaborate distribution systems. In the recent years, rapid changes in technology have influenced distribution channels.

Technology has led to innovations in the field of distribution, thus, increasing the competition between the different channels of distribution, as well as between partners within a distribution channel. A fast-paced lifestyle, with little time for shopping, has led to a trend in home shopping.

Stores that charge higher prices, but provide poor service and dull environment will lose the battle to creative retailers who are enhancing the shopping experience by adding fun, entertainment, and games to attract customers. Channel members would need to add value to the distribution process or else be eliminated.

Today’s customers have an option to order many products through a number of channels such as catalogues, direct mail, home shopping programmes on TV, offers on newspapers and radio, telemarketing calls to the home, and web-based orders.

Element # 4. Promotion:

Marketing mix also concerns the communication tools that can deliver the message to the target audience.

The tools can be classified under five broad categories as explained below:

i. Advertising:

The seller may promote the product through print and broadcast ads, packaging inserts, brochures, posters, leaflets, directories, billboards, display signs, point-of-purchase displays, audio-visual material, symbols and logos, videotapes, motion pictures, etc. Advertising is the most potent tool for building brand awareness, comprehension, changing attitudes towards a brand, and building brand image.

Advertising is most effective when it is narrowly targeted. It involves making decisions on the five Ms—mission, message, media, money, and measurement. The first task is to decide upon the objectives or mission of a particular ad campaign. Is it to inform, persuade, or remind target customers?

The content is shaped by the characteristics of the brand’s intended target market and the value proposition. The challenge is to creatively present the value proposition by employing a power idea and professional execution. The message decision interacts with the media decision.

For example, if the product features are to be communicated to the target audience through comparative advertising then the print media is a better choice due to its imperishability. If the message has the objective of changing or creating brand image of a particular type, then television is a better media choice because of its unlimited possibilities of incorporating sound, movement, contrast, colour, etc. in advertising communication.

Various media such as, newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, billboards, direct mail, or telephone are considered depending upon their characteristics, advantages and disadvantages, and harmony with the advertising strategy. The advertising budget is decided on criteria such as competitive parity, affordability, objectives, and task basis.

Decisions about a particular media vehicle is then taken on factors such as audience profile, reach, impact, cost per millennium, and editorial quality. Finally, the company may measure some variables such as ad recall, brand comprehension, brand preference, and attitude towards the brand to determine the effectiveness of their advertising expenditures.

ii. Sales Promotion:

Advertising tries to influence the customer’s mind while sales promotion tries to influence customer behaviour. When a customer is motivated to purchase an item for a gift, a prize, or an offer of two for the price of one, it generates sales in the short run. However, these strategies may not work in the long run.

They may not augur well, especially for the brand’s equity or customer loyalty if the sales promotion offers are withdrawn. In contrast, a good percentage is spent on trade promotion as incentives to the channel partners to push the product. Sales promotion is warranted when the company has a superior brand but low visibility.

Then sales promotion will help the customer base to grow. However, most sales promotion brings in switchers and deal-prone customers. Companies have to trade­off advertising budget expenditure (pull strategy) with sales promotion expenditure (push strategy).

iii. Public Relations:

Philip Kotler (1999) devised an acronym PENCILS for the seven tools of public relations (PR):

(a) Publications – It includes company magazines, annual reports, helpful customer brochures, etc.

(b) Events – The company can gain visibility by sponsoring sports or art or trade shows, etc.

(c) News – A business can promote itself by publishing favourable stories about the company, its people, products, and practices in newspapers and magazines. For example, Reliance India Ltd has obtained positive media coverage about its ventures.

(d) Community involvement activities – It refers to contributing time and money to local community needs, etc.

(e) Identity media – It includes stationery, business cards, corporate dress codes, etc.

(f) Lobbying activity – It involves efforts to influence favourable or dissuade unfavourable legislation and rulings.

(g) Social responsibility activities – It involves building a good reputation for corporate social responsibility, etc.

Investing in PR helps in building and promoting a positive image of the company to the target market and the various stakeholders of the business. Unlike advertising in which the sponsor is identified, a PR effort has high source credibility, as it is not perceived to be self-serving. In certain industries, particularly high-tech, the opinion of influential leaders carry more weight than high blitz advertising.

iv. Sales Force:

It is a communication tool that is more effective than a series of ads or direct mail. These set of individuals strive to make direct contact with the customers, not only convincing them to buy the product but also assuring them about its quality.

