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					                         “Marketing mix: The recipe for success”



       The marketing mix is arguably one of the most popular catch-phrases

within the realms of marketing. It can be conceived as a recipe for effectively

distributing a certain product or brand, or it could be compared to the primary

colors that an artist uses to make a painting. The point is that different

combinations of the marketing mix can be used to provide different results, or

rather a different positioning for the brand. The marketing mix works like a

recipe for developing a strong, cohesive marketing plan, and what’s usually

referred to as the “Four P’s”, works like the ingredients to such recipe.



       For example, while creating a marketing strategy for a new chocolate,

one could decide to establish a higher price, which would likely translate in a

higher status positioning, while providing for more opulent promotion

mechanisms, as well. Conversely, one could opt for a lower price, which would

translate in a broader positioning while allowing for less promotion. Usually,

high profile brands choose to place the focus of their strategies on promotion,

even when it means the price of the product will be weighed upon. Conversely,

a product which is aimed at the masses should try to remain competitive in

price, and usually cannot afford much glamorous advertising.

       Besides price and promotion, the other elements which normally come

together in the marketing mix are the placement and the product itself. These

are usually referred to as the “Four P’s” which is another popular term, when it

comes to the study of marketing. Generally speaking, the “Four P’s” can be
regarded as the ingredients that integrate the marketing mix, whereas the

marketing mix can be regarded as a recipe for good marketing.



       The term “marketing mix” was first used by H. Borden in the article “The

Concept of the Marketing Mix” in 1965. According to the Wikipedia article on the

subject, Borden first came up with the concept after reading the following

quotation, by J. Culliton, a prominent business executive of the mid-20th

century. While discussing the role and function of an executive, Culliton had

claimed that it was similar to "a mixer of ingredients, who sometimes follows a

recipe as he goes along, sometimes adapts a recipe to the ingredients

immediately available, and sometimes experiments with or invents ingredients

no one else has tried." (Culliton, J. 1948).



       The “Four P’s”, which are still regarded by many theorists as the main

ingredients in the Marketing Mix, were introduced by McCarthy (1960). They are

used to produce the marketing plan, and they are considered from the

marketing management perspective. Subsequently, other authors have pointed

out the importance of observing the costumer’s perspective as well, in order to

develop a consistent marketing plan. In that sense, we would consider

“costumer solution” along with “product”; “cost to the costumer” along with

“price”; “convenience” along with “place”, and “communication” along with

promotion. These counterparts to the “Four P’s” are usually referred to as the

“Four C’s” (Lauterborn, 1990) According to Waterschoot, “McCarthy's 4P

classification of the marketing mix instruments has received wide acceptance in

past decades. In recent years, however, increasing criticism has been voiced,
among other reasons because of its inherent negative definition of sales

promotion and its lack of mutual exclusiveness and collective exhaustiveness.”



       In the past decades, the ingredients in the “marketing mix” have become

more diverse, while reflecting the evolutions that have occurred within the

markets, and the overall economy. Currently, different theorists claim that a

good mix can take up to 8 “P´s”, or ingredients; several terms have been added

up, such as “process”, “physical evidence”, “partners” and “packaging”. (wiki) In

this paper, however, the focus will be places on the original four “P’s”: “product”,

“price”, “promotion”, and “place”.

       The four P’s represent variables over which the marketing manager has

a certain degree of control over; even tough they’re mostly subject to internal as

well as external influences from the dynamic marketing environment. Since a

good marketing strategy should strive to create perceived value in the

costumer, this should be the objective of the marketing mix, as well.



       What is the “Product”? This term refers to decisions concerning the

tangible properties of the product one aims to position within the market. It

consists of properties such as the brand name, the product itself (along with its

strengths and weaknesses), warranty, repairs and support; accessories and

services. Naturally, the product is mostly a static variable, and the marketing

manager is usually granted a limited freedom to make changes on the product,

unless he’s trying to market a service.
       The “price” decisions deal with concepts such as the “pricing strategies,

the suggested retail price, volume discounts and wholesale pricing, cash and

early payment discounts, seasonal pricing, bundling, price flexibility, and price

discrimination” (netMBA) There are a number of decisions that should be

considered by the marketing manager, where the price of a product is

concerned. However, it should be understood that “price” and “product” are the

variables that one has less control over, particularly on a short term.

