The marketing mix refers to the ingredients or the tools or the variables which the marketer mixes in order to interact with a particular market.
The marketing mix is the term used to describe the combination of the four inputs which constitute the core of a company’s Marketing System, the product, the price structure, the promotional activities and the distribution system.
The marketing mix is the essence of any marketing endeavour. It is the main building block of the marketing efforts of a firm.
It is the concept of marketing on one side there is a customer and on the other side, there is a producer or marketer.
The firm looks for having transactions with the customer but to have a transaction the firm has to develop a product or service, design it, pack it, name it, price it, promote it and distribute it.
All these decisions are the core of the marketing mix. The elements of the marketing mix can be classified into four categories and through fine mixing of these elements, superior value products or services are created for customers.
Elements of Marketing Mix
The four main elements of the marketing mix are :
- Place / physical Distribution
The product element of the marketing mix signifies the tangible or intangible product offered to the customer which is the satisfier of the need. The product is a bundle of utilities.
The product mix record two important occasions related to the products such as quality of products, design of the product, packing of product, etc.
Another important thing included in the product mix is a product assortment. It refers to the number of products and items a particular producer offers to the market. For example, the Hindustan Lever is dealing with soaps, detergents, tea, toothpaste, etc.
When a firm starts its marketing operations it starts with one product but later on it expands and diversifies its activities by introducing more varieties of products or more lines of products, for example, Nirma made its entry with the detergent powder but slowly it got entered into other lines of products such as salt, soap, toothpaste, etc.
Important Components of Product Mix
One of the most important decisions that a marketer has to take in the area of a product in respect of ‘branding’ is that he has to decide whether the firm’s product will be marketed under a brand name or a generic name.
The generic name refers to the name of a whole class of the product for example soap is a generic name but Lux is a brand name.
The companies always supply the products in packaged form, for example, Coke comes in bottle, Biscuits in wrapper, Oil in a jar, etc.
Packaging is the basic activity of every company. It can be defined as “A set of tasks or activities which are concerned with the designing, production of an appropriate wrapper, container or bag for the product.
Labelling means putting identification marks on the package.
The label is the carrier of information. It provides information like – name of the product, name of the manufacturer, contents of products, expiry and manufacturing date, general instruction for use, weight, price, etc.
Price is the value that a buyer passes on to the seller in lieu of the product or service provided. Price is the crucial element of the marketing mix because the customer is very sensitive to this element.
Little variation in the price may shift your customer to competitor’s products, for example, if the price of Pepsi is changed from ₹8 to ₹ 8.50 then the customer will start demanding coke which is still available at ₹8.
It is therefore important that the pricing decisions are taken with care and caution. The price must match the utility offered by the product or service. The customer is always ready to pay a price equal to the utilities he gets from the product.
It refers to important decisions relating to fixing of the price of a commodity. These decisions can be related to the price of competitors, decisions related to the demand, decisions related to fixing cost, etc.
C. Place / Physical Distribution
Place refers to the set of decisions that need to be taken in order to make the product available.
If the products are not made available to the customers at the right place at the right time then customers would not be able to buy them.
Place element is a process by which the goods are transferred from the place of production to the place of consumption.
Place mix referred to important decisions related to the physical distribution of goods and services. These decisions are deciding the channel of distribution, market for distribution etc.
The Promotion element of the marketing mix is concerned with activities that are undertaken to communicate with customers and distribution channels to enhance the sales of the firm.
The promotional complications aim at informing and persuading the customer to buy the product and informing him about the merits of the products.
It refers to all the decisions related to the promotion of sales of products and services. The important decisions of promotion Mix are selecting advertising media, selecting promotional techniques, using publicity measures and public relations, etc.
There are various tools and elements available for promotion. These are adopted by firms to carry on their promotional activities. The marketer generally chooses a combination of these promotional tools.
Following are the tools or elements of promotion. They are also called elements of promotion mix :
- Sales promotion
- Personal selling
- Public relations
Advertisement can be defined as the “paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of Idea, good or services by an identified sponsor”.
It is an impersonal presentation where a standard or common message regarding the merits, price and availability of a product or service is given by the producer or marketer.
The advertisement builds a pull effect as advertising tries to pull the product by directly appealing to customers to buy it.
2. Sales Promotion
Sales promotion refers to the short term use of incentives or other promotional activities that stimulate the customer to buy the product. Sales promotion techniques are very useful because they bring:-
- Short and immediate effect on sale.
- Stock clearance is possible with sales promotion.
- Sales promotion techniques help to win over the competitor.
3. Personal Selling
Personal selling means selling personally. This involves face-to-face interaction between seller and buyer for the purpose of sale.
Personal selling does not mean getting the prospects to desire what the seller wants but the concept of personal selling is also based on customer satisfaction.
Apart from four major elements of the marketing mix, another important tool of marketing is maintaining Public Relations.
In simple words, public relations means maintaining public relations with the public. By maintaining public relations, companies create goodwill.