The human element in this promotional element makes all the difference when there is little differentiation between products or when the product or service is more complex in nature.

As the sales force and buyers become more comfortable with electronic commerce, sales travel costs will go down. The customer saves time, and the selling company saves considerable time and money by turning its sales force into competent tele-marketeers.

When one considers that the average sales person is with customers only 30 per cent of the time and spends the remainder learning about the products and selling techniques, filling out reports, attending sales meetings, traveling, and so on, it becomes clear that this resource should be managed carefully.

Another approach would be to sell through the distributors. Distributors have their own sales force and normally represent several non-competing suppliers. However, as the company’s business grows, it becomes increasingly dissatisfied with the distributor’s sales coverage, effort, or cost, and hires its own set of sales personnel.

Managing the sales force involves complex issues in recruiting, selecting, hiring, and training, motivating, compensating, and evaluating sales people. Companies are increasingly organizing their sales teams by vertical markets because in this way the sales personnel learn more about customer needs within an industry and are in a better position to make useful suggestions.

Some companies are setting up key account management systems on the premise that a few customers account for a large share of their sales and profits.

v. Direct Marketing:

Fragmentation of media and exponential increase in the number of media vehicle options with a specific audience profile has made it possible to deliver ads and editorial material to a specific customer group. Marketing, based on available sources of customer data, can be used to detect various customer groupings or clusters which will respond in a similar way to unique marketing stimuli.

In database marketing, a data warehouse comprising a huge customer database is operated upon by data mining tools, which are advanced statistical and mathematical tools, to yield market targets that have a high response rate. The companies collect and scan their database regularly to unearth marketing opportunities and then communicate with the prospective customers through direct marketing.

Companies now realize that an integrated marketing communications approach calls for recognizing all contact points where the customer may encounter the company, its products, and its brands and then strive to deliver a consistent and positive message at all these contact points. All the promotional tools, thus, need to be integrated to communicate a clear value proposition in the most effective manner.


Elements of Marketing Mix – 4 P’s of Marketing: Product, Price, Place and Promotion

Marketing Mix is the set of marketing tools that the firm uses to pursue its marketing objectives in the target market.

In other words, once you have identified your target market, the next step is to create the marketing mix, which is a set of four elements, also known as 4 P’s of marketing:

a) Product

b) Price

c) Place (Distribution)

d) Promotion.

The marketer have a lot of control over the elements in marketing mix, but he has very little control over the environment in which he operates because of the amount of influence these external forces have, marketers think about the marketing mix in the context of their overall business environment.

The Marketing Mix:

i. Product – Products are integral to the exchange process without them, there is no marketing. Product is actually a “bundle of value” that meets customers’ expectations.

ii. Price – It is the value, usually in monetary terms that sellers ask for in exchange for the products they are offering.

iii. Place / Distribution – It is the process of moving products from the producer to the consumer, which may involve several steps and participation of multiple companies.

iv. Promotion – It includes a variety of techniques, including advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and personal selling, that are used to communicate with customers and potential consumers.


Elements of Marketing Mix – McCarthy’s Classification: Product, Price, Place and Promotion

A more recent marketing mix classification, proposed by Robert Lauterborn focuses on customer’s point of view and includes:

(1) Customer Benefit,

(2) Customer Cost,

(3) Customer Convenience, and

(4) Communication.

Lauterborn’s view is that 4Ps correspond to customer’s 4Cs.

McCarthy’s Classification (4Ps) Lauterborn’s Classification (4Cs):

1. Product Customer Benefit

2. Promotion at Communication

3. Place (distribution) Customer Convenience

4. Price Customer Cost

Element # 1. Product:

Physical products or services are those which are offered by marketers that can satisfy customer’s needs and wants. It is the basis of exchange in market between buyers and sellers.

According to Philip Kotler, “A product is anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use, or consumption that might satisfy a need or want.” To sum total the definition a product is the physical and psychological satisfaction it provides to the buyer. Product is directly related to satisfying customer needs and wants in the target market.

Element # 2. Price:

Price is what customers pay to get the product. It is the value of product decided by manufactures based on the cost incurred and profit wanted by the manufacturer. It is not always obvious that manufacturers, fixed price is the final price of the product. If the manufacturer uses distributors, wholesalers and retailers to reach to final customers, then the price varies.

