The importance of marketing mix is often overlooked in strategy. Create marketing plan strategies for your business that include writing action plans, building integrated marketing communication mix tactics, developing differentiation and positioning statements, and more. (This is Part 1 of 2.)
First, what is marketing mix?
The mix section of your marketing plan concentrates on strategies and tactics used to achieve the plan.
Those tactics can be categorized as the 4 Ps of Marketing: product, price, promotion (including integrated marketing communication mix) and place (or distribution channel).
Second, to better understand what your marketing mix is (and why it is so important to your business success) you need to consider the Four Ps to be the key ingredients in your marketing success recipe.
Without those key ingredients or elements you will not achieve marketing success.
How good is your soufflé without eggs? How good is your apple pie without a crust?
Get the idea?
Marketing mix is critical to the success of your marketing plan. An example of a marketing mix can help you to build your own mix strategies.
You also need to ensure that when you create marketing plan strategies (from the mix) that writing action plans is the starting point of implementing your plan (and make sure that you include milestones, key performance indicators and other measurements that determine how your achievements compare to your plan).
(The first 2 Ps - Product and Price - are on this page; the other 2 Ps - Promotion and Place/Distribution - are continued on Page 2.)
Without product (or service) thoroughly defined, your marketing mix approach will be weakened.
Define the features, advantages and benefits (also known as FAB) of your product.
Define what your product looks like, feels like, and if appropriate sounds like and tastes like.
Do some product testing before product launching: what characteristics or attributes do potential customers most like; least like. Develop face-to-face or online surveys. Customer feedback before product launch is probably more critical than after launch; typically it is always harder to make changes once the product has been launched.
Rank the characteristics by importance to the target market.
Ensure that you clearly understand the strategic competitive advantage your product has; if it doesn't have any competitive advantage you will have a hard time winning market share.
Define the unique features your product has that are not easily duplicated and ensure that there is strong product differentiation within your product lines and as compared to your competition.
Once the product is well defined, develop your pricing strategy.
Is your product brand new? Then it is in the early stage of its product life cycle: the introduction. Gaining market share can be challenging. Price will be a sensitive issue unless the market demand is very high for your product. Where your product is in its life-cycle is important from a pricing perspective.
If you are launching a better, bigger, different, new, improved product make sure your customers clearly understand the differences and attach your product benefits to your price method.
Are you a low cost manufacturer or wholesaler? Do you sell high volume, with low cost? If the answers are yes to these two questions, you have room to move down on price if it helps you grow volume quickly. But be careful about following a low price or cutting price strategy; it is often extremely difficult to hold on to profit for very long and pricing is almost impossible to push back up once you've set the new low price target.
Or are you a high cost, niche manufacturer or provider? If you have control of the niche or are building a new, yet-to-be-discovered niche, then typically you can set price high as long as your market values the differentiation of your product.
Do you have to sell off a large volume of one product to make room for other products? If yes, you may want to consider pricing at break-even to move the product quickly. This strategy of low, break-even pricing can also be employed as a loss leader strategy: price a less important, less valuable but high demand product low to bring in customers; the assumption is that customers will buy other products that are higher priced and higher profit while they shop in your physical or online store.
Are you trying to buy your way into the market? Be very careful with this strategy; it is often very challenging to move a low price back up. There are a lot of examples of businesses who have failed because their pricing didn't cover their costs. You're in business to make a make a profit!
When you build your pricing strategy be sure to assess the competition, the market, your potential customers, your long term sales goals, and the product characteristics carefully.
When developing product and pricing strategies as part of the process to create marketing plan strategies, you must ensure that writing action plans for each of those mix segments is an outcome of your work.
Without an action plan, your marketing mix strategies often go nowhere!
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.
Find out the Importance and Definition of Marketing.
Read the second part of Marketing Mix on Part 2 of 2: Define Marketing Mix.
Or return to More For Small Business Home Page.
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.
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.
If marketing is not your core strength, or if you don't have enough staff to commit to developing your marketing efforts (and acting on the plan), outsourcing your marketing strategy and implementation will allow you to concentrate on developing your business.
Start with a marketing plan that includes the necessary research, strategy development and implementation action plan. We provide you with the plan tactics, budget, schedule and key performance measurements.
Execute the plan yourself or have us at Voice Marketing Inc. manage the execution for you.
Once the plan is implemented, we report on the actions we've taken, the performance of the tactics employed, and on the results.
You'll feel confident that your business marketing is being effectively managed and continually evolving.
We specialize in providing services to small business owners and understand that marketing efforts must be customized for each business' unique needs.