The four hallmarks of a terrific marketing mix

  

Date Posted: 11/3/2012 4:04:08 PM

Posted By: sashoo  Membership Level: Silver  Total Points: 382


The Four Hallmarks of A Terrific Marketing Mix

1) The marketing mix should match customer needs

Sensible marketing decisions can be made only when the target customer is understood. Choosing customer groups examines the process of market segmentation and target marketing. Once the decision about the target market(s) is taken, marketing management needs to understand how customers choose between rival offerings. Meeting or exceeding these requirements better than the competition lead to the creation of a competitive advantage.

2) The marketing mix should create a competitive advantage

A competitive advantage is the achievement of superior performance through differentiation to provide superior customer value or by managing to achieve lowest delivered cost. The example of the Apple iPod is an example of a company using product features to convey customer benefits in excess in excess of what the competition is offering. The iPods small size and its ability to download and store music can, therefore, be regarded as the creation of competitive advantages over the previous market leader in portable music players, the Sony Walkman. Aldi, the German supermarket chain, achieves a competitive advantage by severely controlling costs, allowing it to make profits even though its prices are low, a strategy that is attractive to price-sensitive shoppers.

The strategy for using advertising tool for competitive advantage is often employed when product benefits are particularly subjective and amorphous in nature. Thus the advertising for perfumes such as those produces by Chanel, Givenchy and Yves St Laurent is critical in preserving the exclusive image established by such brands. The size and quality of the sales force can act as a competitive advantage. A problem that a company such as Rolls –Royce, the aeroengine manufacturer, faces is the relatively small size of its salesforce compared to those of its giant competitors Boeing and General Electric. Finally, distribution decisions

need to be made with the customer in mind, not only in terms of availability but also with respect to service levels, image and customer convenience. The Radisson SAS hotel at Manchester Airport is an example of creating a competitive advantage through customer convenience. It is situated five minutes’ walk from the airport terminals, which are reached by covered walk-ways. Guest at rival hotels have to rely on taxis or transit buses to reach the airport.

3) The marketing mix should be well blended

The third characteristic of an effective marketing mix is that the four elements—product, price, promotion and place—should be well blended to form a consistent theme. If a product gives superior benefits to customers, price, which may send cues to customers regarding quality, should reflect those extra benefits. All of the promotional mix should be designed with the objective of communicating a consistent message to the target audience about these benefits, and distribution decisions should be consistent with the overall strategic position of the product in the marketplace. The use of exclusive outlets for upmarket fashion and cosmetic brands—Armani, Christian Dior and Calvin Klein, for example—is consistent with their strategic position.

4) The marketing mix should match corporate resources

The choice of marketing mix strategy may be constrained by the financial resources of the company. Laker Airlines used price as a competitive advantage to attack British Airways and TWA in transatlantic flights. When they retaliated by cutting their airfares, Laker’s financial resources were insufficient to win the price war. Certain media—for example, television advertising require a minimum threshold investment before they are regarded as feasible. In the UK the rule of thumb is that at least 5 million pounds per year is required to achieve impact in a national advertising campaign. Clearly those brands that cannot afford such a promotional budget must use other less expensive media—for example, posters or sales promotion—to attract and hold customers.

A second internal resource constraint may be the internal competences of the company. A marketing mix strategy may be too ambitious for the limited marketing skills of personnel to implement effectively. While an objective may be to reduce or eliminate this problem in the medium to long term; in the short term, marketing management may have to heed the fact that strategy must take account of competences. An area where this may manifest itself is within the place dimension of the 4Ps—product, price, promotion and place. A company lacking the selling skills to market a product directly to end users may have to use intermediaries (distributors or sales agents) to perform that function.


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