Element # 3. Place:

It is the venue where exchange takes place. Place or distribution stands for the matching arrangement for the smooth flow of goods and services from the producers to the consumers. It is concerned with the creation of place, time and possession of utilities.

Element # 4. Promotion:

It is an activity to inform the customers about the product and to pursue them to buy it. Tools such as advertisement, sales promotion attract customers to walk-in and make purchases. Promotion not only helps the product movement but also helps in brand building. Manufacturers’ initiative to promote the product also helps distributors and retailers in sales.

The marketing mix constitutes the company’s tactical tool kit for establishing strong positioning in target markets. An effective marketing programme blends the marketing mix elements into a co-ordinate programme designed to achieve the company’s marketing objectives. To survive and rule the market the company has to see that all 4 p’s are satisfying customer’s need and his affordability.

As the service industry began to evolve and dominate most of the world economy, marketers added three more P’s which are described below:

i. People:

People is one of the elements of service marketing mix. People define a service. If you have an educational institute, your lecturers and professors define you. If you have a T.V channel, your host, V.J’s define you. When it comes to service marketing, consumers can actually build an organization or just kill an organization.

As a result of this, most companies pay a lot of attention to getting their staff trained in the art of interpersonal skills and serving the customer with the end objective being utmost customer satisfaction. In fact, many companies work towards and proudly showcase their accreditation to show that their staff are better trained and are of higher standards when it comes to serving the customer than the rest.

ii. Process:

Service process is the way in which a service is delivered to the end customer. Thus, it must be noted that the method or the process followed by a service company or to say the process of a service company in delivering its product or service is of prime importance. Since the nature of the process is very important- it is critical to establish or define how the company is going to go about delivering this service and reach the customer.

For example, Dominos promises that they can deliver pizzas in 30 minutes or else the pizza it will be delivered free of cost to the customer. This confidence comes from the fast and well-designed process they have in making pizza’s.

iii. Physical Evidence:

Services are intangible in nature, so, it becomes very vital to have tangible elements to create a better customer experience. For example, in movie theaters, the comfortable chairs, the surrounding sound are systems tangible components, which makes the experience more enjoyable.

In many cases, the differentiator between services is showcases in a physical manner, like in the case of a private hospital and a government hospital. A private hospital has plush interiors and well-dressed staff. The same is often not seen in case of government hospital.

This is the service marketing mix (7p). Which is also known as the extended marketing mix.


Elements of Marketing Mix – 5 Ps of Marketing: Product or Service, Price, Packaging, Promotion and Place of Purchase

Successful marketing of a product or service involves an appropriate combination of five main factors.

This combination is called the marketing mix and is based on the “5 Ps” of:

1. Product or service,

2. Price,

3. Packaging,

4. Promotion and

5. Place of purchase.

1. Products:

A product can be either a physical entity or a service. The main difference is that ownership of a physical entity changes hands when a product is pur­chased. When a service is purchased ownership is not transferred. From a marketing viewpoint, the most important feature of either is the benefit it bestows upon the customer.

An engineer, a technologist, a production manager and a design specialist may eulogise about the product’s features, its technical sophistication or its aesthetic appeal. However, these are only important if the consumer believes that they confer some benefit. The ben­efits may be a saving in time, the ability to perform a previously impossible task, a feeling of well-being and attractiveness or an increase in status. In other words a product or service must solve or ease a problem for the consumer.

For example, consumers do not buy com­puters because they can add up numbers quickly or because they are an example of high technology. They buy computers because the machines solve problems such as communi­cating with others, keeping accounts or storing information. If a product or service confers benefits its competitors do not, the product has a “unique selling-point” that may increase sales.

Consumers frequently judge products on the basis of their quality – a freedom from imperfections and an implication of exclusivity or “class”. Marketeers imply quality when they offer “fine wines”, “prime beef”, “select cheeses”, “high-calibre education” and so on. Generally products must also offer durability – the ability to function satisfactorily for an acceptable time. However, there is a range of products (razors, pens, cameras, gloves, live entertainment, etc.) where durability is not expected.

