Basics Marketing Communications & Fundamentals Every Business Should be Using
Most business owners and managers have heard about the marketing mix or the 4Ps of marketing. The topic has been covered in-depth via many sources including E. Jeerome McCarthy who developed the concept, so I will not repeat what has already been written. What I want to focus on is how the marketing mix applies to the digital economy, and how to use it to develop a sound digital marketing strategy best suited to your brand.
What is the Marketing Mix?
Let’s quickly recap what the elements of the marketing mix consist of and how they apply to your marketing strategies.
Philip Kotler defines the marketing mix as a “set of marketing tools that the firm uses to pursue its marketing objectives in the target market.”
This means that every business has at least four elements that they need to integrate into their marketing plan to ensure the business is successful. These includes:
The concept of Marketing Mix aka 4 Ps was coined in the 1960s and has been a go-to model for marketing strategies. But, times have changed. With the arrival of the Internet and smartphones the concepts of product, price, place, and promotion also need to change.
The Digital Marketing Mix
A product refers to any item that intends to satisfy the needs and wants of a target customer. This can be physical (tangible) or services (non-tangible). Products can be anything from a keyboard to tires, to bungee jumping or home insurance. While this definitions still generally hold true, the ways that products and services are delivered and experienced by consumers have drastically changed.
People used to go to brick-and-mortar stores and speak face-to-face with salespeople, far more often than they do now. The journey of finding a product, testing it and deciding to purchase was much shorter, and there were far fewer options to distract a consumer from deviating from a particular product or company.
The modern consumer has more choices, and can access them in the digital space with mind-blowing speed. There are millions of reviews, opinions and caveats to consider, all at the click of a button.
Because consumers now have so many options, and because competition is so fierce, a company that fails to exhibit a keen sense of its customers’ desires will fade into the digital background and ultimately fail.
In the digital age, “Product” is no longer just about meeting a demand among your customers. Every product and service has to first reflect the nuanced experiences and wishes of your customer and do it better than your competitor.
Marketers must always have a clear concept of what their products stand for, and what differentiates them from the competition, before they can be marketed successfully. The modern customer expects you to exceed, and not only meet their expectations. This poses a challenge in creating your product and selling proposition. You not only need to deliver on your promise (which is a given today), but over deliver. This makes it vital for marketers to fully understand the product they are selling, how it meets the needs of their target customer, and what makes their product stand above the competition.
Once a concrete understanding of the product offering is established we can start making some pricing decisions. Price determinations will impact profit margins, supply, demand and marketing strategy. Similar (in concept) products and brands may need to be positioned differently based on varying price points.
Pricing has always been an essential aspect of every customer during shopping. People usually prefer to compare different features of products before buying them and pricing comes last, but pricing changes consumer behavior within a fraction of seconds.
This single factor has so much importance, that many marketers decide against adding a new line of products that actually solves an issue if they know that the price will be unsuitable for their target audience. Hence, the need to strike that fine balance between price and value so that both your brand and your customers will benefit is more important than ever before.
Value is also essential in making your brand stand out among all the competitors. Digital marketers are required to emphasize and follow through on presenting the value of choosing one brand over another. They have to build strong relations that appease the clients even after the sale to buy in their loyalty and sincerity. Loyal clients are great for promoting and advocating, by spreading words by way of mouth or online recommendations and citations.
More than ever, brands need to justify the price they put on their products and services. With so many other options to choose from, and many brands that differentiate themselves clearly in the market, you need to make sure your customers know what they are paying for. Thankfully, your brand can utilize online coupons and personalized discounts to make your offers more alluring and attract more people initially.
Considering the wider reach of modern brands, and the fact that so many digital businesses don’t really have any real geographical borders when it comes to serving customers, placement has been redefined. Placing your service or products at its core refers to the idea of distribution. How will customers find and purchase what you’re trying to sell? Will it be sold in retail stores or exclusively online?
Each marketplace, physical as well as digital, carries its own risks and potential setbacks to anticipate and resolve so that your product can actually be found in the right place, at the right time, and at the right price.
In the world of digital marketing there are multiple ‘places’ online to sell your product. Your main website should show off your product and communicate the style and brand image you are trying to present.
Along with your website there are multiple online stores that you could consider using; Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Shopclues, to name a few. Other digital places you should consider are different social networking sites. Think about which social channels suits your product and audience best.
How do you make your offers known to your audience? The answer to this question is also the definition of the third P. Unlike what brands have done in the past, when this marketing mix was invented, digital marketers need to go above and beyond to make each promotional statement count. Digital marketers no longer use TV and radio ads, or billboards only. They focus more on digital marketing channels like social networks, websites, content distribution platforms, in-app ads, and the like.
When used effectively, the 4Ps of the digital marketing mix can help guide and direct your marketing and business strategies. They help marketers and businesses learn more about their customers’ needs and buying behaviors.
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