Defining the Marketing Mix
Reaching Customers through the Marketing Mix
The value proposition is a simple, powerful statement of value, but it is only the tip of the iceberg. How do marketing professionals ensure that they are reaching and delivering value to the target customer?
Take yourself, as a “target customer.” Think about your cell phone. What would make you want to buy a new one? How might the following issues affect your purchasing decision?
- Features: A company has just released a new phone with amazing features that appeal to you.
- Price: You’re concerned about the price—is this phone a good deal? Too expensive? So cheap that you suspect there’s a “catch”?
- Information: How did you find out about this phone? Did you see an ad? Hear about it from a friend? See pictures and comments about it online?
- Customer service: Is your cell service provider making it easier for you to buy this phone with a new plan or an upgrade?
- Convenience: Could you easily buy it online in a moment of indulgence?
You can see there are multiple factors that might influence your thinking and decision about what to buy—a mix of factors. Taken together, these factors are all part of the “marketing mix.”
Organizations must find the right combination of factors that allow them to gain an advantage over their competitors. This combination—the marketing mix—is the combination of factors that a company controls to provide value to its target customers.
Evolving Definitions of the Marketing Mix
There are a few different ways the marketing mix is presented. During the 1950s the components of the marketing mix were conceived as the “four Ps” and were defined as follows:
- Product: the goods and services offered
- Promotion: communication and information
- Place: distribution or delivery
- Price: ensuring fair value in the transaction
Today, this categorization continues to be useful in understanding the basic activities associated with marketing. The marketing mix represents the way an organization’s broad marketing strategies are translated into marketing programs for action.
Over time, new categories of the marketing mix have been proposed. Most are more consumer oriented and attempt to better fit the movement toward a marketing orientation and a greater emphasis on customer value. One example is the four Cs, proposed by Robert F Lauterborn in 1990:
- Customer solution: what the customer wants and needs
- Communication: a two-way dialogue with the customer
- Convenience: an easy process to act or buy
- Cost: the customer’s cost to satisfy that want or need