Conversely, the following variables are the ones that allow the marketing to

develop more complex strategies.



       The “place” or “placement” variable, allow, by contrast a bigger range of

decisions, where the distribution of the product is concerned. This ingredient is

concerned mostly with getting the product to the costumer; it involves a wide

range of decision making, such as the distribution channels, “market coverage

(inclusive, selective or exclusive distribution), specific channel members,

inventory management, warehousing, distribution centres, order processing,

transportation, and reverse logistics” (netMBA). Such decisions are most

important, because they represent the target audience that one expects the

product to be established upon. Also, there’s more room for creative thinking,

where it concerns the issues governing the placement of the product; especially

if one is to include the new on-line markets in his plan.



       The final ingredient in the classical marketing mix involves decisions

concerning the “Promotion” of the product. This is the aspect which is mostly

associated with the marketing function, and it involves everything which is
associated to the marketing communication; the “communication of information

about the product with the goal of generating a positive costumer response”

(wiki). This implies several marketing decisions, such as the promotional

strategy (push, pull); advertising, sales promotions, public relations and

publicity, personal selling and sales force, and the marketing communications

budget. This is arguably the area of decision where the marketing manager is

able to impress the deepest influence, particularly on a short term. While the

“Placement” deals with generally theoretical considerations regarding the

optimum channels of distribution, the “Promotion” implies practical decisions

concerning the process of making the customer want to get the product.



       It’s always simpler to understand a theory once it’s been translated into

practice. In that sense, a little research granted major insight into the marketing

strategies supporting the success of one of the greatest multinational

companies in the world: the long-time ruler of fast-food restaurants, McDonalds.

Whether or not we appreciate their offering, the worldwide success of this

company is undeniable, and as much as the food may be tasty, the flavour is

almost secondary to the implementation of certain marketing strategies, which

have definitely been a major focus throughout its corporate history; herein we

can find the true recipe the success of McDonald’s.

The current motto behind marketing scheme is “Think global, act local, and this

sentence brilliant sums the brand’s strategy. One of the major goals the

company has set out from the beginning was to provide a common denominator

in flavour; every where in the world, a McDonalds meal was intended to taste

the same. However, experience has taught the company they should
simultaneously try to adapt to each environment. Consequently, each franchise

is painstakingly crafted to reflect the culture of the place it’s established upon,

and even tough there are generic products sold in every franchise (such as the

popular “Big Mac”, there are always product offerings in the menus aimed for

each culture: “Adaptation is required for many reasons including consumer

tastes/preferences and laws/customs. There are many situations where

McDonald’s adapted the product because of religious laws and customs in a

country.” (Vignali)

       McDonald’s has learned to simultaneously provide a standardized and

custom product, and as a result is marketing success was enormous. The fast-

food chain was established as a franchise system, and currently there are over

24,500 restaurants in 116 countries across the world (Vignali). The company

determines its prices after a rigorous study of each country it settles upon. The

marketing position of McDonalds is always conceived with a global focus, while

adapting to each particular culture, by using local celebrities and adopting

cultural standards. Behind the key phrase “Think Global, act local”, there’s a

model that can potentially work miracles for any international business.
Works Cited:

Culliton, J. (1948) The management of marketing costs, Graduate School of
       Business Administration, Research Division, Harvard University, Boston,
       1948.

Lauterborn, R (1990) "New Marketing Litany: 4 Ps Passe; C words take over",
      Advertising Age, October 1, 1990, pg 26.

McCarthy, J. (1960 1st ed.), Basic Marketing: A managerial approach, 13th ed.,
     Irwin, Homewood Il, 2001.

“Marketing mix” at Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia. Accessed online 01/24/07
      at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing_mix

“The 4P Classification of the Marketing Mix Revisited”
      Waterschoot, W; Bulte, C. Journal of Marketing, Vol. 56, No. 4 (Oct.,
      1992), pp. 83-93
      doi:10.2307/1251988

“Marketing Mix”; netMBA.com; accessed on-line 01/24/07 at
      http://www.netmba.com/marketing/mix/

Vignali, C. “McDonald’s: think global, act local – the marketing mix”. British
       Food Journal, 103/2 (2001), pp. 91-111

				
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