What is marketing mix? What are its main elements? Explain.
Marketing mix refers to the set of marketing tools that are used to achieve the various objectives of marketing. In the process of marketing, market offering plays an important role. That is, for effective marketing, an organisation must decide the various features of a product such as its size, quality, location of sale, etc. Such decisions are affected by a large number of factors. Some of them are controllable by the firm. For example, decisions regarding packing, branding, pricing, advertising, etc. are within the control of the firm. However, there are certain non-controllable factors as well that affect the decision making by a firm. For example, government policies, credit policies of the banks are beyond the control of the firm. A firm continuously alters the various controllable factors to achieve the objectives of marketing. Such factors form the pillars of marketing and are known as marketing tools. From the various alternative marketing tools, a firm chooses the best combination to develop a market offering. Such a set of marketing tools used by the firm to achieve the desired objectives of marketing is known as marketing mix.
The following are the elements of marketing mix.
1. Product :- A product refers to any good or service that offers value and satisfies needs of a customer. For example, a car, toothpaste, soap, services of teacher, etc. are products. In marketing, a product relates not just to the physical product but it also includes the satisfaction of various needs and utilities of the customer. For example, consumption of a product benefits a consumer in the form of satisfaction of consumers’ functional needs, social needs and psychological needs. Such benefits also form a part of product. In addition, a product also includes the after sale services such as taking feedbacks, redressing consumer complaints, etc. Important decisions regarding a product relate to its designing, quality, features, labelling, branding and packaging.
2. Price :- Price refers to the money paid by the customers to obtain a product. Price of a product affects its demand. As the price of a product increases, its demand falls and vice versa. The marketers must analyse properly the various factors that determine the price and decide a suitable price for the product. For example, the target customers, pricing policy followed by the competitors, objectives of the firm, etc. must be consider while deciding a price. The price set should be such that the customers find it at par with the value of the product. Suitable discounts and incentive schemes must also be decided.
3. Place :- Besides the product decisions and pricing decisions, a firm must also take decisions regarding the availability of the product to the target customers. A firm must appropriately decide the dealers or intermediaries for the distribution of the goods. Other important decisions comprise of managing the inventory, warehousing, storage and transportation of the goods
4. Promotion :- Promotion comprises of those activities that communicate customers regarding the availability of a product, its features, qualities, etc. so as to influence the customers to purchase the product. Organisations undertake various promotional activities such advertising, sales techniques, personal selling, etc. An organisation must carefully decide the medium of promotion, thereby, taking the related actions. For example, the organisation must decide which of the sales techniques such as discounts, free gifts, sale, etc. should be used.
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