Internet Marketing Talk: What is a Marketing Mix?
While Purple Tie Guys are mostly disciplined in the form of internet marketing, we do acknowledge that there is an appropriate time and place for traditional marketing formats. But why? Shouldn’t we, as a digital company, discourage or at least underplay the use of traditional media marketing. Honestly, to dismiss a traditional avenue of marketing promotion entirely would be shortsighted. That is because any marketer worth their paycheck knows to keep their options open when coming up with a compatible marketing mix. What is a marketing mix, and when does a traditional marketing format come into play over the internet marketing version?
The Basics of a Marketing Mix
A marketing mix is a combination of 4 “P’s”. They are product, price, place, and promotion. While there are oftentimes debate over just how many p’s to add in the term, the average consensus is just the 4. In a perfect world, a marketer will have control over all four of the “p'”s. But, oftentimes, the job of the marketer is limited to the demands and resources that the client has available to them.
Aside: In my experience, marketers have little control over the actual product or the price because that is oftentimes already determined by the client. Unless you are in charge of creating your own products or are working with a company from concept to execution, marketers might not even have any control over 2 of the 4 P’s in place. However, I will still include product and price, because they are still viable strategies when it comes to adjustment in the marketing mix.
This part of the marketing mix can range from a tangible good to an intangible service. It is the feature that is going to be promoted. And if you have any hope of promoting it to the right people for the right purpose, you need to understand it inside and out. That means a thorough examination of the product or service itself. Usually, it is best to apply a Socratic line of questioning to at least get a grasp of what it is and who it is meant for.
A few of these questions include:
- What can a customer expect to get from this product/ service?
- What features does it have to meet customer needs?
- Are there any features you’ve missed out?
- Is there a reason why that feature is missing in the first place?
- Are you including features that the customer won’t actually use?
- Is it breaking the bank for both the customer and the manufacturer?
- Did the development of the product or service go through the proper legal channels and regulations?
- How and where will the customer use it?
- What does it look like? How will customers experience it?
- What size(s), color(s), and so on, should it be?
- How is it going branded?
- How can you differentiate it from the competition?
This part of the marketing mix can be determined even less by an internet marketing company or a traditional one. This is simply due to the fact that value is determined by the consensus of the market place and the inclusion of tax fees from the local and federal government. However, the adjustments can be made to affect the clientele’s perception of pricing appropriateness.
For example, you might want to charge a little lower if the target demographic you are aiming for is a bargain bin hunter. Or, you might charge more, just to increase the perception of importance/ necessity to a potential client. What’s more, some people are more willing to buy an item that visually appears cheaper. In spite of the fact, it is objectively the same price across the board. $12.99 just looks better to some people than $13.00.
Also, if you are just dying to move product because there is damage to the packaging, then you can clearance it out, and still have a shot of moving a product that you previously had little chance of moving before.
This is because price sensitivity changes from client to client because their mindsets vary according to the situation. Just be observant and figure out the behavior of your buyers for a more effective sales tactic.
This one is the one that most people come to marketers for in general. Promotion is about: What the message is, the way it is given to an audience, and the likelihood it is to entice a person.
Most marketers utilize something like demography to figure out what medium their target audience is most likely using. There is also the matter of timing, which is the right point the message should be heard, and how often that target audience should hear it. After all, people get annoyed FAST when they start seeing Christmas promotions around August on their television screens. It is a delicate balance of finding where your target market is, analyzing their habits, and relaying the message in the correct way to garner a positive result.
Aside: If your client is unwilling to budge on timing, avenue, or even the message, especially if you have shown them your research, then there is really no point in working for them. There is at least a fiscal argument to Price. The argument for Product comes from the fact that it’s already mostly developed to the point of inflexibility. However, if the rigidity extends to the point where they are insistent that they know what they are doing, there is no point in leading that horse to water anymore.
This one is about product distribution more than anything else. After all, you don’t want people just to see the advertising. You also want to make sure the product is just as easily distributed. Even if the product is abstract, like a web service, if you are unable to provide what you claim to have or keep channels of communication open about its development, you are going to look like a con artist.
So, take the time to figure out where your target market is getting the stuff from. How easy can you distribute the product to other people? What is a cost-effective way to distribute your product? Should it appear easily available to a large public, or should it appear specialized and scarce? This is the part where the magic happens. If you can’t give your customers a good impression of your product or service, you are not going to be able to keep their money for long.
Whether you are an internet marketing company or a traditional entity, the best you can do is to look at the situation from all angles. The 4 P’s are certainly a good start. However, you need to go above and beyond if you want serious results. That usually involves putting yourself in the shoes of your client. Or humbling yourself to ask questions and get insight from others.