1.INTRODUCTION Marketing professionals and specialist use many tactics to attract and retain their customers. These activities comprise of different concepts, the most important one being the marketing mix. The marketing mix helps marketing companies to develop better strategies, so that the product or service they offer would target their target market accurately. When marketing a product the marketing company should have a unique selling proposition this attracts the audience’s attention. In the marketing world, there is plenty of theory and “how to” books to follow. However, the “seven P’s of marketing” are the key principles that guide our work. These seven aspects – product, price, place, promotion, people, processes, and physical evidence – make up the marketing mix. They are the things that marketers need to assess and tick off in order for any of our campaigns to be successful. These tips are practical, useful, and thanks to the alliteration, easy to remember.
2.WHAT ARE THE 7 P’S?
2.1.PRODUCT This is your core offering, the thing that your customer wants or needs. If there is something wrong with your product, your campaign has failed before it’s even started. Marketers aim to look at products from an outsider’s perspective. They ask questions such as, “is this product suitable in today’s market?” “How will it benefit customers?” “Do customers need or want this product?” They also compare the product with that of competitors, and determine its strengths, weaknesses, and whether it can be improved in some way. Product must provide value to a customer but does not have to be tangible at the same time. Basically, it involves introducing new products or improvising the existing products.
2.2.PRICE Naturally, price is a major factor when it comes to sales rates and customer satisfaction. Marketers frequently assess the price of products, and make a judgement about whether the price is right for the current market or target audience. Depending on sales, profit margins, and customer demand, the price may be lowered or raised. The key is to be open to the possibility that you may need to revise your prices to compete and survive in today’s marketplace. It must be competitive and must entail profit. The pricing strategy can comprise discounts, offers and the like.
2.3.PLACE It refers to the place where the customers can buy the product and how the product reaches out to that place. This is done through different channels, like Internet, wholesalers and retailers. Location is a very important consideration. The most successful marketers really think about the place where the customer encounters the salesperson, service, or product. The location can impact customer attitudes and sales, especially if that location has negative connotations attached to it. When marketing a product or service, ask these questions: “Is this the best place to reach my target audience?” “Will a change in location have a positive or negative effect on business?” “Where else can I sell my products and services?”
2.4.PROMOTION The way you promote your product or service has a significant impact on how your target audience views it. The promotion and positioning of your product need to align. For instance, it is probably not a good idea to sell luxury products in areas where most people are struggling to make ends meet. The right promotion will increase sales, brand awareness, and the rate of return customers. Promotion – It includes the various ways of communicating to the customers of what the company has to offer. It is about communicating about the benefits of using a particular product or service rather than just talking about its features.
Promotion is all about communication. Why because promotion is the way in a business makes its products known to the customers, both current and potential. The main aim of promotion is to ensure that customers are aware of the existence and positioning of products. Promotion is also used to persuade customers that the product is better than competing products and to remind customers about why they may want to buy. It is important to understand that a business will use more than one method of promotion. The variety of promotional methods used is referred to as the promotional mix. There are six main elements in a promotion mix. They are:
* product placement * merchandising * public relations/publicity * sponsoring * advertising * exhibitions
2.5.PEOPLE People refer to the customers, employees, management and everybody else involved in it. It is essential for everyone to realize that the reputation of the brand that you are involved with is in the people’s hands. People are absolutely essential when rolling out a product or service. This applies to the people working for your business, as well as the people who are receiving, buying, or benefiting from your product or service. To be successful in business, you need to attract the right people, and place the right people into the right positions. In addition, customers can be very demanding, so proper customer service training is crucial for success. People really are your most valuable assets, and they have the power to determine your success or failure.
2.6.PROCESSES It refers to the methods and process of providing a service and is hence essential to have a thorough knowledge on whether the services are helpful to the customers, if they are provided in time, if the customers are informed in hand about the services and many such things. Rules, standards, and policies are key to delivering a quality service. Process is all about being scrupulous, thorough, and paying close attention to detail. These qualities, while they may seem like minutiae, will enhance the way your work, products, and services are seen by customers. If you can keep your customers happy, then you will increase your chances of getting repeat business and word of mouth referrals.
2.7.PHYSICAL EVIDENCE The way a product or service is presented affects customer perceptions. Customers tend to evaluate and judge the quality of a product or service on what they can see, touch, feel, and hear. Therefore, it is important to make a good first impression. While packaging refers to the way your product or service appears from the outside, it also includes the appearance of your staff, offices, and marketing collateral. Everything you put out there is a reflection of your company, and can help or hurt your image. Keep in mind that customers’ purchase decisions can be easily swayed by the smallest of details. It also refers to the experience of using a product or service. When a service goes out to the customer, it is essential that you help him see what he is buying or not. For example- brochures, pamphlets etc serve this purpose.
3.A PRACTICAL EXAMPLE: THE MARKETING MIX OF MANCHESTER UNITED What are the main elements of the marketing mix of Manchester United? First of all the product includes providing an excellent football team that plays and wins in an exciting way. However, there are other ingredients of the product including merchandising such as the sale of shirts, and a range of memorabilia. The product also relates to television rights, and Manchester United’s own television channel. In one respect the place is Old Trafford where home games are played, but Manchester United also plays at a range of other venues.
And, of course its products are sold across the globe, through the club’s website and a range of other sales media. Manchester United markets itself as a global brand. The club also engages in a range of joint promotional activities, for example with the mobile phone company Vodafone. Manchester United books, shirts, programs, keyrings and many other items are sold and promoted through its website. The club has positioned itself at the upmarket premier end of the market and, as a result, it tends to charge premium prices as evidenced by the high cost of a season ticket to watch home league games. Positioning or repositioning a product – refers to locating that product within a market for example presenting it is an upmarket or downmarket product. Positioning it as a product for younger consumers or older consumers etc.
4.WHY ARE THE 7 P’S SO IMPORTANT? Advantages of the marketing mix include the fact that it gives organizations a standard for allocating resources, helps them plan their marketing based on selected criteria, and helps them effectively implement their stated objectives.
One of the advantages of the marketing mix is the fact that it allows various companies to look at the different marketing considerations with a view to finding out how best to allocate their resources. For instance, a company might decide that it will concentrate its marketing efforts on TV, radio and the Internet. Now that the company has an idea of the places it wants to use as a springboard for marketing its goods or services, it will be able to determine the cost for running those adverts in the chosen media formats. Having this information will enable the company to plan a budget for the marketing process and to allocate the funds accordingly.
This is in contrast to a company that does not have a clear idea of the preferred methods for marketing and that simply engages in any type of marketing that seems more convenient. Another one of the advantages of the marketing mix is that when companies know what type of marketing plan they want to implement, they can conduct the necessary research needed to fully implement the plan in conjunction with achieving maximum customer satisfaction. For instance, a company that decides to concentrate on the Internet and TV will know that most of its marketing efforts should be geared toward reaching the majority of its main consumers. Assuming the company produces women products, it will place its adverts in shows and programs that women watch the most as well as the Web sites that the majority of women visit often.
5.CONCLUSION In today’s fast-paced world, the 7 P’s are important in ensuring that your product and service is relevant and stands out to your customers and the market. All businesses should use the 7 P’s to guide their work, develop their brand, and evaluate the success of their products and services. By revisiting these 7 P’s, you will ensure that you are on track to achieving the best possible results in the current marketplace. The marketing mix is that it allows companies to effectively promote their products and services in the selected places. Promotion practices may include the reduction of the price of the products for a limited period, an offer for the customers to get a free sample product for each purchase, and an offer to ship goods to the customers for free. Such a mixture of marketing practices help the companies to reach their targets or objectives in an effective way.