To become a successful business or company, successful marketing is required in order to remain in business. In order to have a strategic plan, a marketing mix is needed. . Perrault, Cannon and McCarty define marketing mix, “the controllable variables the company puts together to satisfy this target group (2012).” The marketing mix is an item that is created to have the customer as the focus of the mix since the customer is the most important item to a business as they will either create a profit or loss. In a business type that there are many competitors, how does one company stand out? This is the question that businesses spend millions of assets to answer on a yearly basis.
There are many items that cannot be controlled by the company which include customer, but there are many items that can be and are known as the “Four Ps of a Marketing Mix.” The Four Ps in marketing are: product, place, promotion and price. For a business to be successful, all four items will need to reach out to the customer and appeal to them in order for the product or service to be purchased.
The product or service the business is providing will need to be appealing to customers. When marketing the product, it is necessary to demonstrate how the product is of higher quality from the competitors and is a needed item for consumers.
The placement of the product or service will need to be researched to maximize the highest potential return for the customer. A taxi cab service may not be needed in a small town of 500 people and would surely result in the business failing compared to a city like Las Vegas, Nevada which as a large number of tourist every year.
Promotion is needed to allow the public to know of the company and find more information about the product or service. Promotion can vary from advertising, sales promotions and training of salespeople.
The price is very important to any company. If the price is set to low, a profit will not be created and if the price is set to high, customers may not purchase the item or service. This can be flexible due to seasons or discounts that a company may give as a part of the promotional area.
Four P’s in Practice
A company that has placed the four as foundation to their success is Health Care Service Corporation (HSCS). HCSC is the largest non-profit health insurer in the United States and fourth largest overall. Many customers know HCSC as the plans they administer under its Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Montana (“Hcsc overview”, 2013).
The product of HCSC is not only medical insurance but also has affiliates and subsidiaries in many related lines of business like: Dearborn National, Dental Network of America, Medecision Inc., Avility, Prime Therapeutics, TMG Health, and Bloom Health. Most companies can work together to make insurance simpler for a customer. The medical insurance is handled under one of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans; dental insurance can be handled by Dental Network of America.
Prime Therapeutics is a pharmacy benefit manager while Dearborn National underwrites and market group, life, disability, dental, worksite and voluntary life insurances. And to allow provider to submit their claims via an internet exchange service, Availity will handle that operation. To prevent additional charges or fee for different companies all these type of insurance, one company is able to offer all the services to employers and individual customers.
The placement of the company with in states of Texas and Illinois allows it to have millions of members and thousands of potential customers available to them. With Texas having the highest percentage of uninsured population compared to the rest of the United States, it allows the company create customer relationship with the people in Texas (“Quick Statistics on the Uninsured in Texas and the U.S.”, 2013)
To promote the company, HCSC shows the community that they care for their customers and neighbors by several programs including “Care Van Outreach”. The outreach program will collaborate with several partners and provide free immunization for children in the states they operate in. In Texas alone, from June of 1997 through December 2012, the Caring for Children Foundation’s Texas Care Van program has given 1,022,875 immunizations to 640,140 children (“HCSC Disease Prevention”, 2013). Another item the company promotes is via advertisement via local media like television, newspapers, and social media.
The company sets the price for its items related to their customers. Due to the company being a consumer-owned health company, they do not have to increase prices for investors or shareholders. The company has even been known terminate provider’s contracts due to companies threatening to increase healthcare cost. In June 2013, Memorial Hermann Health System threatens to end their contract if their profits were not increased. This demand would cause the company’s customers to have additional premium increased which HCSC responded by informing customers that there were other facilities and medical groups in the Houston area that would remain contracting and provide services to their customers. Because of this response, Memorial Hermann decided to continue their agreement with HCSC and prevent the loss of millions of patients they see every year.
The four Ps are essential to any company surviving into today’s economy and the steps and measures that HCSC has taken to make the customer the focus of their company will allow the company to be successful while adapting to changes in healthcare reform.
Perreault, W. D. Jr., Cannon, J. P., & McCarthy, E. J. (2011).Basic marketing: A marketing strategy planning approach (18th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin. HCSC Overview. (2013). Retrieved from
http://www.hcsc.com/overview.html Quick Statistics on the Uninsured in Texas and the U.S. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.texmed.org/Template.aspx?id=5519 HCSC Disease Prevention. (2013). Retrieved from http://http://www.hcsc.com/disease_prevention.html