Management Consulting/marketing management-Case-1 : The use of the marketing mix in product launch
What are the key parts of the marketing mix? Explain how each works with the others.
Question: What are the key parts of the marketing mix? Explain how each works with the others.
Marketing your business is about how you position it to satisfy your market’s needs. There are four critical elements in marketing your products and business. They are the four P’s of marketing.
1. Product. The right product to satisfy the needs of
your target customer.
2. Price. The right product offered at the right price.
3. Place. The right product at the right price available
in the right place to be bought by customers.
4. Promotion. Informing potential customers of the
availability of the product, its price and its place.
Each of the four P’s is a variable you control in creating the marketing mix that will attract customers to your business.
Your marketing mix should be something you pay careful
attention to because the success of your business depends on it. As a business manager, you determine how to use these variables to achieve your profit potential. This publication introduces the four P’s of marketing and includes worksheets that will help you determine the most effective marketing mix
for your business.
“Product” refers to the goods and services you offer to your customers. Apart from the physical product itself, there are elements associated with your product that customers may be attracted to, such as the way it is packaged. Other product attributes include quality, features, options, services, warranties,
and brand name. Thus, you might think of what you
offer as a bundle of goods and services. Your product’s
appearance, function, and support make up what the customer is actually buying. Successful managers pay close attention to
the needs their product bundles address for customers.
Your product bundle should meet the needs of a particular
target market. For example, a luxury product should create
just the right image for “customers who have everything,”
while many basic products must be positioned for price conscious consumers. Other important aspects of product may\ include an appropriate product range, design, warranties, or a brand name.
Customer research is a key element in building an effective marketing mix. Your knowledge of your target market and your competitors will allow you to offer a product that will appeal to customers and avoid costly mistakes.
If you are considering starting a new business or adding a
new product, then make sure the product bundle will fit your business’s strengths and weaknesses, and that it will provide an acceptable risk/return tradeoff. For instance, if your business is very good at timely response to customers, then timely
service should be an important part of your product bundle.
Think long term about your venture by planning for the ways you can deepen and broaden your product bundle. For instance, you may be able to take advantage of opportunities
to add value through processing, packaging, and customer
service. Other future growth may allow you to offer your
product to different customers. Start-up businesses are most successful when they concentrate their efforts on one product or one market, like a restaurant or a car service center does.
Later growth may occur in the same location or may be in
different geographic regions.
A different type of growth would be a diversification of
products, with your business offering related products.
Offering a whole range of products is most successful if the raw materials, production processes, and distribution methods
are similar, which means you do not have to acquire new
suppliers, skills and equipment, and distribution methods.
“Price” refers to how much you charge for your product or
service. Determining your product’s price can be tricky and
even frightening. Many small business owners feel they must absolutely have the lowest price around. So they begin their business by creating an impression of bargain pricing.
However, this may be a signal of low quality and not part of the image you want to portray. Your pricing approach should reflect the appropriate positioning of your product in the market and result in a price that covers your cost per item and includes a profit margin. The result should neither be greedy
nor timid. The former will price you out of the market;
pricing too low will make it impossible to grow.
As a manager, you can follow a number of alternative pricing
strategies. In the next column are eight common pricing
strategies. Some price decisions may involve complex
calculation methods, while others are intuitive judgments.
Your selection of a pricing strategy should be based on your product, customer demand, the competitive environment,
and the other products you will offer.
• Cost-plus: Adds a standard percentage of profit
above the cost of producing a product. Accurately
assessing fixed and variable costs is an important part
of this pricing method.
• Value-based: Based on the buyer’s perception of
value (rather than on your costs). The buyer’s
perception depends on all aspects of the product,
including non-price factors such as quality,
healthfulness, and prestige.
• Competitive: Based on prices charged by competing
firms for competing products. This pricing structure is
relatively simple to follow because you maintain your
price relative to your competitors’ prices. In some
cases, you can directly observe your competitors’
prices and respond to any price changes. In other
cases, customers will select vendors based on bids
submitted simultaneously. In those cases, gathering
information will be more difficult.
• Going-rate: A price charged that is the common or
going-rate in the marketplace. Going-rate pricing is
common in markets where most firms have little or
no control over the market price.
• Skimming: Involves the introduction of a product at
a high price for affluent consumers. Later, the price is
decreased as the market becomes saturated.
• Discount: Based on a reduction in the advertised
price. A coupon is an example of a discounted price.
• Loss-leader: Based on selling at a price lower than
the cost of production to attract customers to the store
to buy other products.
