In this article, we’ll be looking into new product development and marketing mix and how to use them in the development of unique products. However, ideas must be converted to appropriate products or services desired by the consumers; otherwise, the products are as useless as not existing at all.
In addition, these products must be adequately priced, promoted, and distributed through the most appropriate media at minimum costs to reach the target consumers.
These activities involve a lot of tasks that must be adequately planned and executed by individuals saddled with such responsibilities. In this unit, we shall examine the marketing mix known as the 4ps and its implications on marketing activities.
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The Marketing Mix
Once the company has decided on its overall competitive marketing strategy, it is ready to begin planning the details of the marketing mix. The marketing mix is one of the main concepts in modern marketing.
A marketing mix is a set of controllable, tactical marketing tools that the firm blends to produce the response it wants in the target market.
In other words, the marketing mix consists of everything the firm can do to influence the demand for its product.
It is also the combination of the four inputs that constitute the core of a company’s marketing system: the product, the price, the place, and the promotion.
The four ingredients in the mix are interrelated. Also, the decisions in one area usually affect action in the others. Each of these four variables contains countless variables.
For instance, a company may market a product or several related or unrelated products. It may distribute its products/services through wholesalers, directly to retailers, and so on.
It implies that the management must select the combination that will best adapt to the environment. In essence, the management seeks the mix that will lead to optimal synergistic results.
Product means the goods and services combination the company offers to the target market. A product, service, or idea is something given to consumers in exchange for a price.
Managing the product ingredients includes planning and developing the right products and services to be marketed by the company. Guidelines are needed for changing existing products, adding new ones, and taking other actions that affect the assortment of products carried.
Activities related to a product, service, or idea include the following: quality, features, style, brand name, packaging, sizes, services, warranties, returns, etc.
Research and experience in the marketplace have indicated that a marketer should treat the product as a bundle of satisfaction offered to consumers than as a physical item. It is so because consumers seek to satiate their needs and desires rather than physical products.
For example, the purchaser of a refrigerator wants trouble-free operation, space, convenience, and an aesthetic design rather than just a refrigerator cabinet and motor. Also, the buyer of a wristwatch wants accurate timing, reliability, status, attractive design, and no maintenance, not merely pieces of metal, plastic, and glass.
Therefore, marketers who view the product as a bundle of satisfaction can fulfill their mission of servicing the consumer and can benefit accordingly through increased sales.
Price is the amount that consumers must pay in exchange for a product, service, or idea. Generally, marketers consider the following factors in setting prices:
- Target customers: How much they will buy at different prices, in other words, price elasticity of demand.
- Cost: How much it costs to produce and market the product. That is both production and distribution costs.
- Competition: Severe competition may indicate a lower price than when there is a monopoly or little competition.
- The Law: Government authorities place numerous restrictions on pricing activities.
- Social Responsibility: Pricing affects many parties, including employees, shareholders, and the public.
- There are other factors besides the ones listed above that a marketer has to consider.
Place or Distribution
Place or distribution activities help to transfer ownership to consumers and to place products, services, or ideas at the right time and place.
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Distribution is of two components:
- Physical distribution
- Channels of distribution.
Consists of the activities involved in moving products or services from producer to consumer. Examples include:
- Warehousing and storage
- Order processing
- Inventory control
The objective of physical distribution is to move goods to consumers at a minimum cost. The physical distribution network should be oriented towards the needs and desires of target consumers.
The Channels of Distribution
Those routes through which the ownership of goods, services, and ideas flow on the way from producer to consumer.
In establishing channels of distribution, marketers should decide which marketing functions to include to satisfy target consumers, and then determine which institution (such as wholesalers and retailers or the manufacturer himself) can best perform these functions. The overall objective is to maximize service to the consumer at a profit to the marketer.
Promotional activities consist of various means of communicating persuasively with the target audience. The main promotional methods are:
This is where an identified sponsor pays media (NTA, for instance) to transmit messages to target consumers.
This is where sales representatives employed by the firm engage in interpersonal communications with individual consumers and prospective customers.
This is where the marketer utilizes displays, demonstrations, premiums, contests, or similar devices to supplement advertising and personal selling.
Publicity and public relations
This is where both publicity and public relations stimulate supportive news items about the firm and its products that have greater credibility with the public than advertising. Like other elements of the marketing mix, promotion should be aimed at the target audience rather than at consumers at large.
If target consumers tend to be highly educated, promotion messages should be more sophisticated than when target consumers have low levels of education. Failure to consider the unique characteristics of the target consumer can result in ineffective promotional efforts.
New Product Development and Marketing Mix
The product is one component of the marketing mix and is usually the core area, so the product is developed first. However, there are occasions when the product is designed to fit some other component of the mix.
For example, the product may be developed to fit a price range, an image slot, or a channel. But do not forget that the various elements of a marketing mix are conceptually interconnected to meet some wants. So there must be a procedural interconnection in designing the various components.
In drawing up a tentative marketing mix as part of any new product development program, first, let us take the element of promotion. It is a crucial consideration when the want is likely to be latent or passive for the majority of the members of a target market. Price is important not just in terms of cost, but as a contribution to the product.
Do not forget the crucial fact emphasized earlier all elements of the marketing mix. Promotion, pricing, place, and distribution strategies should be brought together and coordinated in the marketing mix.
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