The marketing mix is used to translate marketing strategies or marketing plans into concrete actions. The four classic instruments of the marketing mix are the so-called “four P’s” (4P) – for Product, Price, Place, Promotion and “four C’s” – for Commodity, Cost, Communication, Channel in the 7Cs Compass Model. Some authors add other “Ps” such as People/Personal, Processes or Physical Facilities to this definition, especially for service marketing, which in many ways has to be different from classic product marketing.
- A highly innovative mobile phone that is sold at a high price only through a mobile phone provider (distribution) and is advertised through intensive public relations, television advertising and Internet sites (communication), or
- A standard margarine that has been awarded the tastes “very good”, which is sold cheaply as a private label in food discounts (distribution) and is occasionally advertised in offer flyers in the market or by home distribution (promotion).
The Classic 4 Pillars
The products or services that a company offers represent the core of the company’s overall activities and form the basis of every entrepreneurial success. The product policy includes all considerations, decisions and actions that are directly related to the combination and variation of the characteristics of the product or service. This includes, above all, assortment planning, quality and service, but also packaging, marking and product design as well as other product-related services. The main categories of product policy or product management are innovation management, the management of established products and brand management.
Two aspects are of particular importance for product innovations: the breadth of the product range and the depth of the product range. Companies that offer a wide range of services are also referred to as generalists. The depth of supply, on the other hand, describes the different types and variations of a particular offer. Companies that have focused on a deep offering are generally referred to as specialists, while those with a very broad range of products are referred to as full-service providers.
The pricing policy includes all decisions and agreements regarding the remuneration of the service offered, possible discounts as well as terms of delivery, credit and payment. In addition, there are measures to enforce price policy objectives on the market.
As a central aspect, it can be stated that the price is always based on the market, which consists of the components supplier, buyer and competitor. However, in addition to the unavoidable orientation to the market, costs should also be taken into account, as companies depend on their products and services to make a profit.
The two main options for the entrepreneur with regard to pricing policy are the price level and price differentiation.
A separate area of the marketing mix is the politics of communication. This refers to target and action decisions for the uniform design of all information relating to the product (corporate communication and appearance). The main instruments of communication policy are advertising, promotion, personal sales, sponsorship, trade fairs, events and public relations. The communication policy is also influenced by the communication between customers.
A well-structured and explicitly thought-out communication policy is the basis for customer trust and satisfaction. The primary goal of the marketing mix is long-term customer loyalty. The target group can be specifically addressed via the channels of social media, PR, TV advertising, affiliate marketing and individual areas of search engine optimization. The networking of the channels with each other strengthens the communication policy and shows the potential of the marketing mix.
Under the distribution or distribution policy, all decisions and actions of the company related to the path of a product or service from the supplier to the end consumer are made. For example, in retail, the question arises as to whether the products are sold in a traditional point of sale (PoS, store) or whether the goods are brought directly to the customer (as is the case with mail order companies, for example, which send the goods directly to the customer’s home). The various possibilities of the distribution policy are not mutually exclusive. Often, several options exist in parallel. The long-term planning and implementation of the sales policy, including the selection of sales channels and distribution partners as well as the design of customer relationships, is carried out within the framework of the sales strategy.