• Psychological: Based on a price that looks better,
for example, $4.99 per pound instead of $5.00 per
After you decide on your pricing strategy, the amount of
money you will actually receive may be complicated by other
pricing aspects that will decrease (or increase) the actual
amount of money you receive. You will also have to decide
how to determine:
• Payment period: Length of time before payment is
• Allowance: Price reductions given when a retailer
agrees to undertake some promotional activity for
you, such as maintaining an in-store display.
• Seasonal allowances: Reductions given when an
order is placed during seasons that typically have low
sales volumes to entice customers to buy during slow
• Bundling of products/services: Offering an
array of products together.
• Trade discounts (also called “functional
discounts”): Payments to distribution channel
members for performing some function such as
warehousing and shelf stocking.
• Price flexibility: Ability of salesperson or reseller to
• Price differences among target customer
groups: Pricing variance among target markets.
• Price differences among geographic areas:
Pricing variance among geographic regions.
• Volume discounts and wholesale pricing:
Price reductions given for large purchases.
• Cash and early payment discounts: Policies to
speed payment and thereby provide liquidity.
• Credit terms: Policies that allow customers to pay
for products at a later date.
The methods discussed here should be a base from which to construct your price. Your options will vary depending on how
you choose to sell your product. For instance, if you make a product but don’t sell it directly to the customer, then you will want to know who sets the retail price and what margin they will require. Tracing the path of your product from production
to final purchase is a useful exercise to discover this
information. The research needed to understand the pricing along the distribution path will be more than worth the time it takes.
Whatever your price may be, ultimately it must cover your
costs, contribute to your image by communicating the
perceived value of your product, counter the competition’s
offer, and avoid deadly price wars. Remember, price is the one
“P” that generates revenue, while the other three “P’s” incur costs. Effective pricing is important to the success of your business.
“Place” refers to the distribution channels used to get your
product to your customers. What your product is will greatly influence how you distribute it. If, for example, you own a
small retail store or offer a service to your local community,
then you are at the end of the distribution chain, and so you
will be supplying directly to the customer. Businesses that
create or assemble a product will have two options: selling
directly to consumers or selling to a vendor.
As a producer, you must decide if supplying direct is appropriate for your product, whether it be sales through retail, door -to-door, mail order, e-commerce, on-site, or some other
method. An advantage of direct sales would be the contact you gain by meeting customers face to face. With this contact you can easily detect market changes that occur and adapt to them. You also have complete control over your product
range, how it is sold, and at what price.
Direct sales may be a good place to start when the supply of your product is limited or seasonal. For example, direct sales
for many home-produced products can occur through homebased sales, markets, and stands.
However, direct sales require that you have an effective retail interface with your customers, which may be in person or
electronic. If developing and maintaining this retail interface
is not of interest to you or you are not good at it, you should
consider selling through an intermediary.
Reseller Sales (Sales Through
Instead of selling directly to the consumer, you may decide to sell through an intermediary such as a wholesaler or retailer
who will resell your product. Doing this may provide you with a wider distribution than selling direct while decreasing the pressure of managing your own distribution system. Additionally,
you may also reduce the storage space necessary for
inventory. One of the most important reasons for selling
through an intermediary is access to customers. In many
situations, wholesalers and retailers have customer connections that would not be possible to obtain on your own.
However, in selling to a reseller you may lose contact with
your end consumer. In some cases, you may also lose some of your company identity. For example, your distributor may
request that your product be sold under the reseller’s brand name.
One factor that may influence whether you can find an
intermediary to handle your product is production flow.
Wholesalers want a steady year-round supply of product to distribute. If you can deliver a steady year-round supply that is
of consistent quality, then selling through an intermediary
may be a good strategy for you.
No matter whether you sell your product direct or through a reseller, you must decide what your coverage will be in
distributing your product. Will you pursue intensive, selective,
or exclusive coverage?
Intensive distribution is widespread placement in as
many places as possible, often at low prices. Large businesses
often market on a nationwide level with this method.
Convenience products—ones that consumers buy regularly
and spend little time shopping for, like chewing gum—do
better with intensive (widespread) distribution.
Selective distribution narrows distribution to a few
businesses. Often, upscale products are sold through retailers
that only sell high-quality products. With this option, it may
be easier to establish relationships with customers. Products
that people shop around for sell better with selective distribution.
Exclusive distribution restricts distribution to a single
reseller. You may become the sole supplier to a reseller who, in
turn, might sell only your product. You may be able to
promote your product as prestigious with this method, though
you might sacrifice sales volume. Specialty products tend to
perform better with exclusive distribution.
Other Place Decisions
Product characteristics and your sales volumes will dictate
what inventories to maintain and how best to transport your
products. Additionally, the logistics associated with acquiring
raw materials and ensuring that your final product is in the
right place at the right time for the right customers can
comprise a large percentage of your total costs and needs
You may decide to have a combination of all the distribution
methods. Whatever you decide, choose the method which you
believe will work best for you.
