Decision Making in Marketing

 A marketing mix is a foundational tool used to guide decision making in marketing. The marketing mix represents the basic tools that marketers can use to bring their products or services to the market. They are the foundation of managerial marketing and the marketing plan typically devotes a section to the marketing mix.

The 4Ps

The traditional marketing mix refers to four broad levels of marketing decision, namely: product, price, promotion, and place. The 4Ps of the marketing mix stand for product, price, place and promotion One version of the marketing mix is the 4Ps method.

Product

The product aspects of marketing deal with the specifications of the actual goods or services, and how it relates to the end-user's needs and wants. The product element consists of product design, new product innovation, branding, packaging, labeling. The scope of a product generally includes supporting elements such as warranties, guarantees, and support. Branding, a key aspect of the product management, refers to the various methods of communicating a brand identity for the product, brand, or company.

Pricing

This refers to the process of setting a price for a product, including discounts. The price need not be monetary; it can simply be what is exchanged for the product or services, e.g. time, energy, or attention or any sacrifices consumers make in order to acquire a product or service. The price is the cost that a consumer pays for a product—monetary or not. Methods of setting prices are in the domain of pricing science.

Place (or distribution)

This refers to how the product gets to the customer; the distribution channels and intermediaries such as wholesalers and retailers who enable customers to access products or services in a convenient manner. This third P has also sometimes been called Place or Placement, referring to the channel by which a product or service is sold (e.g. online vs. retail), which geographic region or industry, to which segment (young adults, families, business people), etc. also referring to how the environment in which the product is sold in can affect sales.

Promotion

This includes all aspects of marketing communications: advertising, sales promotion, including promotional education, public relations, personal selling, product placement, branded entertainment, event marketing, trade shows, and exhibitions. This fourth P is focused on providing a message to get a response from consumers. The message is designed to persuade or tell a story to create awareness.

One of the limitations of the 4Ps approach is its emphasis on an inside-out view. An inside-out approach is the traditional planning approach where the organization identifies its desired goals and objectives, which are often based around what has always been done. Marketing's task then becomes one of "selling" the organization's products and messages to the "outside" or external stakeholders. In contrast, an outside-in approach first seeks to understand the needs and wants of the consumer.

From a model-building perspective, the 4 Ps has attracted a number of criticisms. Well-designed models should exhibit clearly defined categories that are mutually exclusive, with no overlap. Yet, the 4 Ps model has extensive overlapping problems. Several authors stress the hybrid nature of the fourth P, mentioning the presence of two important dimensions, "communication" (general and informative communications such as public relations and corporate communications) and "promotion" (persuasive communications such as advertising and direct selling). Certain marketing activities, such as personal selling, may be classified as either promotion or as part of the place (i.e., distribution) element.

Some pricing tactics, such as promotional pricing, can be classified as price variables or promotional variables and, therefore, also exhibit some overlap.

Other important criticisms include that the marketing mix lacks a strategic framework and is, therefore, unfit to be a planning instrument, particularly when uncontrollable, external elements are an important aspect of the marketing environment.

Modifications and extensions

To overcome the deficiencies of the 4P model, some authors have suggested extensions or modifications to the original model. 

Extensions of the four P's are often included in cases such as services marketing where unique characteristics (i.e. intangibility, perishability, heterogeneity and the inseparability of production and consumption) warrant additional consideration factors. 

Other extensions have been found necessary for retail marketing, industrial marketing, and internet marketing include "people", "process", and "physical evidence" and are often applied in the case of services marketing[ Other extensions have been found necessary in retail marketing, industrial marketing and internet marketing.

Physical- the environment customers are in when they are marketed to

People- service personnel and other customers with whom customers interact with. These people form part of the overall service experience.

Process- the way in which orders are handled, customers are satisfied and the service is delivered

Physical Evidence- the tangible examples of marketing that the customer has encountered before buying the advertised product

Productivity- the ability to provide consumers with quality product using as few resources as possible

The 4Cs

In response to environmental and technological changes in marketing, as well as criticisms towards the 4Ps approach, the 4Cs has emerged as a modern marketing mix model.

Consumer (or Client)

The consumer refers to the person or group that will acquire the product. This aspect of the model focuses on fulfilling the wants or needs of the consumer.

Cost

Cost refers to what is exchanged in return for the product. Cost mainly consists of the monetary value of the product. Cost also refers to anything else the consumer must sacrifice to attain the product, such as time or money spent on transportation to acquire the product.

Convenience

Like "Place" in the 4Ps model, convenience refers to where the product will be sold. This, however, not only refers to physical stores but also whether the product is available in person or online. The convenience aspect emphasizes making it as easy as possible for the consumer to attain the product, thus making them more likely to do so.

Communication

Like "Promotion" in the 4Ps model, communication refers to how consumers find out about a product. Unlike promotion, communication not only refers to the one-way communication of advertising, but also the two-way communication available through social media.

Source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing Image: Pexels

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