THE MAIN TASK IN MARKETING
Marketing is essentially an interaction between the marketing mix and the environmental variables, and, since the latter are non-controllable, marketing becomes synonymous with assembling and managing the marketing mix. The marketing manager will take due note of the environmental variables while assembling the marketing mix. Not only will he take due note of them but also ensure that his marketing mix suits the environmental variables. It is this factor that renders the task much more complex.
It is by assembling and operating its marketing mix that a firm executes its marketing strategy. Assembling the marketing mix involves a number of decisions relating to each of the marketing mix elements, product, price, channel and promotion. Decisions are also required on the linkages among the elements and these decisions form an integral part of the marketing strategy. The decisions that may have to be taken are,
* the best combination of the four Ps in a given situation
* line of products to be offered to an identified target market
* the price structure
* channel to be selected
* right promotion strategy
* the total marketing effort and resources of the firm to be apportioned among the four Ps
* controlling the impact of an increase or decrease in the allocations to a particular element on the other elements
It is possible to combine the four Ps in countless ways. These combinations vary from one another, in the impact on the market and on costs. The name of the game is to select a combination, which will have the desired impact on the market and will also be cost-effective. The task is basically one of giving right thrust to the different elements of the mix and ensuring that all the elements are integrated. In fact, the effectiveness of any marketing program depends directly on the extent to which the marketing mix is able to integrate the different elements into a unified entity.
Marketing Mix has to be juggled constantly
Assembling the marketing mix is a continuous task and not a one-shot assignment. No marketing manager can assume that his job is over once the marketing mix is assembled. The mix will require periodical changes and in some cases, constant changes. In fact, there is no such thing as a for-ever-valid marketing mix. The marketing manager has to carefully monitor the conditions and keep juggling the mix.
Changes in Environmental Variablesâ€¦
The environmental variables are constantly in a flux. This reality compels the marketing manager to keep juggling the marketing mix. Without doing so, he will not be in a position to respond properly to the changes. Competition is one of the major environmental variables. The competitors in any given industry will be making their tactical manoeuvres in the market all the time. They will introduce a new product, or initiate an aggressive promotion campaign, or announce a price reduction. The competing marketing manager has to meet all these maneuvers and take care of the competitive position of his farm/brand in the market. The only way he can achieve this is by juggling the marketing mix. Similar is the case with other major environmental variables like economic conditions, government policies and climatic conditions. All of them keep changing and the marketing manager has to keep adjusting the marketing mix accordingly.
Change in Customer Preference
In many businesses, the customer is the most fluctuating of all the environmental variables. Often, customer tastes and preferences change very fast. Today he may want a cheaper version of the product, tomorrow he may be bothered more about quality or after sales service. Brand loyalty also changes. Customerâ€™s purchasing power too changes over a time. The marketing manager is very much concerned with these changes relating to the customer. Through customer analysis and market research conducted from time to time, the marketing manager may have to gather the relevant information about the customer and the changes taking place in his needs, tastes and preferences and respond to them through appropriate modification of the marketing mix.
Changes within the Firm
One more reason why the marketing mix needs to be juggled frequently internal changes within the organization. Besides the changes in the external environment, changes taking place within the firm too, necessitate modifications in the marketing mix. Changes in the corporate/competitive strategy of the firm, changes in the product lines of the firm, changes in the organization or resources level of the firm, will all lead to changes in the marketing mix for a given product/brand.
In conclusion the onus of countering the environmental variables is on the marketing manager by resorting to timely modifications of product mix.