The marketing mix is one of the classic elements of marketing, it is a term created by McCarthy in 1960, which is used to encompass its four basic components: product, price, distribution and communication . These four variables are also known as the 4Ps due to their Anglo-Saxon meaning (product, price, place and promotion). The 4Ps of marketing (the company’s marketing mix) can be considered as the traditional variables that an organization has to achieve its business objectives. For this, it is absolutely necessary that the four variables of the marketing mix are combined with total coherence and work together to complement each other.
Marketing mix variables: the 4Ps
The product is the quintessential variable of the marketing mix as it encompasses both the goods and services that a company markets. It is the means by which the needs of consumers are met. Therefore, the product should focus on solving those needs and not on its characteristics as it was years ago. Within the product we find aspects as important to work as the image, the brand, the packaging or the after-sales services. The chief marketing officer must also make decisions about the product portfolio, its product differentiation strategy, the life cycle or even the launch of new products.
Price is the variable of the marketing mix through which the income of a company enters. Before setting the prices of our products we must study certain aspects such as the consumer, market, costs, competition, etc. Ultimately it is the consumer who will decide whether we have set the price correctly, since it will compare the value received from the product purchased, against the price that has been paid by him.
Correctly establishing our pricing strategy is not an easy task and, as previously discussed, all variables, including price, must work together and in full coherence. The price variable helps us to position our product, which is why if we market a quality product, setting a high price will help us reinforce its image.
In general terms, distribution consists of a set of tasks or activities necessary to move the finished product to the different points of sale. Distribution plays a key role in the commercial management of any company. It is necessary to continuously work to get the product into the hands of the consumer at the right time and place. There is no single way to distribute products, but it will depend on the characteristics of the market, the product itself, the consumers, and the resources available. Within the marketing mix, the distribution strategy works on aspects such as storage, inventory management, transportation, location of points of sale, order processes, etc.
Thanks to communication, companies can publicize how their products can satisfy the needs of their target audience. We can find different communication tools: personal sales, sales promotion, advertising, direct marketing and public relations. How these tools are combined will depend on our product, the market, the target audience, our competition and the strategy we have defined.
Marketing mix approach:
Without a doubt throughout the short history of marketing, the concept of marketing mix has been one of the most important aspects in the strategic and tactical field. In my opinion, it is still a basic and essential instrument and should continue to be at the heart of any marketing strategy. However, it is necessary to provide the 4Ps with a current approach, an approach based on the protagonist, the client.
Questions like: What products will I launch on the market? At what price? Where do I sell it? Or how do I promote them? These are questions that arose in the 20th century, where the product was the protagonist of marketing and its approach was based on supply. Currently the client dictates the rules, therefore the marketing mix perspective must be considered from the demand perspective.
The new approach reframes the questions to: What needs do my clients have? What is the cost of satisfying our clients and what return will that satisfaction give me? Which distribution channels are most convenient for our clients? How and by what means do I communicate it? Currently, it is no longer feasible to manufacture the product to later try to sell it, but rather it is necessary to study the needs of our customers and develop the product for them. This approach also
It proposes knowing the cost of satisfaction of our clients and calculating the return via price. In distribution, the customer’s purchasing comfort is a key point, so it is necessary to choose the distribution channels based on their preferences. Regarding communication, the client no longer wants it to be a one-way street, where clients simply limited themselves to listening. In today’s social and digital environment, customers are part of a two-way street, where they are an active part of a conversation with brands. In short, every 21st century company that wants to be successful has to consider working in a scenario where the client takes center stage before the product, in the marketing mix strategies.