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Marketing is everything involved in creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers, clients, and even society. Marketing is involved in everything from the market research that goes into determining what products consumers are looking for, to the message that is transmitted to consumers to inform them about a product and even persuade them to purchase it. In between those stages, marketing also plays a prominent role in determining how the product should look, designing the packaging that will enclose the product, deciding whether to sell the product through traditional retailers or entirely online, and establishing a price point that is not only attractive to consumers but allows gives the business the opportunity to be profitable.
Now when most people think of marketing they often think of advertising, which is completely understandable given we are are constantly exposed to advertisements at home, at the office, and even during our commutes. Although advertising is a component of marketing it certainly does not explain the entire subject. In fact, advertising is simply one of the four different types of promotion, and promotion is one of the four main elements of marketing. So you can see that advertising, like the other marketing elements, merely plays a role in helping businesses create, communicate, and deliver a single unified message to potential customers.
So how does a businesses create, communicate, and deliver value to its customers? Although there are many variables at work, a business can increase the probability of success by creating an effective and consistent marketing mix. Often referred to as the 4 P's, the market mix is a collection of four elements that outline the strategy for how a business intends to reach its customers. These four elements include product, place, promotion, and price.
The product includes the tangible product or intangible service that will be used to fulfill a customer need or want. The features of a product, its physical form, packaging, warranties, and even after-sale service are all included under the product strategy.
Place includes how a business intends to get products from the location they are produced to where they can ultimately be consumed by consumers. Place is often referred to as distribution since we are dealing with logistics. However, place not only includes the physical distribution of the product but also the channel through which it will be sold.
Promotion involves establishing the most effective method for communicating with its customers about the various products that it sells. Promotion is primarily meant to communicate, inform, and persuade. An effective promotion strategy, like the other marketing mix elements, depends upon a businesses knowledge of its target customer. This knowledge allows a business to select the best way to communicate with its core audience and ultimately increase the success of its communications.
The last element of the market mix is price. Price is the easiest marketing mix element to alter from a technical sense, however it is the most difficult thing to change. The reason is that altering the price of a product affects what consumers pay for that product, and a business can only charge as much as the market is willing to pay for a product. Technically a business can charge whatever price it wants, but that does not mean that consumers have to pay that price. Like the other marketing mix elements, price can send a message to consumers. For example, many believe that maintaining low prices is the best method to attract consumers. Although this can be an effective pricing strategy for certain items, it can also confuse consumers. For example, Tiffany & Co. sells expensive jewelry and is known for high quality and is one of the most recognizable brands. Because Tiffany & Co is known for quality and maybe even exclusivity, it wouldn't benefit from a low price point. Dealing with the psychological aspect of pricing, consumers tend to view less expensive items as cheap in quality compared to their more expensive counterparts. Although this doesn't always hold to be true, businesses are very aware of the impact that price can have on the perceptions of consumers.