Marketing Mix is a planned mix of the controllable elements of a product's marketing plan.Traditionally, elements of the marketing mix are often referred to as 4P:
Although Nickels and Jolson suggested the inclusion of Packaging as the 5th P in the 1970s, but it was not well accepted. In the meantime, three P have also been added to the marketing mix namely People, Process and Physical Evidence; which serve mainly the service industry and are widely recognized.
Also Read: 8P of Luxury Marketing
Nickels and Jolson's idea to include Packaging as one of the P has been examined through the years, now many marketers believe Packaging should be the 8th P in marketing mix.
In 2008, Bryan K. Law of Fox College of Business suggested Payment should also be included; as ease and security of transaction plays a crucial role in marketing, especially in this cyber age. It makes a total of 9 elements in marketing.
We advocate the idea of using all 9P in practicing marketing and using them to help businesses marketing their products. In the future, we will establish a platform where vendors can sell their products and services using the 9P and consumers can also participate in the marketing program.
There are many marketing jobs that require marketing skills - marketing plan, marketing proposal, marketing strategy, marketing research and marketing analysis. Once you are familiar with the use of marketing mix, you can play well in those areas too.
In marketing, a product is a tangible object or an intangible one for sale. Intangible products are service based like the transportation industry, hotel industry or insurance.
Examples of tangible object are gasoline and pen.To retain its competitiveness in the market, product differentiation is required and is one of the strategy to differentiate from its competitors.
For example, a luxury pen made with diamond and 18K gold can be marketed as a writing instrument; but it can also be marketed as a piece of jewellery and such positioning may differentiate it better and more efficiently.
A junk site for dumping used vehicles could be marketed as a dump site; but a smart consultant
changed it into a car dealership and sold it for 10 times of the original value.
Price is the amount that a product is asking in the market. It is determined by a number of factors including market share, competition, material costs, product identity and the customer's perceived value of the product. A business may increase or decrease the price of product if the product is in demand or other stores have the same product.
For the same product, the price may have different impact. Here is a real story:
A teenager asked his dad to give him one thousand dollars to buy a nice jacket in a department store. The dad struggled a little bit but handed the teenager one thousand dollars to buy the jacket. When the dad asked his son to show him the jacket the next day, his son handed back the money and said: "I didn't buy it."
"Why?" the dad asked.
"When I went to the department store this morning, I found out that the jacket was on sale. It is now selling for $300 only. I don't want to have a jacket that is sold for that cheap."
Promotion is all the communications that a marketer may use in the marketplace. It has four distinct elements: advertising, public relations, personal selling and sales promotion.
Not all products will fit in the same promotion. A designer brand will never use radio commercial to promote their brand image, while a politician will not use fashion magazines to promote their schemes.
Place represents the location where a product can be purchased or the channel where the product can go through to be placed for sale.Therefore, it is often referred to as the distribution channel.
Place may include any physical store as well as virtual stores on the Internet. However, Place may not be exactly a physical store where the product is for sale. Place is where the product is available or an image of the product is created in the mind of customers.
Channel may refer to the media, the network and the way how your message is delivered.
Here is a famous story to show how the place may affect marketing:
Two salesmen of a shoe factory were sent to a small country in Africa to explore business opportunity. When they came back, the boss interviewed them one by one.
The first salesman said: "Don't waste your time boss. All the people there do not wear shoes. There is no market for us."
The second salesman said: "No one there wear shoes. We will have millions of shoes sold and I think we should hire more people to make our production line 24/7."
All people involved with consumption of a service are important. For example workers, management, consumers etc.
People is an important factor in servicing industries - travel agencies, restaurants and hair salons. No two persons are the same and no two persons can provide the exact same service to customers. It is therefore important to recruit good people and maintain their good quality service in order to attract and keep the customers.
It is common to see: All our technicians are certified ... Our service consultants are all well trained and licensed ... All our instructors have over 10 years experience in the field .. etc etc. However, such 'guarantee' can only ensure their people achieve a certain level of education or experience.There is no assurance that their service will be good.
In order to standardize the effect and to minimize the gap among different people, Process is introduced.Process is the procedure, mechanism and flow of activities to provide service or to produce a product. The prevailing ISO standards (such as ISO 9001) are designed to help organizations ensure their process can meet the needs of customers and other stakeholders in their field.
A well organized and quality controlled process may reduce the impact of People.
Physical Evidence is the element that allows the consumers to make judgments on that organisation.
It includes some of the following:
- Paperwork (such as air tickets),
- Signage (such as those on aircraft and vehicles),
- Business cards.
Just imagine that if you bought a ticket of the 2008 Olympic Games via online; you would love to show your friends the 'official ticket' and keep it as a souvenir instead of printing a bar code from your computer. This is one of the examples for Physical Evidence.
Marketing people have always emphasized the importance of packaging as it is the way to make a first impression on the customers; especially for the products on shelves. However, some people believe Packaging should be a part of Product and some people think it is a part of Promotion.
Because of the advanced packaging today, products are now protected from contamination, crushing, breakage, and spoilage and it helps in the product to be unaffected from climatic conditions. Packaging is also helpful in elaborating necessary details about the product, company, quantity, ingredients, precautions and side effects etc.
In some extreme cases, such as some fancy Japanese products; the cost of packing may exceed the cost of the product itself in order to attract customers.
Some say the images of singers, actors and actresses are also packaging - they are what they projected in your mind. How to package an artist is the key to make a star.
In 2008, Bryan K. Law of Fox College of Business suggested Payment should also be included; as ease and security of transaction plays a crucial role in marketing, especially in this cyber age.
Payment is the consideration for the delivery of goods and services. It is an ease and security of transaction.
Traditionally the retailers would try to provide as many options of payment as possible for the convenience of their customers and hence attract more business. Cash, debit card, cheque, gift voucher, and different types of credit card (such as VISA, Master, American Express, Diners Club, JBC and Discovery) are commonly accepted in most establishments, especially the big ones. People do not expect to carry enough cash to dine in luxury restaurants or to buy designer brands in the shopping malls.
Many merchants offer bonus points to their customers, such as mileage points offered by airline companies, club points offered by retail stores and airtime points offered by mobile phone companies. These are all incentives to the customers, but the points are also a kind of payment itself.
In this cyber age, easy and security payment methods are essential for all online transactions. Can you imagine an online store that will accept only cash or ask its customers to send in bank draft for buying their products? Payment is not just a tool in marketing, it is one of the essences.
Now, many payment methods use RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology for faster and more secure payment method. MasterCard's Pay Pass, VISA's payWave and the Octopus cards are a few good examples.
- New Development – Digital Wallet
- Cell phone companies have launched the idea of digital wallet – using your cell phone make Payment and as a proof of ID.
- The 'smartphone-enabled wallet' allows consumers to purchase items simply by tapping their phone on a pad at the cash; much like a tap-and-pay credit card but it can also have GPS and ID to serve other purpose.