A product’s brand is an important feature. The marketing functions of organisations give their brand close attention. Brands started when farmers would burn distinctive marks into the flesh of their cattle so that they could be identified easily should they stray or be stolen.

Farmers who produced good cattle were particularly keen on branding because their brand would be recognised at a market and their cattle would command a higher price. In early days of mass production good producers of products such as soap would mark their bars of soap with a distinctive mark so that consumers would know they were buying a better product.

As the brands of soap became better known, manufacturers took steps to ensure other people could not use the same mark. They also began to promote brands via adver­tising that made them instantly recognisable and invoke positive associations in consumer’s minds. Kellogg’s, for example, developed a brand which is associated with freshness, sun­shine and vitality.

Today, most major products carry brands, some of which are so well-known that they are very valuable. Some of the most famous brands in the USA include Coca-Cola, Ford, McDonald’s, Microsoft and GAP. Other world-famous brands include BP, Cadbury, IKEA, Mercedes, Myer, Nintendo, Qantas, Rip Curl and Toyota.

The major advantage of brands is that they add additional benefits to a product. A classic experiment by Penny, Hunt and Twyman as long ago as 1974 neatly demonstrates the point. They asked consumers who normally used brand B to try two products without knowing their brand. A majority (61 per cent) preferred brand A while 39 per cent preferred brand B. Another group also tried the same two products. For this group the brands were known. 35 per cent were found to prefer brand A while 65 per cent preferred brand B.

A brand may be defined as:

“A symbolic construct created by a marketer to represent a collection of information about a product or group of products. This symbolic construct typically consist of a name, identifying mark, logo, visual images or symbols or mental concepts which distinguish the product or service”.

A brand has connotations of a product’s “promise” and differences from its competitors. A brand may attempt to give a product and a “personality”. To be suc­cessful, a brand must have several characteristics.

These include:

(a) Simple, clear messages- A campaigning message or one which seems to go against the “Establishment” (e.g. the themes of the Bennetton and FCUK branding) are often a “cheap” way to success.

(b) Projections of credibility – so claims are believed.

(c) Motivation of customers which increases the enjoyment of purchasing products with the brand. This makes it more likely that purchases will actually take place.

(d) Creation of strong user loyalty- This is, perhaps, the most important aspect of branding.

Once a brand has been established, it can be extended to other products. This reduces the cost of a new project gaining a place in the market. However, the extension to weak or inappropriate new products can cause significant damage to the initial brand image.

2. Price:

As a very broad generalisation, a marketing function will set the price of its goods at a low level but slightly above its costs so that it will sell many items, reap the economies of scale and deter competitors from entering the market.

Exceptions to this rule are almost as many as its adherents. The ability and willingness of consumers to pay for a product is important. It is pointless marketing a product or service at a price beyond the means of customers – unless the producer is willing to subsidise its manufacture for strategic reasons. The variation in supermarket and petrol prices from region to region or town to town is a clear example on how the ability of the consumer to pay influences prices- in affluent areas prices are usually higher than in poorer areas.

Luxury goods are a classic example where people are willing to pay substantially more than the production costs. The price of diamonds, for example, has, for over a century, been main­tained at an artificially high level. Superb branding (a diamond is forever) and a superb cartel (DeBeers) meant that the price of diamonds could be controlled so that the very affluent and starry-eyed people would pay very high prices.

The sales of some products respond very quickly to changes in price while the sales of other products change very little if the price increases or decreases (this is called price sensitivity or elasticity of demand). The price of vegetables such as broccoli is very price sensitive because people will switch to another vegetable such as cauliflower if there is even a small price increase.

On the other hand, many medicines are price insensitive since people will cut back on other purchases in order to have money to buy medicines that save their lives. If a product or service has an inelastic demand, the marketing function of an organisation can engage in price-skimming – supplying only the upper fraction (those who can afford high prices) of the market. They can charge very high prices which quickly recover development and production costs. Price-skimming enables an organisation to build a considerable surplus so that, should a competitor enter the market they can afford to engage in predatory pricing.

Branding can also raise a product’s price significantly. Classic examples are the pharma­ceutical industry where branded, well-advertised products supported by an excellent sales force can cost several times more than an equally effective generic medication. For example, the branded drug Valium, which benefited from the usual periods of exclusivity provided by patents, is used to treat anxiety. It costs more than the equally effective generic drug Diazepam. However, the generic drug Diazepam does not have to bear the marketing, sales and advertising costs incurred by the branded version.