“Promotion” refers to the advertising and selling part of
marketing. It is how you let people know what you’ve got for
sale. The purpose of promotion is to get people to understand
what your product is, what they can use it for, and why they
should want it. You want the customers who are looking for a
product to know that your product satisfies their needs.
To be effective, your promotional efforts should contain a
clear message targeted to a specific audience reached via an
appropriate channel. Your target audience will be the people
who use or influence the purchase of your product. You
should focus your market research efforts on identifying these
individuals. Your message must be consistent with your
overall marketing image, get your target audience’s attention,
and elicit the response you desire, whether it is to purchase
your product or to form an opinion. The channel you select
for your message will likely involve use of a few key marketing
channels. Promotion may involve advertising, public
relations, personal selling, and sales promotions.
A key channel is advertising. Advertising methods to promote
your product or service include the following.
• Radio: Radio advertisements are relatively
inexpensive ways to inform potential local customers
about your business. Mid-to-late week is generally the
best time to run your radio ad.
• Television: Television allows access to regional or
national audiences, but may be more expensive than
• Print: Direct mail and printed materials, including
newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, flyers,
and a logo, allow you to explain what, when, where,
and why people should buy from you. You can send
letters, fact sheets, contests, coupons, and brochures
directly to new or old customers on local, regional, or
• Electronic: Company Web sites provide useful
information to interested consumers and clients.
Password-protected areas allow users to more
intimately interact with you. Advertisements allow
broad promotion of your products. Direct e-mail
contact is possible if you have collected detailed
• Word of Mouth: Word of mouth depends on satisfied
customers (or dissatisfied customers) telling their
acquaintances about the effectiveness of your products.
• Generic: Generic promotion occurs when no specific
brand of product is promoted, but rather a whole
industry is advertised. For instance, generic advertising
is commonly found for milk, beef, and pork.
Public relations (PR) usually focuses on creating a favorable
business image. Important components of a good public
relations program include being a good neighbor, being
involved in the community, and providing open house days.
News stories, often initiated through press releases, can be
good sources of publicity.
Personal selling focuses on the role of a salesperson in your
communication plans. Salespeople can tailor communication
to customers and are very important in building relationships.
While personal selling is an important tool, it is costly. So you
should make efforts to target personal selling carefully.
Sales promotions are special offerings designed to encourage
purchases. Promotions might include free samples, coupons,
contests, incentives, loyalty programs, prizes, and rebates.
Other programs might focus on educating customers through
seminars or reaching them through trade shows. Your target
audience may be more receptive to one method than another.
Additional sources of promotion may be attending or participating
in trade shows, setting up displays at public events, and
networking socially at civic and business organizations.
The four P’s—product, price, place, and promotion—should
work together in your marketing mix. Often, decisions on one
element will influence the choices available in others.
Selecting an effective mix for your market will take time and
effort, but these will pay off as you satisfy customers and
create a profitable business. The worksheets that follow will
help you construct your marketing plans.
Once you have a good marketing mix—the right product at
the right price, offered in the right place and promoted in the
right way—you will need to continue to stay on top of market
changes and adopt your marketing mix as necessary.
Marketing is a part of your venture that will never end.
AN EXAMPLE OF 4 Ps INTERACTION IN
PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE
Products pass through a series of stages. Successful products progress through four basic stages: (1) Introduction; (2) Growth; (3) Maturity; and (4) Decline.
The product life cycle concept provides important insights about developments at the various stages of the product's life. Knowledge that profits assume a predictable pattern through the stages and that promotional emphasis should shift from product information in the early stages to product promotion in the later stages should allow the marketing manager to improve planning.
PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE BENEFITS
Here is a brief description of what is expected to take place in the stages of the life cycle:
1. Initiation starts with the initial conception or discovery of the product idea and runs until it has been evaluated, has become specific, and has been approved for development.
2. Development covers the various activities that transform an abstract product idea into a concrete prototype model of the product (if it is a tangible good) that can be manufactured.
3. Market plans and tests is our term for the final gestation phase, in which the product would pass its last tests and everything be ready for commercialising it.
4. Introduction starts when the offering is made available to buyers, probably on a limited scale, and continues as it is tried by innovators and experiences show slow sales growth.
5. Growth begins when numerous tryers like the product, word of its virtues spread, and the product sales "take off". Since the product is not established until this takes place, we include it in this chapter of "evolving products6. Maturity comes eventually, for the halcyon days of sharply rising demand vanish when most potential buyers have become actual customers. This may be a very long period during which demand decelerates and then reaches a plateau.
