Meaning of Marketing Mix
The tools or ingredients or the variables mixed by the marketers to interact with a specific market are known as Marketing Mix. It is the essence of any marketing endeavour and is the main building block of the marketing efforts of an organisation. The concept of marketing says that on the side there is the producer or marketer and on the other side there is the customer. The organisation wants to have a transaction with the customers and to do so it has to first develop or produce a product or service, design it, pack it, price it, name it, label it, promote it, and distribute it. Every one of these decisions is the core of a marketing mix, which consists of four elements; viz., Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.
According to Phillip Kotler, “Marketing mix are the set of marketing tools that firm uses to pursue its marketing objectives in the target market.”
According to William J. Stanton, “Marketing mix is the term used to describe the combination of four inputs which constitute the core of a company’s marketing system, the product, the price structure, the promotional activities and the distribution system.”
Elements of Marketing MixAccording to McCarthy, the four elements of the marketing mix are as follows:
The first element of the marketing mix is Product, and it depicts the tangible or intangible goods offered by organisations to customers to satisfy their needs and wants. In simple terms, it is a bundle of utilities. Product Mix means the important decisions related to a product like the design of the product, quality of the product, quantity of the product, packaging of the product, etc. Besides these decisions, product assortment is also an essential part of the product mix. In simple terms, it means the number or volume of products and items a specific producer offers to the market. For example, ITC is an FMCG company and is dealing with different food products.
The essential components of the product mix are Branding, Packaging, and Labelling.
i) Branding: Under product mix, branding is one of the most important decisions taken by a marketer. Branding involves deciding whether the product of the firm will be marketed under a generic name or a brand name. The generic name is the name of the whole class of products. For example, soft drink is a generic name and Coca-Cola is a brand name.
ii) Packaging: It is the basic activity of every organisation and can be defined as a set of activities or tasks related to the designing, and production of an appropriate container, wrapper, bag, or box of the product. Packaging involves three levels; viz., Primary Packaging, Secondary Packaging, and Transportation Packaging.
iii) Labelling: It means putting identification marks on the package of the product. A label is the carrier of information regarding the product. The information provided on the label of a product includes the name of the product, its price, date of manufacturing, date of expiry, ingredients, warnings(if any), weight, etc.
Price is the value of a product or service passed on by the buyer to the seller. As a customer is very sensitive about the price of a product, it is a crucial element of the marketing mix. A slight shift by the organisation in the price of a product can shift the customers towards the competitor’s product. Therefore, Price Mix is an important decision and is related to the fixing of the price of a product or service. The decisions under price mix are related to the demand for the commodity, the price of competitors, etc.
While fixing the price of a commodity, the marketer should keep some factors in mind, such as pricing objectives, product cost, the extent of competition in the market, customer demand and utility, government and legal regulations, and marketing methods used.
3. Place/Physical Distribution
It is essential to make the product or service available to the customer at the right place and at the right time, then only the customer would be able to purchase the product or service. Place is an element of marketing and is a process of transferring goods from the place of production to the place of consumption. Therefore, Place Mix is an important decision and is related to the physical distribution of goods and services to the customers. The decisions under place mix include deciding the market for distribution, the channel of distribution, etc. Hence, the place mix consists of Channels of Distribution and Physical Movement of Goods. The two different channels of distribution are direct channel and indirect channel. And the components of physical distribution include order processing, transportation, warehousing, and inventory.
The last element of the marketing mix is promotion, which includes activities undertaken by the marketer to communicate with the customers and distribution channels so they can enhance the sales of the firm. Through promotional communication, an organisation aims to inform and persuade the customer to purchase the goods and inform him/her regarding the benefits of the product. Hence, Promotion Mix is an important decision and includes all decisions of an organisation related to the promotion of a sale of goods and services. Some of the important decisions under the promotion mix are selecting a media to advertise the product, selecting promotional techniques, public relations, etc.
The four major elements of the promotion mix are Advertising, Sales Promotion, Personal Selling, and Public Relations.
i) Advertising: Advertising means promoting the idea of a product or service through a non-personal presentation by an identified sponsor. It is a paid form of promotional activity and helps an organisation in connecting with customers indirectly. The basic features of advertising are reach, choice, legitimacy, expressiveness, economy, and enhancing customer satisfaction.
ii) Sales Promotion: Sales Promotion is a short-term use of the incentives or other promotional activities of an organisation that helps in stimulating the customer in buying the product. Some of the sales promotion techniques used by organisations are refunds, discounts, rebates, gifts or premiums, samples, contests, usable benefits, etc.
iii) Personal Selling: As the name suggests, personal selling means selling products personally. It involves face-to-face communication and interaction between the buyer and the seller with the motive of sale. Personal selling does not mean influencing the buyer in purchasing what the seller is selling, but providing satisfaction to the customer. Some of the basic features of personal selling are better response, personal interaction, relationships, etc.
iv) Public Relations: Public Relations means maintaining public relations with the public and by doing so, the organisations can create goodwill. According to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, Public Relations is a strategic management function that adds value to an organisation by helping it to manage its reputation.
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