The marketing mix

by Business Case Studies on Monday 5th July, 2010

One of the first things that marketing students learn about is the marketing mix. These factors, also known as the four Ps, are used by organisations to ensure the needs of customers are met. For firms to successfully manage their portfolios of goods and services, the Product, Price, Place and Promotion must all be right. There is little point, for example, having a great, value-for-money product if potential customers are not aware of it or they cannot buy it easily. At Parcelforce Worldwide, the marketing mix was central to the improvements it made to its international services. Through extensive research, it was able to identify where changes need to be made to the marketing mix in order to be able to respond to increased competition and changes in the external business environment.

Parcelforce is an example of an organisation that provides services to consumers (B2C) and to other businesses (B2B). It must therefore have strategies in place for both of these. This is the same for organisations within leisure and tourism industries as they may sell their services to tour operators or direct to the tourists. Some firms, such as budget hotel chains, have benefited from the difficult trading conditions of the last three years. Others, however, have struggled to maintain sales. In some cases hoteliers have been forced to come up with imaginative ways to attract customers. Ice hotels and tree-house resorts, for example, are now marketed to middle-class families, not just adventurous tourists. Some of the most unusual offerings include a two-bedroom underwater research laboratory in Florida, guest accommodation in a former oilrig survival pod in The Hague and a luxury suite in a converted German aircraft in the Netherlands. (The Times 2nd July 2010) If these unusual products are to lure in customers, then they must be accompanied by appropriate prices and promotional activities.

Questions

  1. Define marketing.
  2. Using the case study, explain how Parcelforce carried out research into its marketing mix.
  3. Investigation idea: carry out some primary and secondary research into a new business idea of your choice e.g. a new brand of crisps. Ensure you research all four elements of the marketing mix. From your research, recommend the product, price, place and promotion for your idea.

Answers

  1. Define marketing. Marketing involves identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer needs and wants (profitably).
  2. Using the case study, explain how Parcelforce carried out the research into its marketing mix. • Web interviews with customers • Checking databases of existing customers • Researching competitor products and prices • Reviewing previous promotional campaigns.
  3. Investigation idea: carry out some primary and secondary research into a new business idea of your choice e.g. a new brand of crisps. Ensure you research all four elements of the marketing mix. From your research, recommend the product, price, place and promotion for your idea.

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