The price of products is heavily influenced by marketing strategy. For example, new products, such as plasma screen TVs, are introduced at a very high price to establish an aspirational position at the top of the market. This confers prestige that will help sustain a higher price among naive and impressionable consumers.

The price of a product or service may be concealed. For example, people can visit many tourist attractions such as museums, parks or educational “lectures” without any fee. However, someone – somewhere – will be paying higher taxes to sustain their enjoyment. In fact, a marketing function’s dream is to separate the consumer from the person or organ­isation that pays for his or her consumption.

3. Packaging:

Often packaging is not considered as a separate aspect of the marketing mix and it is usually subsumed under the heading of “promotion”. It is described separately here because, in practice, the marketing function of most organisations will pay considerable attention to the way that their goods are packaged. Indeed, an item’s packaging can make a very substan­tial difference to its sales. An item whose packaging is poor is less likely to be selected from among its competitors on a supermarket shelf.

Packaging has the important functional value of ensuring that the product is delivered to the customer in prime condition. However, pack­aging can also be used to increase the perceived benefit to the consumer. For example, many items are packaged in an oversized box in an attempt to make the customer believe that the product is bigger than its actual size. Similarly, some products such as jewellery and watches, are packaged in grossly expensive cases made of embossed leather and silk in order to enhance the perceived value of their contents.

In general, an organisation’s marketing function will try to ensure that the packaging of its products:

(a) Is distinctive from that used by its competitors.

(b) Uses colours appropriate to the product’s benefits. For example, the packaging of a valuable item is likely to be coloured in gold and silver while the packaging of a fun item is likely to be coloured in vivid reds, oranges and yellows.

(c) Displays the brand name in a prominent position.

(d) Contains a flattering picture of the product where happy people (or sometimes, animals) clearly enjoy the benefits of a purchase.

4. Promotion:

Promotion is also called “marketing communications”.

It may be defined as:

“Any type of persuasive communication between the marketing function and one or more of its present customers, potential customers or stakeholder groups which aims, directly or indirectly, to increase the likelihood that time, product or service will be purchased”.

This definition has four important components. First, it emphasises that the central concept of promotion as a persuasive communication. Second, the aim of communication is to increase purchases. Third, the communications are directed at a target that is wider than the organisation’s present customers. Finally, some communications may be closely linked to the sales process in the short term whilst other communications may be designed to have an indirect, longer-term effect. This definition also covers a wide range of activities which include public relations, internal marketing, advertising and personal selling.

Public Relations:

Public relations is also known as “Perception Management” and its critics such as Chomsky (2002) have called it “Manufacturing Consent”, “Media Control” and “Spin”.

It may be defined as:

“A part of the promotional mix that communicates with stakeholders, the media and the public in general in order to achieve broadly, favourable and a m supportive attitudes towards a product, organisation or cause”.

A shorter and less technical definition for public relations might be “the management of an organisation’s image”. Both definitions emphasise that public relations is a general activity and is only loosely tied to the sale of a specific product. It aims to obtain a generally favourable attitude so that subsequent, more specific communications are likely to succeed. Often, an organisation’s marketing function will employ specialist public relations consult­ants to maintain its image.

Public relations experts use six main methods:

i. Press conferences are public or quasi-public events where speakers provide infor­mation on newsworthy items. Usually they are attended by selected journalists and TV reporters.

ii. Press releases are also called “news releases” and may consist of short fax statements that are sent to the media.

iii. Publicity events are contrived situations designed to attract media attention. Outrageous publicity events are sometimes called “guerrilla marketing”.

iv. The circuit refers to the “talk-show circuit” where PR consultants attempt to get their clients or spokespersons to appear on these programmes.

v. Books, brochures and other writings are sometimes commissioned and published on behalf of clients.

vi. Press contacts are developed assiduously so that they can be fed information about the organisation in the hope that the reporter will write a favourable story.

Public relations experts often identify opinion leaders and powerful people (“movers and shakers”). They then attempt to develop friendly relationships by offering corporate hospitality at events such as the Chelsea Flower Show, the Happy Valley racecourse in Hong Kong or Australia’s prestigious Telstra motor rally.

