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Modern Marketing

Almost every business on the planet sets out with the primary objective of making money. This is generally done by producing some form of product, or offering a service, and then charging people money for it. This fundamental theory is fairly straight-forward, though it contains many specific details.

First of all, it is a very rare case where a business can offer a product or service that is genuinely unique and cannot be supplied by anyone else. This means that your business will be competing with other businesses that sell a similar product and you will both be trying to earn money from the same shoppers, who only want to spend their money once.

Marketing is the main tool used by modern organisations to draw potential customers to do business with them and not with their rivals. It is a very extensive topic that is affected by a great deal of internal and external variables, but when done well it can be the one business practice that can make or break a corporation.

So where should you start when creating a marketing strategy for your own company? Well, every situation is different, and each business will have its own set of strengths and weaknesses that must be taken into consideration, but there is a marketing rule that can be applied to almost any corporation to be used as a marketing framework. It is called the “Marketing Mix”.

The Marketing Mix

The marketing mix was a term that was first coined in the 1950’s and is a phrase that is used to express the fundamental building blocks of any marketing system. It reflects the fact that marketing is not a simple, blunt-edged business tool, but rather a delicate balance of different aspects of business functions. It got its name since it is similar to the ingredients list for a recipe.

The term was later developed to include the idea of “four P’s” that described the essential elements of the marketing mix. The formalisation of these P’s made it very clear for business managers and marketers to quickly relate the elements of marketing to the strengths of their own organisations, and by doing so could very rapidly form a personalised and efficient marketing plan.

Our company created a marketing plan for our fee protection products by using this marketing and advertising mix to determine our marketing strengths

Product

Whilst every element of the marketing mix is a requirement, the “product” element mentioned as one of the four P’s is possibly the most crucial of all. It identifies the physical product or intangible service that your company will be offering, and at the end of the day it is the reason that buyers are going to spend money with you. If this part is not correctly managed then your company will find it hard to make it through.

Several people don’t think that marketing has any role to play when it comes to the actual product that your company is selling. In fact, the typical train of thought very often bears the precise opposite sentiment. Surely it should be the opposite way around – your production department creates an item for sale and then it is the task of the marketing department to find ways to sell it, right?

Take the computer software market as an example. There are many established brands of both operating system as well as software application solutions in the marketplace already, and because the market is relatively well saturated it would be very tough (and expensive) to “take on the big boys”.

Rather than creating an operating system and then trying to craft a marketing strategy to rival the likes of Microsoft or Apple, it would be more effective to look at what types of product are sought after in the current marketplace, and how viable it would be to manufacture and sell them.

Once your goods have been fashioned and created it is still a vital skill to be able to objectively evaluate your own products to recognise the reasons that a customer should buy your product rather than a competitors’.

A different form of this part of the marketing mix is known as product variation and is typically used to either extend the lifecycle of a product already in the market, or to make your brand new product attractive to as many customers as possible.

The car industry uses this technique very effectively by offering various engines, trim packages and interior options with the cars that they offer. They use the marketing mix to good effect to sell their own goods in an incredibly competitive marketplace.

Marketing plays a key role within our own xbox hard drive mod business plan and should not be treated like an afterthought.

Price

Another key factor in the marketing mix relates to the price of your products or services. This isn’t a simple case of carrying out market research to figure out the highest price that your customers would pay (although that can be a useful tool to use), but rather using the price of your products as a strategic tool designed to achieve any specific targets your business has.

Whilst it may seem obvious, it’s still worth noting that price has always been, and probably always will be, one of the crucial factors that shoppers take into account when they are making a purchase. It is also worth noting that customers don’t constantly consider the cheapest price to be the best value.

There are many questions that you need to ask yourself while devising a good pricing plan, key among which are the price sensitivity of your customers, what your competitors are doing and how can pricing boost your own profits. From a strategy point of view though, pricing can be covered by two main principals; price skimming and also penetration pricing. These are outlined below.

Price skimming

The main idea behind price skimming is to make as much money as possible from the sector of the market which is price-insensitive and are going to be willing to spend a large amount of money to get a product or service early on.

This pricing technique is very often used in the consumer electronics industry where customers will often eagerly await the release of a new mobile phone or computer games console. Manufacturers could set almost any price they wanted to and there would still be a loyal base of customers that would pay it. By using this method as part of a pre-ordering strategy, a firm can help to smooth its own cash flow.

Penetration pricing

Penetration pricing is at the other end of the pricing spectrum, and is tailored towards gaining a large market share at a short-term cost so that financial benefits can be made long into the future. It can be a high risk strategy, but when employed correctly it can setup revenue streams for many years to come. When establishing a price for penetration it is still essential to not give a poor impression of your product by aiming for too low a figure.

Yet another thing to keep in mind is that “price” is the only part of the marketing mix that will generate income for a business. The other members of the four P’s will all cost money to produce or undertake. So it is even more essential to get your pricing technique right.

Place

Place is the portion of the marketing mix that’s often disregarded by companies, but it is still an important part of selling your product successfully. In a nutshell, it describes the method in which you deliver your product to your consumer, and consequently how you collect money from them. It can be a great marketing technique when used correctly.

The most typical ramifications of place-based marketing are the physical venues in which your goods are sold. For the majority of consumer products, this includes the distribution network between your manufacturing centres and retailers or other outlets around the country. Since distribution of a physical product costs money it is important to determine your own priorities and alter your distribution network appropriately.

With the growing use of the Internet by your potential customers, marketing methods have had to consider how they use the Internet to help distribute their products. By using the Internet as a point of contact (or even as an entire distribution channel in download-based markets such as MP3s) companies are now able to reach out to a huge pool of possible customers. Effective positioning of your product or service can therefore deliver impressive economic results.

Promotion

When you say the word “marketing”, most people immediately think of the promotional side of the marketing mix, although as we have seen, this is only one branch of a more complete system. Promotion can be used on a very individual basis or as a mass communication instrument, and whilst it might be an expensive undertaking it is often an essential one.

Advertising is one of the most typical forms of promotion. Classically it would be done by posting on billboards, producing short clips for TV and radio or by physically distributing flyers or leaflets to potential customers. With the arrival of the information age we have seen a great increase in promotion via e-mail and the Internet, or simply as targeted advertising material posted through your front door. The potential for individualised advertising has never been so great.

Another significant part of promotion involves branding, which may not necessarily yield more sales directly, but relates back to one of the preliminary functions of marketing; getting customers to pick your product over those of your competitors.

Putting it into Practice

As previously mentioned every company is different and will have different marketing requirements. By using a mixture of the four P’s discussed above you can take an effective view of your own marketing strategy.

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