How to Enhance Sales by Applying the Right Marketing Mix
Sales and marketing go hand in hand.
- May 26, 2020
- Growing Your Business
- 7 min read
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All too often, we think about marketing as being advertising and nothing else. Although advertising is a vital element of marketing, it’s only one piece of the puzzle for success. Effective marketing is complex and involves a wide range of areas.
One key aspect of effective marketing is developing your business’ marketing mix, which can enhance your sales. Read on to find out how to get more out of your business by applying the right marketing mix.
A marketing mix is a way to take a new product or service to market. Your marketing mix helps you define your marketing options to match a specific customer need or demand. These marketing options have been traditionally viewed in terms of four marketing-mix elements, also known as the 4Ps:
The 4Ps of marketing are one way of summing up the marketing mix. Developed by a marketer named Jerome McCarthy in the 1960s, the 4Ps are still generally accepted and make excellent sense. Keeping the 4Ps in mind helps marketing departments maintain focus, rather than spinning out into inefficient tasks.
Here’s a look at the individual marketing mix elements that comprise the 4Ps:
The fundamental nature of a product, whether tangible or intangible, is an item or service designed to satisfy a customer’s need or desire.
But products have a life cycle and competitors to deal with. So, unless your idea is completely novel, you need to determine whether your product is in a growth, maturity or decline phase. You’ll also need to figure out what differentiates your product or service from competing ones.
To enhance your approach to your product strategy, ask yourself these questions:
- What need does your product fulfill, and who will buy it?
- How and where will it be used?
- What features will be required for your product to fulfill a need?
- Is your product’s name appropriate and memorable?
- Will you offer variants?
- Does it look good?
- What’s your competitive edge? Is your product really better than what your competitors offer?
Your product development phase should start with marketing research, which will help identify if there’s an emerging opportunity for your product in the market. Your focus can be on a brand-new product, or you can choose a refashioned existing product that has fallen off with consumers due to various reasons, such as being technologically out-of-date.
Your marketing manager should determine and describe the consumer need the product is satisfying, the product’s life cycle, the resources required to make your product or service and its competitiveness on the market.
It’s not just about setting a price that’s profitable. Your pricing will create certain perceptions and get specific reactions from consumers. Price too high, and no one will buy what you’re offering. On the other hand, price too low, and people will think it’s cheap and possibly inferior. Understanding your consumer and your market is essential in determining a pricing strategy.
Here are some examples of pricing strategy for your marketing mix:
- Market Penetration Pricing: Charging initially low prices to quickly attract new customers, gaining market share and then gradually increasing prices.
- Market Skimming Pricing: Selling for the highest price consumers will pay and then decreasing prices over time, which is a common strategy with technological products.
- Neutral Pricing: Charging consumers what they’d expect to pay for similar products.
Your price should be based on several factors — one being the consumer’s willingness to pay. The other key factor is to construct a price that fits within your operating profit margins and long-term marketing strategy.
Additionally, marketing researchers and managers must consider cost-based pricing, taking the costs related to research and development; manufacturing, marketing and distribution into consideration when setting a product price.
In terms of the marketing mix 4Ps, place refers to distribution of your product and how it will be made available to your customers. Use market research to help you determine distribution locations that best reach your target customer.
For example, if your product is widely available, like toothpaste, you’ll have broader distribution options. If, however, your product is more specialized and expensive, like solar panels, your distribution options will be more limited.
Where you offer your product is a vitally important element of your marketing mix. After all, a jeweler isn’t likely to be a profitable business owner if he sets up shop in an industrial area, and a builder will probably be regarded with suspicion if he sets up shop in a high-end mall.
If you’re selling to retailers, you need to decide whether or not you’re going to be picky about who you supply and how this could affect your business.
Some important questions to ask about your product placement:
- Where would clients look for your product?
- How would you get access to the kind of store or online presence that would get noticed?
- Can your distribution strategy or business placement give you a competitive edge?
- Do you have a strong online or brick-and-mortar presence already?
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Last, but not least, there’s promotion — the P that everyone thinks of in connection with marketing. Promotion includes several aspects, such as advertising, sales promotion, personal selling and public relations.
What’s more, when crafting your promotional mix, you should create a marketing campaign that incorporates details from the other 4Ps to reach your target customers. Plan your promotional strategy as carefully as you planned for your product, distribution and pricing strategies.
Here are some important questions to ask yourself regarding the promotion of your product:
- How can you make yourself heard in your market?
- Is timing important?
- Can you leverage social media?
- How are your competitors promoting their products?
The job of marketing managers is to determine which marketing platforms will provide the best means of communicating the message of the promotion. Generally, in developing your marketing mix, promotion almost always comes after the pricing and placement decisions have been made, so you can include this information in advertisements.
Knowing your market is the most important consideration in developing a marketing mix that will appeal to the consumer. Before you can market, you need to know who you are targeting.
The additional three P’s are generally considered to be most useful in developing the right marketing mix for a service offering. However, they can also be applied to products. Here’s what you need to know about each one.
This P is not only about the people that you hope to influence into buying your product. It is also about the people you employ, too. Knowing the extent and demographics of your target market isn’t going to be enough unless you can get the right people on your side to make it all work. Your employees directly or indirectly impact the quality of the service you provide.
To improve the people element of your marketing mix, figure out answers to the following questions:
- How will you hire or train the right people to present your product to the market?
- How will you motivate your employees so that they genuinely believe in your product?
- How can you ensure that your staff will offer better service than your competitors do?
Regardless of whether you are offering a tangible or intangible product, your staff could give you the competitive edge you need to win more market share. Therefore, you should view your employees as an investment, developing their skills and experience in interacting with customers, which will lead to more sales for your business.
Efficient processes allow you to deliver services in a professional way, saving you time and money. While processes will vary from industry to industry and business to business, all processes should be consistent. This will help ensure your customers’ experience is consistent as well.
It’s important to develop your processes in advance. As you implement your new processes, you may find that you need to make changes. However, having a clear roadmap to start off with means that you’ll be tweaking the processes rather than reinventing them.
Physical evidence refers to the physical properties of the services or tools you use to market your service. Physical evidence is crucial to services-industry businesses because it is inherently different from a products-based business.
If you’re producing a product, your product offers all the physical evidence that’s needed to show that you actually delivered something. Your customers can physically see and touch your product. In the services industry, the question becomes more complex.
Branding is a popular form of physical evidence used in the service industry. Think about the gym you belong to. If it’s a leading establishment, you’re confronted with its brand from the time you walk in the door until the moment you leave. As a result, its name trips off your tongue whenever the conversation turns to fitness.
With effective branding, you can establish your service business in the hearts and minds of your target.
Having a clear understanding of the marketing mix you plan to apply to your product can help you maximize your profits.
In the process of evaluating your products according to any one of the models presented, you’ll be able to compile valuable information regarding your market, determine how and where to make your product available and decide how much it should cost. By doing your homework, you can ensure that you apply the maximum amount of effort to the market segments who are most likely to become your clients.
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