The marketing function in some organisations also engages in “cause-related marketing”. They undertake to give a certain proportion of their profits to a good cause in the hope that their generosity will reflect positively on their organisation.

Internal Promotion:

Internal promotion aims to alter the attitudes of the organisation’s own workforce. It is par­ticularly relevant when new products are being launched. Internal communications tend to foster the “team spirit” within an organisation. In addition, the staff of an organisation become an unofficial sales force who talk about the new product with their relatives, friends and acquaintances.

Advertising:

Advertising is a major method of promoting specific goods and services.

It may be defined as:

“Attracting public attention to a product, service or issue using non-personal methods of communication with a view to persuading the targets to adopt certain behaviours or thought patterns. Usually the desired behaviour is to purchase a product and the advertising organisation usually pays for the advertisement to be put before the target audience”.

It should be observed that advertising is impersonal. There is no one-to-one contact between buyer and seller. This distinguishes advertising from selling. Moreover, advertising concerns specific products or services. This distinguishes it from public relations.

An advertising campaign can have a number of objectives which will depend upon a product’s position in the product life cycle. If the product is new, the campaign is likely to focus upon making target customers aware that the product exists. It may also try to establish the new product’s position in the market and its brand. Advertising a new product is also likely to draw attention to its unique benefits and try to appeal to people’s needs for novelty and the status of being an early adopter.

During the growth stage, advertising may seek to reassure tentative purchasers and boost confidence in the product. In the maturity and saturation stages, advertising will seek to differentiate one brand from another. At this stage the main objective will be to increase, or at least preserve, market share at the expense of competitors. Organisations may engage in either defensive or offensive advertising. Offensive advertising (sometimes called “knocking copy”) may point out disadvantages of competitors’ products.

Advertisers use a very wide range of media which includes- billboards (also known as “poster hoardings”); posters on the sides of lorries, taxis and buses; leaflets (also known as “flyers”) distributed in the street; direct mail leaflets; magazines and newspapers; skywriting; web-banners; radio, cinema and television. The exact choice will depend upon the product and the target audience. For example, luxury goods are unlikely to be advertised using leaflets distributed in the street. They are more likely to be advertised in posh magazines.

An advert’s first job is to attract attention, then develop the desire for the product and finally to encourage consumers to take action and purchase the product (ADA).

Methods used to achieve these aims include:

(a) Repetition is very important with new products where the aim is to make people remember the name.

(b) Bandwagon campaigns imply that everyone is purchasing a product and to be without one would be odd. This tactic is frequently used during a product’s growth stage.

(c) Testimonials appeal to people’s propensity to obey authority. They may quote sources of authority such as “five out of six doctors eat product X”.

(d) Pressure campaigns often take the form of “buy now, before stocks are gone” or “buy now, before a tax increase”. This tactic is frequently used during a product’s maturity stage.

(e) Association campaigns try to link products with desirable things and attractive or famous people. Association campaigns are often used in conjunction with testimonials.

5. Place:

Place is the fifth and final component of the marketing mix. It is the location where the own­ership of goods is transferred or where a service is performed.

The place where a product is marketed depends on two main factors:

i. Distribution channels and

ii. Customer expectations.

i. Distribution:

Transporting goods to a market place, storing them until requested by a customer, employing sales staff and providing a setting which the customer finds conducive can cost almost as much as the production of an article or service. Few organisations can afford to provide these facilities on a national or regional basis; hence they need to rely upon other people, wholesalers and retailers, to provide them.

Since wholesalers and retailers act on behalf of many producers the costs can be shared. Moreover, wholesalers and retailers develop specialist expertise which enables distribution costs to be minimised. Historically, the location of the transfer of goods and services happened in marketplaces at the centre of ancient towns and cities. Then it took place in shops in the centre of towns and cities.

The rise of motor transport has meant that, nowadays, the location of the exchange of goods and services is often in purpose-built shopping malls and retail parks situated on the periphery of large towns – often at strategic points on a ring road.

However, a traditional shop or a department store is not the appropriate or most conven­ient place to sell all goods and services. Catalogue sales, for example, are more appropriate for people in isolated communities or those who are confined to their homes by disability. Some organisations have deliberately developed alternatives to the traditional chain of retail distribution.

