Using the marketing mix to drive change

by The Times 100 on Monday 19th October, 2009

The marketing mix is the combination of the product, price, place and promotion which is used by organisations to ensure they meet the needs of their customers. Parcelforce Worldwide is a leading provider of parcel deliveries and is part of the Royal Mail Group. Using a network of partners across the world it can deliver to 99.6% of the world population and delivers 210,000 parcels each day. Even though Parcelforce Worldwide is a service organisation, getting the marketing mix right is still paramount. For instance, to inform customers about its services and persuade potential customers to use them it must employ the most effective methods of promotion.

Robbie Williams' appearance on X-Factor formed part of the promotional campaign for his new album, due for release in November, and its lead single Bodies. Since Williams has been out of the public eye for three years, there is a lot at stake for Virgin Records who signed the £80m recording contract with him in 2002. In addition to the X-Factor appearance, Williams has appeared on radio and television. Magazine and newspaper interviews with the star and a giveaway CD of his greatest hits have been focused at encouraging sales of his records. Despite this, however, Bodies was still beaten to the top spot in Sunday's singles chart by Alexandra Burke, last year's X-Factor winner. Perhaps Robbie Williams' reluctance to tour is the reason. In contrast, his former band mates in Take That supported their comeback with a lucrative concert tour. This not only raised their profile but allowed them to further develop their image and relationship with their fans. (The Sunday Times 18th October 2009)

Regardless of the type of industry, getting the right products in the right place at the right price is key. In addition to this, effective promotion is essential to encourage sales and provide competitive advantage, not only for organisations like Parcelforce Worldwide but also recording artists like Robbie Williams.

Questions

  1. List the four parts of the marketing mix.
  2. Explain why market research is so important to organisations such as Parcelforce Worldwide when they are developing their marketing mix.
  3. Discuss the extent to which 'promotion' could be considered the most important element of the marketing mix in the music industry.

Answers to questions

1.List the four parts of the marketing mix:   Product, price, place and promotion

2. Explain why market research is so important to organisations such as Parcelforce Worldwide when they are developing their marketing mix

  • Parcelforce is a market-oriented organisation and therefore must understand the needs of its customers
  • Parcelforce has a range of customers, from individual consumers to large organisations. It must ensure it is providing the services required by all of these
  • The delivery industry is becoming increasing competitive so it must ensure it maintains competitive advantage

3. Discuss the extent to which 'promotion' could be considered the most important element of the marketing mix in the music industry

On the one hand, promotion is the most important of the 4 Ps because:

  • If people do not know about a product they won't buy it
  • Customers only have limited funds. Promotion can therefore influence what customers spend their money on.

However:

  • Music tastes are very diverse. Promotion will not encourage people to buy music they simply do not like (product)
  •  If the price is too high customers will be put off buying records, or may encourage them to download music illegally
  • Providing a convenient means of buying music (place) has become a major consideration in the music industry recently, resulting in the option to download music instead of having to go out to a physical store

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