Marketing is a comprehensive business process that includes design, development, production, and promotion. Marketing is commonly only associated with the promotion aspect of this process, but marketers should be engaged throughout the production phases in order to refine marketability. The term marketing mix refers to this end to end view of the production process of goods or services.
The 4 Ps of Marketing
There are a number of educational models that are used to describe the entire marketing process. The most commonly taught model is the Four Ps or the producer-oriented model. The four Ps of marketing are described as
- Product—The good or service that fulfills a consumer need or desire is identified, designed and produced. Marketing research begins the product development phase, which isolates an emerging opportunity for a new product to fill. This may be an entirely new product that satisfies a growing consumer need or it may be a re-imagined existing product that has lost traction with consumers due to age, inferior functionality or obsolescence. The marketing manager must detail the consumer need the product is satisfying, the product’s life cycle, the resources necessary to produce the goods or service and its competitiveness on the market.
- Price—The cost component of the marketing strategy is usually dependent on the consumer’s willingness to pay, but it must also be considered in concert with the operating profit margins of the business as well as the long-term marketing strategy. Marketing research is critical to identifying a price that consumers will pay while optimizing the return on investment. Pricing competitiveness is also an immense concern. Many price marketing strategies will introduce new products at diminished prices in order to build market share and brand visibility, and later increase prices once the product has established itself.
- Place—This refers to the distribution method and determines availability to the target consumer. Once again, marketing research plays a critical role in determining which venues are most likely to be frequented by target consumers. There are a number of distribution strategies that include intensive, selective, exclusive and franchising methods. The placement component includes a number of factors like sales personnel, training, and franchising fees
- Promotion—The advertising that generates consumer interest in the product is the most visible area of a marketing professional’s responsibilities and is the most critical to sales revenue. Marketers must determine which marketing platforms will provide the most effective means of communicating the promotional message. Promotion almost always follows the pricing and placement decisions, in order to include that information in the advertisements. Marketing research plays an oversized role in this component due to the necessity of paying for promotional ads that will generate an optimal consumer response. Therefore, marketing professionals must recognize the strengths and weaknesses of various promotional strategies, identify consumer needs and tailor the marketing campaign accordingly.
The components of the marketing mix are not independent phases; all aspects of the process must be considered throughout the entire product’s life cycle. Adjustments in the price, place and promotion must be made as the product ages and the market landscape evolves, so the marketing mix is a fluid dynamic that necessitates constant refinement.