For example, Tupperware developed a new distribution structure by selling its products in people’s homes at Tupperware parties. This gave a product a unique selling point, it reduced costs and it harnessed social pressures and friendships to increase sales. Catalogue showrooms, pioneered by Argos, reduce the need for space to display merchan­dise.

Consequently catalogue showrooms can offer a wider range of products at a keen price. They do, however, require superb logistics to ensure that a replacement article is replaced from a central store on the same day that an item is sold. Since the development of the Internet a growing number of transactions take place in cyberspace.

ii. The Customer Experience:

Customers have clear images and expectations about where they will buy goods. If these expectations are not met they will make fewer purchases. They expect to buy cabbages at a greengrocer and not at a newsagent. They expect to buy expensive jewellery in a plush setting where they receive a great deal of personal attention. Such factors are carefully con­sidered by retail stores who pay great attention to developing an appropriate image. A major factor determining a store’s image is the range of goods it sells. This is known as the “mer­chandise assortment”.

The merchandise assortment must be consistent with the ideas of the consumer otherwise they are unlikely to enter the store to find out whether a suitable article is in stock. Another important factor in determining a store’s image is its location. People expect stores to be located among other stores selling similar or complementary products.

For example, it is expected that a store selling chairs and tables will be near a store that sells carpets, which in turn will be near a store that sells curtains. Stores arranged in a line next to a large parking area are usually called a “strip”. Stores that are arranged around a central area designed for sitting, strolling and perhaps taking light refreshments are called, especially in America, a “mall”.

The interior of a store will be laid out with care so that it gives a customer a certain experience which is consistent with the image of the store and its products. The physical characteristics of a store’s environment such as its decor, its displays and its layout are called “atmospherics” or “ambiance”. Atmospherics indicate the merchandise assortment within the store. Most important, the exterior atmospherics exert a strong influence on a potential customer’s willingness to enter. Interior atmospherics, which may include choice of music, influences a customer’s movement and mood.

A primary concern of a retail organisation’s marketing function will be to draw potential consumers to the back of a store by using a particularly attractive display or moving image. Once drawn to the back of a store a cus­tomer will be encouraged, perhaps by appropriate music or exotic displays, to tarry. As they tarry, customers are more likely to make a purchase.

A way for supermarkets to draw cus­tomers to the further reaches of their stores is to place essential items such as bread at the furthest distance from the entrance. Supermarkets have long appreciated the importance of layout. For example, sales are increased if items essential to customers are positioned either on high shelves or on low ones. Discretionary items are placed on shelves at eye level. As consumers reach for essential items they are likely to see, and purchase, discretionary prod­ucts. Similarly, supermarkets have learned that the ends, between aisles, are positions where products are most likely to be selected.


Elements of Marketing Mix – Product, Price, Promotion and Place

Marketing is the business function that identifies a customer’s needs, and wants, determines the target markets which the organization can serve best, and designs appropriate products, services and programmes to serve these markets. Marketing requires everyone in the organization to ‘think customer’, and to do all they can to help create, and deliver superior customer value, and satisfaction. Target consumers are at the centre of all marketing efforts.

The organization identifies the total market, divides it into smaller segments, picks up the most promising ones, and focuses on serving and satisfying these segments. A suitable marketing mix is designed to differentiate its marketing offer and position this offer in select target segments. A marketing mix is an overall marketing offer to appeal to the target market. It consists of decisions in four key areas – product, price, promotion, and place (four ps of marketing), defined group having a distinctive set of traits—seeking certain special benefits and willing to pay a premium price.

Element # 1. Product:

A product (defined as a bundle of benefits offered to customers) is the most powerful competing instrument in the hands of the marketing manager. It is the heart of the entire marketing mix. If the product is not sound/attractive to the customers, no amount of sales promotion, appropriate channel selection, or price reduction will help to achieve the marketing target. Hence, durability, quality, uses, etc., of the product are important from the marketing point of view.

Element # 2. Price:

Price is the amount of money that consumers pay to obtain the product or use the service. Price determination is a difficult task as well as a critical factor for marketers. The revenue is determined by analyzing the revenue and cost properly. Marketing managers must fix the price in such a way that products can be sold successfully.

The price mix includes setting the price level, determining the level of discounts, and allowances, establishing credit policies, terms, and conditions, and developing pricing strategies. Price has a direct impact on the sales volume and revenue of the company and, therefore, it is one of the most critical elements in the marketing mix.