7. Decline sets in persistently when the product eventually becomes obsolete. When it actually starts to toboggan, it is time to give the product a merciful death and burial.
The marketing strategist should never assume that the PLC operates inexorably, but should rather examine a brand's or product's actual position carefully. Further a serious effort should be made to find a winning strategy can revive a slumping demand, rather than summarily abandoning the possibility. In that context, the PLC does pose a hypothesis of product or brand behaviour that is useful for sales forecasting. It also enables us to clarify strategies in terms of their timeliness.
WHY YOU SHOULD USE THE PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE CURVE
The product life cycle curve can be extremely important in generating strategist, and it should be monitored and controlled by the marketing manager. This is necessary due primarily to five reasons:
1 . Rapid Maturity of Products
2. Life Cycle Product Mix
3. Strategic Implications
4. Product Planning
5. Changing the Life Cycle Curve
THE PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE
Successful products progress through four basic stages: Introduction. Growth. Maturity and Decline. This progression is known as the Product Life Cycle.
The company's objective in the early stages of the product life cycle is to stimulate demand for the new market entry. Since the product is not known to the public, promotional campaigns stress information about its features and benefits. They also may be directed toward marketing intermediaries in the channel to induce them to carry the product.
In this phase, the public becomes acquainted with the merits of the product and begins to accept it.
Losses are common during the introductory stage due to heavy promotion and extensive research and development expenditures.
However, the ground is being laid for future profits. Companies expect.to recover the costs and to begin earning profits when the new product moves into the second phase of its life cycle the growth stage.
Sales volumes rise rapidly during the growth stage as new customers make initial purchases and early buyers re purchase the product. 'Word of mouthl and advertising induce hesitant buyers to make trial purchases.
As the company begins to realise substantial profits from its investment during the growth stage, the product attracts competitors.
Success breads imitation and other companies rush into the market with competitive products. The majority of firms in a particular market enter during the growth stage.
Industry sales continue to grow during the early part of the maturity stage, but eventually they reach a plateau as the backlog of potential customers is exhausted. By this time, a large number of competitors have entered the market, and profits decline as competition intensifies.
In the maturity stage, differences among competing products diminish as competitors discover the product and promotional characteristics most desired by the market. Heavy promotional outlays emphasise subtle differences among competing products, and brand competition intensifies.
In this stage, often available products exceed industry demand. Companies attempting to increase their sales and market share must do so at the expense of competitors.
As competition intensifies, the competitors tend to cut prices in an attempt to attract new buyers. Even though a price reduction may be the easiest method of inducing additional purchases, it is also one of the simplest moves for, competitors to duplicate.
Reduced prices result in decreased revenues for all firms in the industry unless the price cuts produce enough increased purchases to offset the loss in revenue on each item sold.
In the final stage of the product's life, innovations or customer preferences bring about an absolute decline in industry sales.
Sales and profits decline and companies begin to leave the industry in search of more profitable products.
FOR EFFECTIVE MARKETING EFFORTS YOU WORK WITH
PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE
-Inefficient Production Levels
-Cash Demands HIGH
-Few or No Competitions
-Limited Product Awareness and Knowledge
-Establish High Price
-Offer Limited Product Variety
-Product Improvement Work
-Prices Soften a Bit
-Cultivate Selective Demand
A. EARLY MATURITY
-efficient scale of operation
-production modification work
B. LATE MATURITY
A. EARLY MATURITY
B. LATE MATURITY
-shrinking number of competitors
-established distribution pattern
-Emphasise Market Segmentation
-Improve Service and Warranty
B. LATE MATURITY
-ultimate in market segmentation
-Permanently Declining Demand
-Reduction of Competitors
-Limited Product Offerings
-Increase Primary Demand
-Profit Opportunity Pricing
-Prune and Strengthen Distribution
EXAMPLE OF MARKETING PROGRAM FOR
STAGES IN PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE
-successful entry in the market.
-identify customer segments
-Comply With External Regulations
& Accepted Values
-Assure High Quality
-use cost plus strategy
-build product awareness
-build and channels
-gain market share
-increase / maximize sales volume.
-determine customer acceptance.
-determine channel responses.
-offer extensions or value added like service.
-penetrate deeper into the market
-use selective distribution
-consolidate market share
-determine re-purchase rates.
-monitor competitive activities
-diversify the brands or models
-price war with competitors
-stress favourable evaluations
-more intensive distribution
-arrest the market share decline.
-minimize effort/time in marketing expenses.
-retain sales volume.
-evaluate customer complaints.
-search for new opportunities.
-phase out weak items
-cut price or offer other incentives
-depend on middlman