The term ‘marketing mix’ was first coined Prof. Neil H. Borden, the President of the American Marketing Association (AMA) in 1953. It offers an optimum combination of all marketing resources and marketing efforts so that the marketing manager can achieve company goals such as profit, return on investment sales volume, customer satisfaction, marketing shares, etc. It naturally changes the environmental factors such as technical, social, economic, political and competition. A firm or a company can achieve its objectives by selecting a balanced marketing mix. The definition of marketing mix as defined by some prominent scholars has been given below:
- Philip Kotler: “Marketing mix refers to the amounts and kinds of marketing variables the firm is using at a particular time.”
- S. Davar: “ The policies adopted by manufacturers to attain success in market constitute the Marketing Mix.”
- Prof Neil H. Bordon of Harvard Business School: “The marketing mix refers to the apportionment of efforts, the combination, the designing and the integration of the elements of marketing into a programme or mix which on the basis of an appraisal of the marketing force will achieve the best objectives of an enterprise at a given time.”
Elements of the Marketing Mix
The key factors are required to define marketing mix. These are as follows:
It is a set of all products and items a particular business firm offer for sale. As per the needs of the consumers, the firm produces goods & services and does necessary changes if required so.
It is the process through which the goods and services are delivered to the real consumers at the right time, at right place, in the right quantity and through the most appropriate channels of distribution.
It refers to specific methods used to promote the company or its products to targeted customers. Through advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, public relations and direct marketing the company increases the demand of goods and services. It also helps in making a comparative study of the products of enterprise with the similar products of other enterprise so that the consumers may convince that they should go only for the products of enterprise.
It refers to the various services provided by an enterprise to its consumers before and after sales. These services include the facility of credit guarantee, free repair, replacement, etc. It provides satisfaction to the customers.
Factors affecting the Marketing Mix
The factors that affect marketing mix can be classified into two parts: Market Factors (or External factors) and Marketing factors (or Internal factors).
Market Factors (or External factors)
These are those factors which are uncontrollable by the marketing management of the business enterprise. These are as follows:
The consumer behavior is determined by consumer’s change in income, fashion, social status, social environment, technological changes, etc. The above factors affect the demand of the goods and services. Thus, an expert marketing manager not only study the needs, wills and the preferences of the customer, but also analyses their effects on the demand of the products while formulating the marketing strategy of the business enterprise.
The marketing manager must do a through study of the competitive conditions in the market. He should take into account bases of competition, competitors view points towards customers, the quantity and characteristics of the products of competitors and their marketing strategies and policies.
The Pattern of Distribution System
In the competitive era, the success of marketing strategy of the firm largely depends upon the effectiveness of the channels of distribution adopted by them. Hence, the marketing manager must consider different forms of distribution systems, nature and the behavior of distributors, the facilities offered by these distributors and the terms and conditions of these distributors. Because, only the distributors come into direct contact with the customers and their attitude, behavior, view about the product and method of work directly affects the customers. Thus, the decision about the selection of distributors must be taken after due consideration of the nature and characteristics of the products of the firm.
The Government in India and in other countries, through its various rules and regulations, control the various marketing activities. In India too we can see the government’s intervention in the production, pricing, quality, packing, branding, advertising, labelling, etc. of the products. Thus, the marketing management should consider the government laws and policies while formulating the marketing mix of the business firm.
Marketing factors (or internal factors)
These are those factors which are under the control of the business enterprise. These include the following factors: product design, branding, packaging, pricing, advertising and distribution of the firm.
The product planning is essential to meet the market demand. It serves as the basis for decisions about price, distribution and promotion. It includes market research, product research, market segmentation, product development, determination of the qualities of products, introduction of new products, etc. Thus, to satisfy the needs of the customer, the company or firm should plan, develop and improve it products accordingly, which in turn increases the sales and maximizes the profit of the firm.
For long-term marketing, the branding of particular product or service is essential to easily recognize and identify by the people. The brand policy includes the decisions regarding trade-mark and brand name, as it influences the sales volume of the business firm. A brand is the name, logo, slogan, or design or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers. Therefore, to attract consumers, the marketing manager must decide the branding policy after considering the nature of products and attitudes of consumers.
In the modern marketing environment, the packaging plays a critical role in increasing the sales volume of the firm. It not only attracts the attention of consumers but also protects, preserve, transport, inform and communicate the brand of the company to the consumers. Thus, the marketing manager must decide the packaging policy after a careful analysis of various factors like size, quality, color and the getup of packing, etc.
In the modern marketing environment, the path through which goods and services travel from producers to consumers or payments for those products travel from consumers to producers must be as short as possible for profit maximization and customer satisfaction. Thus, the channel of distribution must be selected by the marketing manager after a careful study of the nature of products and needs and requirements of the firm and the facilities offered by different channels.
Personal selling is the face-to-face selling in which a seller attempts to persuade a buyer to make a purchase. In it, sales men are the real heroes, as they promote the product or service through their attitude, appearance and specialist product knowledge. Their aim is to inform and encourage the customer to buy, or at least trial the product or service. Thus, by proper analyzing the above factors, the marketing manager have to take decisions regarding recruitment, training and deployment of the salesmen and have to decide whether to promote sell through personal selling or not.
It helps in creating the demand for the new products and in maintaining the demand for the existing products or services. The marketing manager has to formulate the advertising policy by taking into account the purposes, area, media of advertisement, scope of advertisement, etc. of the products.
Special Sales Promotion Policy
To increase the sales of the goods and services of the firm, the marketing manager must adopt the suitable method of sales promotion and special sales promotion campaign must be launched to promote the sales of the enterprise.
The market research is the soul of marketing. As a result of proper research and development, the demand of the firms’ goods and services may be maintained in the market. To sustain in the competitive market, the marketing manager can use such information in preparing the marketing mix.
Thus, an expert marketing manager must carefully study, analysis and evaluate the above factors and determines an ideal marketing mix for his organization.