Effective marketing mix


One of the major objectives of any organization is to become the market leader. This applies not only to the companies, but even to non-profit making organizations like educational institutions, hospitals, management institutes, etc. To be able to achieve this objective, it is important that these organizations be able to assemble their marketing offer called marketing mix, in a way that it gives them a competitive edge.

The concept of marketing mix, also popularly called as the four P’s of marketing, involves careful mixing up of the organization’s Products, Price, Promotion and Place strategies and policies. Individually, each of them is important, but like an individual bead or a diamond, it is not so very valuable. If the same beads/diamonds were to be put in a string, it becomes attractive and a customer will be willing to pay a higher price for it. Similarly, when all the four elements of marketing are properly selected, culled and mixed in the right proportion, it becomes an attractive offer which very few individuals can afford to ignore. In other words, the concept of marketing mix is like a recipe for a gourmet delight. It is important that all the ingredients are mixed properly in the right proportion. Failing to do so would make the diner either reject it or consume much less than what he would have taken otherwise. Thus the task of the marketing manager is to develop the most appropriate and creative marketing mix for his organization.

None of the elements of the marketing mix can alone get the organization higher sales and profits. Take for instance the case of Big Bite, a fast food item launched in 80s in Bombay. This product was heavily promoted. At all strategic locations, hoardings were put up. The advertising agency used words like “Crunch, Munch—Gulp� and “Don’t feel like a Big Bite now!� in their campaigns.

The youth of Bombay immediately tried it but the product failed to satisfy them. The statistics showed a very high trial rate but a poor repeat purchase rate. Why did this happen? One obvious reason was that the product in comparison to it nearest competitor, namely ‘Rolls’ failed to satisfy the appetite of the target customers. The ad campaign raised high expectations which were belied by the product as it was not really a “big bite�. Quality variations were observed at different fast food outlets. The price and mode, in which the product was retailed, left much to be desired. Thus, an excellent product concept failed only because of non-appropriate mixing of marketing elements.

On the other hand, a franchisee of Parle (Exports), launched new fruit-flavored drink namely Frooti in a revolutionary tetra pack the same year. The company chose non-conventional channels of distribution like Drugstores, general merchant stores, a common sweet mart, etc. for distributing its product. It priced it at the same level as any other soft-drink. The ad campaign was attractive and the product was a run away success. The company had used the right marketing mix.

Thus it is important for any organization to have the right marketing mix. This mix has to be competitive so that the organization gets a competitive edge over others. More over, this mix has got to be constantly reviewed, as an organization operates within an external environment that is continually changing. For example, a new Government policy or some fresh competition may sometime make a mix obsolete. Take for instance, the Government of India’s policy to encourage small scale companies. This makes the balance tilt heavily in favor of these companies as they enjoy excise duty and other tax rebates. Consequently they are able to sell a product at a much lower price than their large-sized counterparts. This problem has today affected almost all large companies, whether they sell machinery, or chemicals or consumers products. The irony is that since technology is standardized, very little variation in product features or quality can be claimed by these companies. Hence, today their marketing mix has got to be different. The single most important element in their marketing mix has got to be “SERVICE� anywhere and anytime.

Consumer’s tastes, lifestyle and technology change can also make marketing mix of a company obsolete. The classic case here is that of HMV—The Goliath of the Indian music industry—which collapsed like a pack of cards. Only because, it failed to appreciate the technological change—from long playing (LP) records to cassettes; from turn-tables to two-in-ones—which had a direct impact on its operations More over the consumers was also now more interested in Ghazals and pop music rather than just the filmy music .All this led to HMV’s downfall and the rise of other companies like Music India, CBS, T-Series, etc.

Thus, one may infer that the marketing mix of an organization is critical for its success. And this mix has got to be assembled, keeping in mind the needs of the target customers and the environmental forces.

Besides the above, the marketing mix varies from one organization to another depending upon its available resources. A company with sound financial resources may spend large amounts on advertising its brands, launching multiple brands of the same product and distributing it all the country. On the other hand, another company, not so fortunate, may heavily promote the product at the dealer outlets, and give massive incentives to dealers to push its product.