The Marketing Mix - Getting it right.
If there is one area of business that takes the trump for ensuring the delivery of value across the organization, it would be Marketing. Since most businesses are created to develop products and services that would be sold to the consumer for a profit, the need to make this creation of value the focal point of everything the organization does becomes very critical. The organization needs to be led by Marketing.
Indeed poor knowledge of the application of marketing has been listed among the top 10 reasons why 95% of businesses will fold up in their first 5 years of existence. Marketing is the eye of the organization and we all know that nothing gets you faster to a crash landing than flying blind.
In getting the discussion under way, let’s establish what marketing is and is not. Marketing is not what most entrepreneurs understand it to be today in Nigeria where the sales man is called the marketer and then sent off to go do magic. Nothing is really wrong with calling the sales team by that name if it makes them believe better in themselves to make the sale but there is something wrong with it when it is assumed that that is all the marketing that is needed to be successful. There is a whole lot more to succeeding in the market place and being conscious of what is happening in the market and what you can do to steer things in your favor.
My definition of marketing is ‘everything you do to give your business an identity separate from any other in the market place and then everything you do subsequently to ensure that you maintain a positive engagement of that identity with your target market’.
This might not be the text book definition that most people know but the underlying principles are the same. In my definition you would see a reference to such words as identity, differentiation, maintenance, positive, engagement and target market. These words feature in various parts of your business. From the minute you decide what business to go into or what prices to set for your products and services, or what structure to put in place to ensure that the product gets to the customer, you are actually operating in the realms of marketing even if unconsciously.
The difference is that the lack of awareness means you may not be consistent in ensuring that your organization is actually focusing on being in tune with your market.
For the entrepreneur therefore, It does not end with registering a fancy company name, listing it on the V-connect network, praying the grace of God over it and asking your marketers to go and sell. It goes further to what you do and continue to do to ensure that your product stays at the top of the preference ladder in the minds of the target market. That is being competitive and that is where the principles of Marketing come in.
Marketing Mix Elements
There is perhaps no better way to explain the application of marketing principles to remain competitive than the use of the 7Ps of marketing or the marketing mix as it is also called. We will explore just a few of these elements here and take on more in subsequent series.
Formerly called the 4Ps of Marketing, the elements were later extended to 7 to accommodate the peculiar requirements of service companies. They are Product, Pricing, Place, Promotion, People, Processes and Physical environment. The concept of the marketing mix was first introduced by Neil Borden in the UK who started teaching the term after he learned about it from an associate, James Culliton. James Culliton described the role of the marketing manager as a "mixer of ingredients. Quite appropriate, if you ask me.
In order words, by understanding how each element of the mix can apply in various business situation and how best to ‘mix’ them, you would at least have taken one correct step towards staying out of an early grave. This concept is still very relevant today. For the small business owner, a good understanding of the elements of this concept means you can more meaningfully focus on specific areas of your business to ensure they are in tandem with your vision for where you where you want to see yourself.
In the next part of our series, we will begin with the Elements of the Mix. In the meantime, keep well and stay ahead.