Element # 3. Promotion:

Promotion means informing the customers about the product and persuading them to buy it. Products have to be advertised through different media, customers have to be contacted, products need to be displayed and their use demonstrated. The promotion mix involves decisions on advertising, the amount of money to be spent in the different advertising media used, sales promotion, publicity, and personal selling.

Element # 4. Place (Physical Distribution):

The physical distribution mix has two major aspects – physical distribution and distribution channel selection. The producers are located in a few places and consumers are scattered throughout the globe. Products produced by the companies will have to be taken to the market and made readily and easily available to the consumers. Physical distribution requires selection of appropriate distribution channels and market outlets, selection of wholesalers and retailers. Physical distribution includes channels of distribution, market outlets, inventory levels, delivery, and product handling.


Elements of Marketing Mix – Top 4 Elements: Product, Price, Promotion and Distribution

According to Santon, marketing-mix is a combination of four elements- product, pricing structure, distribution system, and promotional activities- used to satisfy the needs of an organization’s target market(s) and, at the same time, achieve its marketing objectives. Every business enterprise has to determine its marketing-mix for satisfaction of the needs of its customers.

Marketing-mix represents a blending of decisions in four areas-product, pricing, promotion and physical distribution. These elements are interrelated because decision in one area usually affects actions in the others.

Concept of Marketing Mix:

Marketing mix in each organization is undertaken to meet the needs and wants of the customers in most effective manner possible. Marketing-mix undergoes change in line with the change in the needs of customers and environmental factors change. Hence, marketing-mix is a customer-oriented concept which focuses on the needs and aspirations of the consumers.

There are four dimensions to marketing-mix of any organization. They include – Product mix (dealing with the brand, quality and weight related factors of the goods); Price mix (dealing with unit price, discount, credit, etc. of the product); Promotion mix (dealing with the promotion of goods in the market such as advertising, salesmanship and sales promotion); and place mix (it relates to the distribution channels adopted by the organization, transport, storage, etc.)

The four ingredients of marketing-mix have been briefly discussed below:

1. Product:

A product of an enterprise refer to any good or service that is produced to satisfy customers’ needs and wants. It may be understood as a bundle of utilities or a cluster of tangible and intangible attributes. While we focus on the product dimension of the marketing mix, we deal with all the activities which involve planning, development and production of the right type of products or services.

It relates to the product line, durability and other quality characteristics of the goods. Each organization works hard to formulate a well-defined product policy dealing with proper branding, right packaging, appropriate color and other such features of the product. The product is produced and customized to satisfy the needs of the target product market.

To sum up, we can regard product mix as a bundle of strategies and decisions related to-

(a) Size and weight of the product;

(b) Quality of the product;

(c) Design of the product;

(d) Volume of the output;

(e) Brand name;

(f) Packaging;

(g) Product range;

(h) Product testing;

(i) Warranties and after sale services, etc.

2. Price:

Price is a very important factor determining the success of any business as it directly impacts the sales and revenue of the firm. Hence, deciding upon the price of the product requires special attention in order to set apt price. It demands a detailed analysis on various factors like demand, cost, competition, government regulation, etc., which should be analyzed closely before deciding the price of a newly launched product in the market. Price-mix involves decisions regarding base price, discounts, allowance, freight payment, credit, etc.

3. Promotion:

Promotion, as the name suggests revolves around making consumers aware of the product and attract them to possess it. It is simply a function of informing and influencing the customers in order to derive profits from their pockets. Promotion mix of a firm involves all those decisions which are taken to create an image and awareness in consumers’ minds about the product. For example, advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, exhibitions, free samples, demonstrations, etc.

4. Distribution:

Distribution aspect of marketing focuses on the place where the goods are proposed to be displayed and made available to the consumers. Primarily, it talks about the decisions between the various channels of distribution- wholesale or retail. The main object to manage the sale of goods via distribution medium is to make the goods available to the right set of customers at the right price in right time.

While determining the distribution mix or marketing logistics, a firm has to make decisions with regard to the mode of transportation to middlemen, use of company vehicle or a transporter, the route over which the goods are to be moved, type of warehouses where the goods are to be stored, etc.

The producer may also sell its products through his own specialized retail outlets by directly interacting with the consumer and deleting the role of the middlemen from his business transactions.


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