How well do you know your way around the marketing mix? If you want to see your business grow it is vital that you have your eye on all the components that make up a successful marketing strategy.
Mnemonics, like the seven Ps, can prove helpful for marketers to make sure nothing is missed in the planning phase of any campaign.
In the article below we will discuss all the elements of the marketing mix in detail, as well as outline some best practices as they relate to the product, price, place, promotion, people, process and physical evidence.
WHY DO WE USE THE MARKETING MIX MODEL?
The marketing mix model was first developed in the late 1940s by Professor James Culliton, later adapted by E. Jerome McCarthy and finally popularised in the 1960s by Philip Kotler. The concept of the four Ps that comprise the original model, was later expanded upon in 1981 when Booms and Bitner adapted the model to better suit the marketing of services as well as products.
Although many variations of the marketing mix have appeared and disappeared over the years, theBooms and Bitner model of the seven Ps (Product, Price, Promotion, Place, Physical Evidence, People, and Process) remains the most popular to this day.
MARKETING MIX BEST PRACTICES
In B2B marketing, products are split into three sub-sections:
- Physical or virtual goods (such as a desktop computer or accounting software)
- Services (such as office cleaning or finance advice), or
- Solutions which are a combination of both the goods and supporting services (such as a building/construction services plus the project management of the build to successful completion).
In your marketing, it is your responsibility to highlight the key features of your product, as well as any added customer benefits.
In order to improve your products, consider investing in quality research and development (R&D). R&D involves researching your target market and improving the quality of your products, services or solutions according to feedback regarding the consumer’s needs.
The secret to good product design is knowing your customers. Likewise, if you can trust in the quality of the product you are selling, then you must find a way to highlight how it can meet the existing unmet needs of your clients.
Probably one of the greatest product innovations in history can be attributed to the legendary American business magnate Henry Ford. Ford’s mass produced Model T automobiles in the 1908 catapulted him into the upper echelons of the business world. The myth around Ford is so thick it’s hard to tell fact from fiction sometimes, but he is often attributed as saying, “If I had asked people what they want, they would have said faster horses.”
Whether or not Ford actually said this, it is true that sometimes we don’t know what we need until it rocks up on four wheels; or in the form of an iPhone, simply compare our reliance on smart phones over the past ten years. Good marketing highlights can create or demonstrate a need we didn’t know we had.
Finding the right pricing strategy for your products and services will vary depending on an endless number of variables. How much are your customers willing to pay? How much do you need to mark-up the price to cover your business’ overheads?
Pricing your products effectively may also depend on the type of product or service you are offering. When the economy is doing well, it is a general rule of thumb that higher-end boutique products will out-perform budget products and services.
At The Lead Agency we recommend you consider three important things to establish a marketable price:
1) Don’t forget that you are in business to make a profit;
2) Lowering your prices is much easier than raising them;
3) Do as much research as possible before settling on a price.
A fair price should be an amount your clients are happy to pay, and that will, at the very least, cover your costs. This is particularly important in B2B marketing where decisions are made more often based on financial outcomes (how it will affect the profit/loss of a business) than in the consumer market.
Particularly if you are offering a service, instead of a product, you may want to consider creating a tiered pricing system where you offer premium benefits to those willing to pay more. Many online businesses, particularly Software as a Service (SaaS) enterprises, opt for this type of pricing strategy.
Where you promote, sell, make and distribute your products and services, will ultimately have an important impact on your overall success.
You may find that your clients want local goods, or goods with a quick turnaround. In this situation, where you are located can be crucial. If you are involved in the retail sector, place plays one of the largest roles. Even if you don’t work in the retail sector your base of operations will still have an important role to play.
You may not think of your business location as a marketing tactic at the time, but, often your location can have a massive impact on the effectiveness of your marketing. Consider too, if you are in an area with little foot traffic, that you will have to budget more on advertising than if you were in the middle of a busy shopping centre, for example.
J.P. Morgan’s Sydney branch are an excellent example of quality positioning. Reputation plays a large part in the success of financial planners. By investing in an inner city heritage property, they maintain their respectability and visibility. Being centrally located in the up-market Sydney CBD gives them access to high end clients they might not otherwise have access to if they were located in one of the surrounding suburbs.
When the general populace think of marketing, they often think of promotions. Promotional activities can range from digital marketing, to traditional print and radio. It can often be over-whelming to determine which promotional activities will result in the most immediate and successful campaign.
Measurement and evaluation is the key to getting the most return on investment from your promotional activities. From an intuitive perspective, you might think you social media promotions are bringing in a lot of value. Through objective research and evaluation, you may find out that your monthly newsletters are bringing in the most leads?
If you have no data or research to start with, or are starting from scratch. It is best to just get an idea of the different promotional tactics available.
Some of the promotional activities used by marketers around the globe include: advertising, telemarketing, publicity, short-term sales offers, publicity or direct marketing.
Your staff and salespeople will have one of the biggest impacts on customers’ buying decisions, especially if you provide a service or solution. Making sure that each customer touchpoint assists in the buyer journey is vital to building a healthy marketing and sales funnel.
Recruiting the right people, and investing in training up your staff, can be one of the most important ways to give your business a competitive advantage. You can have the best lead generation and lead nurturing strategies in place, but if your clients are turned off by the people they interact with, it can destroy all goodwill towards your brand.
The people aspect of the marketing mix is particularly important in the world of B2B marketing and Account Based Marketing (ABM), where you are required to develop targeted relationships with staff of varying positions within a company or team.
Whether your company relies more on outbound or inbound marketing to drive sales, having the right people in the right positions will be one of the most important challenges your business will face.
Having quality processes in place is crucial to delivering consistent high quality products and services. The more efficient your processes are the better your reputation will be.
Many companies, particularly in the B2B sector, would rather prefer an above-average product with excellent, consistent customer service, than an excellent product with unreliable customer service.
Successful businesses are always looking to improve their processes, and even those of their clients. Take for example BlueScope Steel, one of Australia’s largest flat steel producers. They provide a complimentary Steel Efficiency Review™ program that is designed to improve the safety and efficiency of the processes involved in their customer’s business and steel processing flow.
Initiatives like this have set BlueScope apart in a highly competitive international market for flat steel products.
7. PHYSICAL EVIDENCE
The physical evidence refers to all the aesthetic and outward packaging of your business. From the space you conduct business all the way to your staff, packaging and branding.
A potential customer will no have no idea how good your services or products are until they purchase or trial them. Setting a high standard of professionalism at every level of your business and reflecting that in your design, artwork and staff etiquette, gives wary buyers confidence in your brand.
If you have a physical store, invest heavily in making the layout, fixtures and signage as good as they can be. If you don’t have a physical store, and acquire your clients primarily online, making sure that your digital channels are all professionally maintained is crucial. Websites, in particular, become outdated very quickly, so don’t forget to update your plugins, and refresh the look of your site if it begins to look dated.
Most B2C businesses are also on Instagram or Facebook, whilst B2B enterprises tend to prefer platforms like LinkedIn. Registering your business with Google is also important. As it will not onlyimprove your SEO and SEM rankings, but may draw in local customers in your area.
Considering each of the seven Ps in your marketing mix, will help you avoid making mistakes or missing out on opportunities. Remember to continually refer back to the marketing mix formula to track your achievements find ways to improve over time.
If you would like to discuss your business’ marketing goals with one of our trained marketing consultants, contact The Lead Agency today. We can assist in anything from developing a lead lifecycle program to optimising your data analytics and measurement.
For more information about the value of the marketing mix in the B2B sector read this article on The Key Elements of the B2B Marketing Mix.