What is the Marketing Mix?
So far, we have talked about Branding, Segmentation or Strategy, but at this point we need a useful and simple tool that help us synthesizing the main factors to focus on when designing a Marketing action.
The Marketing Mix is the set of factors you should focus on, when designing a certain Marketing tactic or strategy.
Depending on the expert you ask as well as the economic sector you are, he would focus more on some factors or others.
However, there are 4 main factors everybody would agree to contemplate when analyzing any product within any economic sector.
* There is another approach that uses 7 factors instead of 4: The 7P Marketing Mix.
- If you want to know which additional factors it takes into account, we recommend you to visit our “7P Marketing Mix” page as soon as you finish this page.
The Marketing 4P
The “famous” Marketing 4P’s are nothing but the basic Marketing Mix factors to focus on when analyzing or developing any marketing action.
These simple and basic factors are:
- 1. Product
- 2. Price
- 3. Promotion
- 4. Place
Certain economic sectors would have to regard some other factors in addition to these 4, but never less.
These factors seem to be pretty straightforward, but trust us: they are not.
Now we will explain them all so you can start nailing your Marketing actions by following 4 simple precepts.
* These factors synthesize some of the concepts we explained in other sections such as “Marketing Strategy” when we talked about Price and Perceived value.
If you have not read those sections yet, we encourage doing so, in order to better understand all we’re about to explain.
These first P may be the least understood from all the 4 P’s.
It is not just describing your “product” as you would like the customer to regard it, but deeply defining what are you really selling to your customers:
- The experience.
- The features.
- The quantity.
- The alternatives.
- The complementary products you offer.
Remember what we explained in the “Branding” page: “Sell whole experiences, not products“.
Focusing exclusively on the “product’s technical features” is among the most common mistakes we’ve ever seen when developing a Marketing Strategy.
Since we have explained some of these factors in other sections, we’ll try make you understand better about it with an example:
McDonald's Product example
We bet you have ever been into a McDonald’s.
It is one of the most valuable brands in history, employing 1.7 million people.
Their restaurants are always full of happy children… and not only children.
How did they “do it”? It is not just a matter of money, but how did they define their products.
Don’t think about McDonald’s hamburgers when we are talking about their products. Think about the experience they sell; what do you feel when visiting a McDonald’s:
- The children have a “Toy” when they order a Happy Meal.
- All the smell you love when entering a McDonald’s.
- The memories you have playing with your friends.
- You may bring your children since you associate it with nice moments.
- Moreover, the taste of their hamburgers has not varied since you were a child.
They sell this; an Oasis where you can remember good old times.
Lot of things in your life may have changed, but you know that the taste of a Big Mac will remain the same, as well as the child-friendly ambience you find at McDonald’s.
This is the perfect example of what you should ideally regard as your product:
- Everything surrounding it.
As we explained on “Marketing Strategy”, it is important to focus not just on the “price-number” itself, but in the Real value your product has.
You must take into account:
- Competitor prices.
- Alternative products you may find in the market.
- Your Marketing Strategy:
- High or low perceived prices and their Real value.
All these factors must be taken into account simultaneously, since you must ensure coherence while designing a Marketing Strategy.
Imagine, you propose a “Profitability Strategy” (check the “Marketing Strategy” page) by powering your brand name, increasing the prices, while there are numerous alternatives within the market that are much cheaper:
- You would fail miserably.
We’ll follow with the McDonald’s example, focusing now on their price policies:
McDonald's Price example
At first glance, it seems that McDonald’s uses exclusively a “low price” policy.
It is true, that they are mainly characterized by their low prices, but if you pay attention to their menu, you’ll find out that they can be divided into 3 different categories:
- Cheap products:
- You may find here the $1 burgers as well as other “claimed-to-be-cheap” products.
- The $1 ice cream, McDouble, McChicken….
- Classic Products:
- The most known products everybody knows:
- Big Mac.
- Quarter pound.
- French fries and McNuggets
- The most known products everybody knows:
- New items:
- Usually, these items are well advertised on TV ads, at bus stations… or even notoriously highlighted within McDonald’s restaurants.
- Also, these items are “limited”; being offered just for a certain period of time.
Since they vary from country to country, it is difficult to give any example, but surely you all remember the McRib.
You have probably figured out: these last “limited” and “more exclusive” products, are giving McDonald’s their biggest margins.
Hence, McDonald’s presents 3 price strategies depending on their item.
Some of these items can be used as a hook for attracting the customer to their restaurants and once inside, they can be tempted to purchase the new fabulous and “shiny” product.
