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    Marketing Mix Fundamentals

    Product, place, price & promotion have been used for ages to help businesses decide on how to go to market their brand. These 4 P’s are so elemental to the idea of marketing that they essentially go on to define it:

    Marketing\ˈmär-kə-tiŋ\ - The process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service. (Source: Merriam - Webster)

    In order to create an effective marketing mix, you must understand your audience and tailor-fit your campaigns based on their needs and preferences.  The market will ultimately determine your success based on how they respond to your mix.

    Product

    In creating a product or service, you and your team have to ask three important questions:

    1. What does your customers need?
    2. What do your customers want?  
    3. How does your product or service address these needs?

    To answer these questions, you have to intimately know your audience and your competitors. You must be able to formulate a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that differentiates you from other brands.

    You also have to be specific in your approach to branding down to the packaging to the name and copy used on the labels (or materials).

    Place

    Place refers to the distribution channels you can access to reach out to as many target audience as possible. To know the effective place for your product, you have to know where does your market shops. Do they shop in-store or do they go online?  Does your market respond to an on the ground sales force? To have a successful product, you have to be where your target customers are. 

    Price

    In determining the price, you have to strike a balance between your perceived value of your product and the perceived value of the brand by your customers. While it is important that you do not sell yourself short, it is also critical that you become attuned to your market’s price sensitivity. You also have to look at established price points within the industry so that you can remain competitive.

    In the process of creating your campaign, you have to also think creatively in terms of pricing. Can you and should you offer discounts? Does it make sense to do price segmentation for different audience? Developing a pricing strategy, however, is not set in stone. You have to listen to your audience’s feedbacks and adjust accordingly.

    Promotion

    Promotion is the way in which you connect with your audience. It's most critical component is the message that you will send to your audience. Your messanging must be something your audience can understand and resonate with.

    Once an appropriate message has been crafted, you must identify a multi-media strategy to reach your audience. You can choose Print, Owned (your own website), Social Media, Paid or anything else you can think of; But for the sake of clarity and consistency, each message needs to be customized according to the promotional channels.

    Conclusion

    In designing your marketing mix, it is important to keep in mind that the 4P's are closely connected. They must not be discussed in silos; they must be addressed in relation to one another. The mix must be balanced and must be specific to your target market.

    For decades, the 4Ps served as guide to businesses (both small and large) as they design their marketing strategy. Its usefulness cannot be doubted. But as the marketing landscape shifts and the buying behavior of the audience drastically influenced by technology, the relevance of the current marketing mix is being questioned. In today’s world, do the 4Ps still matter? Let us know what you think...

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