The marketing profession has different mixes and understanding these, let alone using them, can be quite daunting for some.
Also, marketers don’t do a very good job at communicating these. Yes, we can see the irony here, but the resulting confusion can hinder the planning process as well as limiting the buy-in you need from other departments.
So there is the Marketing Mix, the Promotional Mix and the Marketing Communications Mix. What are they, how are they different and are they still relevant?
This is the one that most non-marketing people have heard of. Classically, they are known as the ‘4 P’s of Marketing’. They include:
Another version is the ‘7 P’s of Service Marketing’. Given that so many products are sold with additional service elements as part of the wider proposition, we find this newer model tends to be used more frequently. They include the original 4, plus:
· Physical evidence
The key to understanding the Marketing Mix is that it’s just a simplified model that marketers use to formulate programmes (or plans) once all the key strategic decisions are made.
In simple terms, it’s the point where you decide on the product, the price, how customers are going to get it and how they are going to both hear and experience it.
One of the P’s, the promotion, needs a mix of all of it’s own. In short, it’s the range of tools you use to persuasively communicate your proposition. What’s important to remember is that this is not the same as your choice of media. This mix is made up of:
· Sales Promotion
· Public Relations
· Personal Selling
· Direct Marketing
What I find surprising is that although these terms hark back to old-world marketing they are still useful today.
Digital marketing has revolutionised the media we use and ‘relationship marketing’ has profoundly affected the nature of customer relationships, but given this backdrop, the Promotional Mix still remains current and a useful thinking tool within the planning process. For example, Advertising in the world of digital marketing just goes online; email marketing is a branch of Direct Marketing while social media is clearly associated with Public Relations.
Of course in this world of mash-ups and the like, many new techniques are hybrids. One could argue Social Media is aligned to but separate from PR, but the best example here is Affiliate Marketing. In Promotional Mix terms it’s part online advertising, part online PR and part email marketing. It clearly uses a number of different media but at its heart, Affiliate Marketing just uses a simple ‘pay per sale’ model. You could easily argue that’s just an online version of Personal Selling!
The Marketing Communications Mix is wider.
Many people believe the Promotional Mix to be the same as the Marketing Communications Mix, but we believe it to be wider. The truth is that there are many ways in which we communicate and the subtleties of this need to be considered too.
Product design, point of sale and packaging are important communication tools but are more part of the marketing than communications mix; just think what Apple is saying every time a customer opens a new product. Pricing is also a key communication tool, just think what premium brands say to customers when they start discounting. After all, we all like to get a deal but who really wants to feel cheap in the process!
Post written by Stephen.