So, this P for “Price” basically means:
- You have to focus on your prices or at least, have a multiple strategy depending on the product you offer.
This “P” is closely related to the previous 2.
How are you promoting your products is as important as their Price, and again: there must be absolute coherence between what you are selling, its price and how are you promoting it.
You can’t promote a Mercedes in the same way you would promote a cheaper car.
Within the promotion, you must take into account:
- What are you selling (obvious).
- How the client perceives the product (or service) you offer.
With these two factors, you must choose the proper campaign for promoting your product and how the advertisements will be designed.
You have 3 main approaches for your products’ promotion campaigns:
- 1. Following a Classic approach.
- 2. Classic-but-modified approach.
- 3. Groundbreaking campaigns.
1. Classic Promotion approach
- Acting like your competitors, just focusing on the differences you products have.
Chanel No 5 Promotion example
As Christmas comes, you may have noticed how all the perfumes’ commercials tend to be the same:
- Handsome girls and boys doing nothing but whispering the perfume’s name.
Check some Chanel, Hermes, Dolce and Gabanna… perfumes’ commercials.
They do nothing but what everybody does. Nothing different.
2. Classic-but-modified Promotion approach
- Adding some differences to your competitors’ campaigns.
Burger King Promotion example
Compared to McDonald’s, they do pretty much the same with their new burgers, classic items and super-cheap products…
But they highlight the “taste” of their hamburgers.
McDonald’s never mention the taste of their products.
It is the same approach, but with an additional factor.
3. Groundbreaking approach
- Very risky, if you have no idea about what you are doing.
SPAM Promotion example
All of you have heard the word or expression “SPAM“.
But do you know why de we call “SPAM” to the massively received mail?
It is a canned-meat company that decided to promote their products with massive publicity several years ago.
Its name comes from joining together the word “spread” and “ham”.
Their campaign was so aggressive that nowadays we still use its name as a synonym of indiscriminate propaganda.
This campaign can be the best, if you know what you’re doing, or the worst of all.
Now we have explained the importance of the Promotion itself, let’s move to the last P: the Place.
The “Place” involves all the Ps mentioned before.
It means studying where are you acting, where do your customers come from and what should you vary depending on it.
There are 2 main conceptions when talking about the “Place”:
- Geographical conception.
- Where are your customers from.
- Where are you developing a certain marketing campaign.
- Intangible place conception.
- Which communication channels are you employing.
1. Geographical aspects
It is as simple as designing your marketing campaigns thinking of both your customers’ traditions and economic situation.
- Sometimes the same exactly product is perceived completely different in two different countries.
Kentucky Fried Chicken geographic example
In Europe, KFC is usually regarded as a “not a very healthy product” mainly consumed by medium-low income families.
On the other hand, in China (or at least, the last time we were there) it is regarded as a good product that is consumed by medium-high income families.
- The exact same product is regarded in two completely different ways.
2.The importance of the Communication Channel
The communication channel is part of your product’s identity. Choosing it properly is key when developing a marketing campaign.
People usually get confused if placing it within the “Promotion” P or the “Place” one. It doesn’t matter providing you take it into account properly.
When choosing the proper communication channel, you should think about all the factors we mentioned before:
- Your product.
- Its perceived and real value.
- Your customer’s average profile.
- The price you are charging.
- Your overall marketing strategy.
We’ll explain it with a brief example:
Disney Communication Channel example
Imagine Disney is planning to release a movie.
How do you think, they’ll promote it?
- At children launch time.
- During Disney movie ads.
- They offer “toys” within Happy Meal menus or in Pizza Hut, Burger King, etc.
They don’t waste their money in ads during horror movies at 12:00 pm.
They sell “happiness” to the children and their parents and hence, they promote their products in channels that are better associated with this objective.
Coherence, coherence and coherence. We’ll repeat it as much as we can.
Your communication channel must be coherent with your marketing strategy, that must be coherent with your product that must be coherent with the customer expectations.
The 4 Ps offer us a simple but effective tool when developing any marketing promotion or campaign.
It is the more basic “Marketing mix” you may find. And consists on:
- Be sure about what are you really offering.
- It must be at the centre of all your decisions.
- Think of your competitors.
- Compare your prices to the market alternatives.
- Always be coherent with your marketing strategy.
- You can develop a classical campaign.
- …Or a classical-but-modified campaign.
- … Or a groundbreaking campaign.
- Geographical factors.
- Communication channel.
By controlling these 4 factors, you will start defining your product from a Marketing Perspective. And defining your product is the first step to success.