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Marketing Mix Product

The Relationship Between Product and
Customer Value Creation

Marketing mix product is the most important mix element. What is product marketing? Without product, the marketing mix is meaningless. Use product life cycle software to help you develop effective customer value creation strategies and tactics.

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The marketing mix of your product(s) is (arguably) the most important of all the mix elements.

And product is key in the development and creation of customer value; which is vital for growth in your sales and the sustainability of your business.

Other elements of mix (such as promotion, price and place) revolve around the product strategies.

Marketing mix is comprised of product, pricing strategies, promotion, and place or distribution.

Without product, the rest of the elements are meaningless. What would you price, promote, and distribute or place?

When developing your mix program, always start with your product or service first.

Customer Value Creation + Product Differentiation

As a small business owner, you need to focus on developing a marketing concept for product management that includes product differentiation, identifies product positioning, and that understands and identifies the product life cycle, that focuses on customer value creation, and that manages all products in the entire line.

Product management starts with developing new products to fit or meet customer needs and wants and ends with developing a comprehensive approach to marketing mix product.

Each product line needs to be understood in terms of the value and the uniqueness it delivers to customers: customer value creation and product differentiation are key to your success.

There are levels of value that you need to focus on when developing the marketing mix product.

Marketing Mix Product Example:

A customer who wants to print a catalog for his/her customers:

  1. The core benefit is communicating the items for sale.

  2. The basic product is a printed catalog.

  3. The expected product is a printed catalog with no quality imperfections, pages are sequential, the glue holds the book together, there is an index in the front of the catalog for easy reference, etc. - all businesses should be at least be at this level - this is the minimum that customers expect.

  4. The enhanced value product is a catalog that has tab dividers for easy reference, that is bound in a way that allows the customer to open it up and lay it flat (rather than have it spring closed), that has some coupons attached to the front of the catalog or tipped inside of the book to encourage customers to buy but also to give end customers the opportunity to interact with the catalog (pull off, tear off, etc.).

    This enhanced level begins to add value and benefit to customers and for end customers. Typically these enhanced, value-added products cost more - if the benefit is something the customer wants and needs, they will pay more.

  5. And then there is the potential or possible product level which in this example is a catalog for the future: one that is printed to specifically address the end customer's buying habits, based on his/her buying history (Dear Jane, based on your previous purchases from ABC company we have sent this customized catalog to you.)

    Another version of a catalog for the future might be to create mini-catalogs for on-line use but with this be careful with the demographics and the psychographics of your customers and end customers - they may not want an on-line catalog and if you send them one through the email address you've collected you might turn them off.

Product Life Cycle Software

Marketing mix product success will come when you tightly connect the product to value that amazes and delights your customers.

It's also important, for a successful product strategy, to understand the life cycle: analyze your product cycle impacts with product life cycle software.

In the above example, many printers can produce a catalog but how many can help you design and produce a catalog that will increase your sales, while winning you a devoted customer following? That's the kind of relationship you want to build for your products - customers who see the value in your product and will buy, and pay for, the value along with the product.

Product management requires you to have a clear understanding of the product hierarchy(the relationship of one product to others within your business and/or within your market); a clear understanding of the product system (in the print example above, products the printer might sell in his/her system are graphic design, data management, mailing - these would be ancillary products); and a clear understanding of the business' marketing mix product and how the mix satisfies customer needs and the importance (value) of each product within the mix.

Product, price, promotion and place are all a part of your business' marketing mix.

What is Product Marketing?

It's about focusing your marketing effort on developing customer value creation (what the customer wants) and on developing your product (product differentiation).

Marketing mix product includes all the products you sell and typically is defined by width, depth, length and consistency:

  • width relates to the number of different product lines (as opposed to products alone);
  • depth relates to the variation of each product item (e.g. size, color, shape, weight, etc.);
  • length relates to the total number of product items in the mix;
  • consistency relates to how the products fit within the mix: can they be produced on the same production equipment, can they be sold through the same place/distribution channel, do you use similar/same supplies to produce, are the products used similarly by customers, etc.

Managing your product requires you to make significant, related decisions and develop a strategic marketing concept for growing and maintaining products and product lines.

Your concept must fit your small business plan.

This can be done through product line extension (adding new flavors, colors, shapes, sizes, etc. to existing products), or product maintenance (which includes keeping the product current), or by growing the width, depth, length and consistency of the marketing mix. Product development and maintenance is the key to your business growth and success.

Pay close attention to your products and you will be able to extend your product life cycle.

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Additional Reading:

Understand Competition Analysis and how to manage your competitive tactics.

Conduct an Industry Analysis to learn more about your marketplace.

Build strong Market Strategies to win more market share.

Or for more on how understanding market share will help your business compete, return from Define Market Share, Part 1 to What is Market Share? Part 2.

Developing your Marketing Plan needs to be a key action item for your business.

Return from Marketing Mix Product to the Definition of Marketing.

Read more about how to Define Marketing Mix (Part 2 of two parts on overall marketing mix).

Or return to More For Small Business Home Page.

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Marketing and Life–Cycle

Marketing is a requirement for all businesses: without marketing strategies and tactics your business will struggle to survive.

Not all marketing activities are planned: you might be building your brand recognition through a social media campaign (that's marketing); you might be conducting market research to analyze your competitors and/or segment and target your potential market or to develop the most desirable features, advantages and benefits of your products or services (that's all marketing).

Marketing is pretty all–encompassing; and a challenge for many business owners. The additional challenge is recognizing that the different stages of your business life–cycle: start–up, mid–cycle, mature or late–in–life.

During start–up you need to develop your marketing strategies to grow sales; for example, you might want to use a market penetration pricing strategy to build sales quickly.

During mid–cycle, you need to grow your customer base (often through lead generation) and that need requires different marketing strategies, such as cold calling on prospective clients, email marketing, newsletter and blog sign ups and distribution (all to grow your list of prospects).

During the mature cycle, you need to build your marketing efforts around your brand; your competitive advantage can be in your reputation, history, and identity and on what differentiates your business from your competitors.

Marketing your products and services is not something that you do once (such as a marketing plan) and then never change or do again. You need to be continually researching and building your strategies and tactics to be ahead of the market, and ahead of your competition.

The market is constantly evolving; ever more rapidly with the impacts of globalization and technology. You need to invest resources into marketing to ensure that you build and sustain your business.

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If you need support in your marketing efforts, or if you'd like a review of your marketing plan, contact us for more information on our marketing services.

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