Companies today try their best to continue to keep up with the changes of services, products and technology. Companies rely on their abilities in marketing to keep consumers interested in their products and services. The success of a company may rely on the company’s marketing performance. Marketing planning starts by thinking of the targeted audience needs, strategies, and the development of the products and or service needed. Developing a marketing strategy will consist of the marketing mix. The marketing mix is “the strategic plan that defines the company’s overall mission and objectives”. (Armstrong & Kotler, 2011)
Sprint will be used as an example as to how they implement the marketing mix to their company. Sprint’s overall mission and objective is “To be No. 1 in providing a simple, instant, enriching and productive customer experience”. (Sprint, 2012) The marketing mix includes the four Ps (elements) of marketing. The four Ps are product, place, pricing, and promotion. To better explain how the four Ps work in a company we will see how Sprint applies the four Ps to their company.
Frist P Element: Products
Sprint is constantly trying to keep up with the technology changes to ensure customer satisfaction. “Sprint is one of the premier wireless providers for smart phones in the US”. (Sprint, 2012) Sprint cells top of the line phones and phone services for residential customers as well as business customers. Sprint is not limited to just new products or service, but to enhance products or services that are already established as well. Marketer’s decisions on products are based on the nature of what the customer’s needs are.
For Sprint to make sure they are listening to their customers and to know what their needs are they have blogs and chatting sessions on their website where everyone from customers to employees can share their comments, ideas, suggestions and opinions about improving products and services that are already established. Improvements can consist of phones to be able to handle more information or new technology added to the phones. Improvements can also be as simple as color or size. Decisions on products are also by the targeted customer (younger=texting abilities, older=tracking system for their children, oldest=being able to see the numbers on the key pad). Improvements may also be a wider range of service accessibility for fewer calls dropped.
Second P Element: Place
Where can Sprint be accessible to their targeted audience? Sprint makes themselves available through their website, kiosks in malls, as well as local Sprint stores. All places provide the phones and services needed. Not only regular customers are targeted, businesses are targeted as well. Sprint offers plans for businesses which provide packages which consist of several phones on one plan. The business plans are specifically designed to make it easier to conduct daily business transactions. The store supplies physical one-on-one people for those customers who prefer the person-to-person interaction. The store also provides a hands-on scenario where customers are free to look at the phones and see what they look, sound and feel like.
The store provides a comfortable opportunity for the customers to make a personal educated choice. On the other hand, Sprint also provides their website. Sprint’s website provides a wider range of phone choices (new and used), wide range of services (phone service, wireless service, etc.) and for customers that need to ask question, Sprint provides online help (chat session, contact numbers, website links). The kiosk is just a convenience catcher. It is in a mall in hopes that a passing by customer will catch a glimpse of the products and be curious enough to stop, ask questions and possibly purchase a product on their way to another store.
The store, website and kiosk are designed to give the customers all the tools and information needed to make the best choice for their personal or business needs. Sprint prides itself to making sure all their bases are covered and provides total accessibility to their customers in order to provide them with quick and convenient service available. In marketing a place is also known as the warehouse where, in this case, Sprint houses their phones for distribution so it is available for its customers.
Third P Element: Pricing
Pricing is a crucial part of the four Ps. Price is also considered a flexible marketing mix element. Marketers must consider the research, development, and services when pricing. In addition, marketers have to think about the how their company will price their products and services based on how much they will spend on fabrication and how competitors are pricing the same products and services. Customers are an important thought in the pricing process as well because they are the ones that are going to produce the revenue for the company. Marketers are also at the mercy of the economy; they will have to price low enough to get a good number of customers and gain a profit, but no low enough that they will get financially hurt in the process.
Producing the right or good price for products and or services a company might have to consider redesigning products and services that may already exist. Sprint might offer better phones at a lower service plan or a better service with less expensive plan. Many times Sprint offers free phones to get new customers to purchase their service plan. Customers are given several options so that they do not feel like they are trapped picking a plan that does not accommodate their needs.
Fourth P Element: Promotion
The last element is promotion. “Promotion means activities that communicate the merits of the product and persuade target customers to buy it”.(Armstrong &Kotler, 2011) This element is the one that helps with enticing the customers to buy their products and services. Promotions are done in numerous ways. Ways of promotion may include, but are not limited to, deals, rebates, discounts and internet sales. “Deals are short-term price reductions, commonly used to increase trial among potential customers or to retaliate against a competitor’s action”. (Kerin, Hartley & Rudelius, 2011) Deals and discounts are a very common way of promotion. Almost all retailers use deals in order to bring in existing, as well as, new customers. Sprint sometimes will have deals where you can add a particular feature to your phone service; like texting. These deals go on for a particular amount of time just so you can try it for a discounted price in hopes to get you to purchase the feature.
One common promotion that Sprint offers is rebates. Sprint gives out rebate promotions on some of their phones. A rebate, for example, is when a phone is purchased and the company (like Sprint) is willing to give you a portion or all of the money you paid for the phone for using their service. You will not be able to buy a phone without the service in order to get the rebate. At times the rebate is given when trying a new phone that they are piloting. Internet promotions are another way of getting people to buy products and services. Although Sprint is over both the store and the websites, they were able to provide in store special promotions that customers were not able to receive online.
The same went for their website; they were able to provide online specials that were not given in the store. Most of the time the promotions were on phones; customers were able to purchase phones with a special on service or customers were able to purchase phones that have been refurbished or used. These particular internet promotions were not available if the customer went to the store and said that they saw the promotion online and ask if the store would honor it. Unfortunately, the answer to the customer’s question would be no.
The four Ps serve as the four main parts of the marketing mix. As shown each one of them has an individual function. Each element is equally important on its own as well as a whole of the marketing mix. All of the elements are an effective part of a successful combination. The combination consists of reaching the customer’s needs and wants and the company’s ability to produce revenue and profits. The four P elements of the marketing mix is one of the most crucial parts of a company’s marketing today and it proves to be a bit complicated at times. At times, not all customers will be satisfied and the company might suffer a loss but the ultimate goal is to be successful by any means using the help of the four Ps.
Armstrong, G. & Kotler, P. (2011). Marketing: An Introduction. (10th ed.). Upper Saddle
River, NJ: Prentice Hall
Kerin, R. A., Hartley, S. W. & Rudelius, W. (2011). Marketing (10th ed.). New York, NY:
Sprint.com (2012) About Sprint. Retrieved on December 20, 2012 from