The marketing mix is an internal analysis of the situation of the company based on the study of what are called the 4Ps or the four fundamental variables in the commercial strategy of a company: price (price), product (product), distribution (place) and promotion (promotion). It is done fundamentally before implementing a new strategy in order to know the strengths and weaknesses and be able to achieve maximum profitability.
The term marketing mix was coined in 1960 by econonist E. Jerome McCarthy, but its validity remains in effect nearly 60 years later. The main variation that has suffered over the years has been the transition from 4Ps to 8Ps defined by Philip Kotler at the end of the nineties, the result of the modification in the marketing approach. The American economist then added: people, physical evidence, process and strategic alliances.
Despite being a fully valid concept in the twenty-first century, it is necessary to contemplate it from the same perspective as marketing in general and take into account the fundamental change that the discipline has undergone. When McCarthy first defined the marketing mix, marketing focused on the product you wanted to promote and its characteristics in order to convince the customer to induce their purchase. At present, the user has become the center of everything and, to succeed, it is mandatory to define the 4Ps from another approach. On the other hand, it is necessary to take into account that, with the development of the digital sector, the increase in the sale of services competes in importance with that of physical products.
What are the 4Ps of the marketing mix?
The classic marketing mix focused only on the four variables that it considered crucial in any commercial strategy and that can be summarized in the following:
The product (or service) is the most important variable. It is essentially the element with which the company intends to satisfy the customer’s need, although it also contemplates other complementary aspects such as packaging, after-sales service, warranty, etc. That is, not only is a product valued as something tangible, but all the additional features that make it the best option are taken into account.
The marketing department must have this element perfectly defined from the beginning. To do this, the market, competition and the consumer are studied, in addition to having a clear calculation of production costs in advance. The price of a product is a very important value, not only because it will determine the income of the company, but also because it serves as a psychological factor that denotes whether a product is exclusive and luxurious or if, on the contrary, it aims to reach as many audiences as possible.
Like the price, it is imperative to know in advance how and where you want to sell a product depending on the image you want to offer. But this variable does not take into account only that, but includes inventory management, distribution channels to points of sale (the form of shipping if it is an e-commerce), etc.
It is fundamentally the communication that is made about a product or service. To do this, it will be necessary to develop a marketing plan in which the channels that will be used to reach the customer are defined: direct marketing, advertising, public relations, communication in social networks, etc. The analysis of the return on investment (ROI) will influence the choice of one channel or another.
The 8Ps of Digital Marketing
As we have already mentioned, marketing is a discipline that has evolved in parallel to the habits of purchase and promotion and in which, therefore, the rule of 4Ps was no longer valid. At least as we knew it so far. Therefore, it has become imperative to expand the approach and include four other new variables:
It refers to the human team that makes up the company, not to potential customers. The appearance of this new variable is closely related to the emotional component very present today in purchases. Taking care of people ends up being an investment in the future. On the one hand, because the results of a motivated worker are much more positive and on the other, because this human group will strive to transmit the values and image of the company abroad.
- Physical appearance
The image is increasingly related to the principles of a company. Therefore, it is necessary to take care of all the elements that define it, such as the decoration of the premises, the atmosphere, the merchandising, etc. For example, the recent environmental revolution has induced the transformation of premises in which wood now abounds as a material and the green color is enhanced.
The process of making the product can be a competitive advantage if the benefits are maximized and at the same time it is possible to adapt it to the philosophy of the company that you want to transmit. For this, it is very important to carefully study the suitability of one or another raw material or the place where the product is made.
- Strategic alliances
It refers to the synergies that the company creates with other companies to drive its growth. For example, for an e-commerce it is essential to reach agreements with delivery companies to reduce costs with the highest quality of service. In this section would also enter the so-called ‘prescribers’, which can be ‘influencers’ with thousands of followers or simply users who recommend the purchase of a product and who are profitable for their reliability.