Marketing mix


Part 3: Marketing mix

The classic marketing mix is divided into 4 essential instrumental areas, also known from English as "4 P's":

(Grafik: AKI-Kommunikation e.K.)

Each of these areas is politically anchored and contains certain basic instruments, which can or must be used according to the basic strategic concept, in order to pursue the planned strategies:
  • Product policy
  • Contracting policy
  • Distribution policy
  • Communication policy
In product policy, there are three decision-making levels: Product, product line and product program. The product level provides information on the extent to which the product hierarchy should exist and the composition of the core and additional benefits for the product. The product line level comprises a group of individual products that are technically or functionally related. The product program further includes the individual product lines and products of a company. In addition, the creation of the brand identity also takes place within the framework of the product policy. The brand identity presents the image of the brand and is fundamental for positioning and differentiation from the competition. Packaging is also assigned to product policy. It serves as a differentiating feature on the market. With the help of product-appropriate and appealing packaging, the consumer's attention is aroused or it serves as a recognition feature. Packaging can be divided into basic packaging, outer packaging, shipping packaging and the label. Finally, the product policy includes the service. Good service performance is essential for communication with the consumer. The functions of the service differ in the preservation of existing customers and attraction of new customers, the error removal and information supply.
The contracting policy includes the price and conditions policy. The pricing policy deals precisely with price setting, price positioning and price differentiation. When setting prices, it is necessary to choose between cost-oriented, demand-oriented and competition-oriented setting. Which price is set depends on the given market circumstances and the market position. Price positioning is used to decide between the premium, medium or discount price tiers. The possibilities of price differentiation in time, space, personnel, quantity and price bundling are used to determine the prices of a product, depending on the business area. Besides the pricing strategies, the psychological pricing policy is also an important factor. Based on price-performance ratios, effects exist that lead to the distortion of an ideal price-sales ratio. This arises because consumers compare prices and make their purchases dependent on how they compare with competitor prices.
The conditions policy includes the discount and sales credit policy, as well as delivery and payment conditions. Discounts can be granted depending on the quantity ordered or for special loyalty of a customer or immediate payment. The sales credit policy manages the measures of financing and leasing by customers. Such financing measures enable many customers to afford expensive goods, which increases the company's sales volume.
The distribution policy includes the acquisitory and physical distribution, i.e. sales channels and goods distribution processes of a company. Acquisitive distribution is crucial for the sales channels. There are four levels of sales channels. The zero-stage channel is a direct sales channel, whereby the product reaches the consumer directly via direct sales or stores. The one- to three-stage channels are indirect sales channels. The one-step channel leads from the producer, possibly via a sales representative, to the retailer and from there reaches the consumer. The two-stage channel is similar. In this case, however, the retail trade is preceded by the wholesale stage. In the three-stage channel, after the producer, the goods first reach a special wholesaler, followed by an assortment wholesaler and from there via the retail trade to the consumer. Marketing logistics is found in physical distribution. It comprises the systems of warehousing, order processing, packaging and transportation. Such a logistics system can be used to create, monitor and improve goods distribution processes.
Instruments of communication policy are responsible for profile performance. They are divided into classic and modern advertising tools. Before the respective measures are taken, it is first decided whether a push or pull concept should be pursued. In the case of a push concept, the manufacturer directs its communication policy in such a way that retailers are motivated to include the products in their assortment and to present the goods optimally in the stores. The pull concept pursues the method of addressing the end consumer directly, so that the consumer convinces the retailer to include the products in the assortment through his demand. Once a choice has been made between the two concepts, the communication instruments can be optimally matched to them.
Classic advertising is one of the communication policy instruments. It works, for example, through spots on TV or radio and via conventional print media.
For sales promotion, there are basically three areas to be considered. One is consumer promotion, which takes place directly at the point of sale (POS). There, the consumer is reminded of the product or brand on the spot through tastings or competitions. Retailer promotion is about supporting retailers in selling the manufacturer's goods. Among other things, in-store displays or radio spots are used to promote sales. Sales promotion is the third option. It helps to promote sales and the sales force. Helpful measures in the area of sales promotion are sales training or sales commissions.
Public Relation (briefly: PR) is the addition to sales promotion and advertisement. In comparison to these, however, public relations is directed at the company itself. The goal of PR is to build trust and a solid foundation between the company and its environment. Personal selling is the last resort of the classic means of advertising and represents the central link between the company and its customers. Whether or to what extent personal selling takes place depends on the type of product and the sales strategies chosen.
Direct marketing is one of the modern communication tools. Direct marketing is characterized by the fact that it establishes a direct link to the target group. In the course of this, measures such as telemarketing and mailing or coupons in newspapers are used.
In sponsoring, a team or person is supported in kind, by services or financially. In return, a product, brand or company is marketed.
Targeted product placement involves the presentation of a product in film, television, radio or print media. In doing so, the product will appear or be mentioned in passing in the storyline.
Event marketing is a complex instrument. It has to be planned, budgeted, executed and finally controlled. But it can reach a large number of the relevant target group within a short time.
Guerrilla marketing is a way to gain consumer attention outside of conventional advertising channels. It combines three offline and two online measures: Ambient marketing includes advertising media that are in the immediate environment of the target group This is mostly in the out-of-home (OOH) area, i.e. out of home. For this purpose, well-traveled locations such as train stations or localities are chosen. Ambush marketing is also called free-rider marketing. It aims to be noticed more in the context of a sponsored event of another company, without having provided a service in return. For buzz marketing, opinion leaders are usually used in a targeted manner. These have the task of communicating a product positively to the target group by word of mouth. In the case of forum attack, agencies or employees are commissioned to influence or manipulate special forums in a certain way. Viral marketing is used in particular for social networks or online video portals with a high number of users. It aims to achieve the greatest possible effects with little financial effort. The more people forward a post created or mark it with "like", the faster the advertising message spreads.
Online marketing is one of the most modern means of communication. It can be divided into three measures. The first measure is called Web 1.0, which includes media advertising in the form of homepages and newsletters. Web 2.0, on the other hand, aims to address the target group personally. For example, personalized newsletters are sent out or communication regarding the product takes place in forums. The third measure is Web 2.5, social media marketing. Here, action is taken in social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Companies can set up groups or fan pages to get in touch with the target group. But the integration of advertising banners or video is also possible here.

The most current stage of online marketing is the semantic Web 3.0, which is the new generation of the World Wide Web built on human-machine cooperation, augmented reality, crypto technologies such as blockchain and the metaverse.

In the future, another stage will increasingly occupy us. The Web 4.0 or also referred to as the symbiotic web. Symbiosis will occur to the extent that the boundaries between the real and virtual worlds will spill over into each other.

We will report more on these topics in a later article.
Also assigned to communication policy is Corporate iIentity. Corporate identity means corporate personality and is manifested by the company's purpose and goals. Corporate identity is made up of three areas. The Corporate Design defines the uniform appearance of the enterprise in its form, color, naming and significant tones or melodies. The Corporate Behavior reflects the behavior of the company in the market. The third component of corporate identity is Corporate Communication. It functions to ensure that all messages are communicated to the target groups in harmony with the company. If the communication measures are coordinated with these three areas, a cohesive construct is created. With the help of corporate identity, it is possible for the company to convey an image to its relevant environment and leave a positive impression.
Article written by: LTM - 01.11.22
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