MARKETING MIX ELEMENTS
The marketing management process is the process of (1) planning marketing activities, (2) directing the implementation of the plans, and (3) controlling these plans.
The job of planning strategies a whole company is called strategic (management) planning – the managerial process of developing and maintaining a match between an organization’s resources and its market opportunities. This is a top management job that includes planning not only for marketing activities but also for production, research and development, and other functional areas.
Marketing strategy planning means finding attractive opportunities and developing profitable marketing strategies.
A marketing strategy specifies a target market and a related marketing mix. It is a “big picture” of what a firm will do in some market. Two interrelated parts are needed:
1. A target market – a fairly homogeneous (similar) group of customers to whom a company wishes to appeal.
2. A marketing mix – the controllable variables the company puts together to satisfy this target group.
There are many possible ways to satisfy the needs of target customers. A product can have many different features and quality levels. Service levels can be adjusted. The package can be of various sizes, colours, or materials. The brand name and warranty can be changed. Various advertising media – newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and billboards – may be used. A company’s own sales force or other sales specialists can be used. Different prices can be charged. Price discounts may be given, and so on.
It is useful to reduce all the variables in the marketing mix to four basic ones:
Customer is not part of the marketing mix. The customer should be the target of all marketing efforts. The customer is placed in the centres of the diagram to show this. The C stands
for some specific customers – the target market.
WHAT IS A PRODUCT?
Product means the need – satisfying offering of a firm. The idea of “Product” as potential customer satisfaction or benefits is very important. Many business managers – trained in the production side of business – get wrapped up in the technical details. They think of product in terms of physical components, like transistors and screws. These are important to them, but components have little effect on the way most customers view the product. Most customers just want a product that satisfies their needs.
Because consumers buy satisfaction, not just parts, marketing managers must be constantly concerned with product quality. This may seem obvious, but the obvious is sometimes easy to overlook. In the 1980s, many U.S. firms learned this lesson the hard way when Japanese and European competitors stole market share by offering customers higher quality products. But what does “high quality” mean? Companies focus on better quality control in production – so that products work as they should and consumers really get what they think they’re buying. But quality means more than that.
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