All marketing resources will eventually talk about your marketing mix, but what do they mean exactly? Marketing mix is a term that the marketing world tries to hold as a private term that only the industry knows about, but as a small business owner, you need to understand how to plan and implement your marketing mix.
The marketing mix is defined as the four P’s of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion. These four areas make up the complete outline for product or service marketing. Once you have defined the variables for each P, you have a basis for proper marketing.
Market research will play a major role in each area of your marketing mix. You must understand what you are competing with in regards to products and pricing. Although you may have a new and unique item with an innovative type of distribution, you still must compare your product or service to existing ones.
Here are the four P’s of your marketing mix for small business marketing.
P #1: Product
The product or service or selling must be defined first. What are you selling? How will it be packaged? Determine your product’s features, and then build the benefits from them. At this point, you will make all of the decisions relating to your product or service: style, quality, packaging, warranty, etc.
Pricing actually plays a vital role in the branding and image of your product. Determining your price can be difficult, especially if you product is in a widely-variable industry. You must determine pricing strategy, retail and wholesale pricing, possible bundling, and any type of discounts.
Place refers to how you will distribute the product. Will you sell to retail stores, or will you sell directly to customers? Is your product a wholesale item? The decisions made about distribution will affect your marketing mix in terms of how you will warehouse your products, how you will process orders, what types of channels will you use, and how will you cover the market.
Promotion is the area where you will make decisions on how people will learn about your product. What types of sales strategies and promotions will you use? What kind of sales force will you need to sell your product? How will you use public relations and publicity to support your product? There are many aspects of the promotion element of your marketing mix. In fact, the other three P’s will affect your promotion strategy.
Decide on the first three P’s before you tackle Promotion, but ultimately, each P will coordinate with the others. Once you complete your marketing mix decisions, review the entire plan to make sure you have a consistent and precise marketing mix plan in order to properly sell, distribute, and promote your product.