One of the major objectives of any organization is to become a market leader. This applies not only to 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 involves a deliberate and careful choice of strategies and policies for organization, product, price and promotion and place. Individually each of them is important, but when all the four elements of marketing are properly selected, culled, and mixed in the right proportion, they enhance the product and make it attractive to the customer. 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 in the right proportion. Thus, the task of the marketing manager is to develop the most appropriate and creative marketing mix for his organization.
This mix had to give the organization a competitive edge over others. Moreover, this mix has 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 sometimes make a mix obsolete. Take for instance the government of India’s policy to encourage small scale companies through excise duty and other tax rebates. Consequently, they were able to sell their products at a much lower prices than their large sized counterparts. This problem has today affected almost all large companies, whether sell machinery or chemicals or consumer products,. The irony is that since technology is standardized very little variation, if at all any, in product features or quality can be claimed by these companies. Hence, today their marketing mix has got to be different. Perhaps, the single most important element in their marketing mix has to be service provided.
Consumer tastes, lifestyles, and technology changes can also make the marketing mix of a company obsolete. The classic case here is that of HMV – the goliath of the Indian music industry – which lost to T- series and other new music companies only because it failed to appreciate the technological shift from long playing (LP) records to cassettes; from turn tables to two-in-ones and this had a direct impact on its operations. Moreover, the consumer was now also interested in ghazals and other music rather than just the film music. All this led to HMV’s downfall and the rise of other companies like Music India, CBS, T-Series, Venus, and Sony.
Thus, one may infer that the marketing mix of an organization is critical for its success, and this mix has to be formulated keeping in mind the needs of the target customers and the environmental forces.
Apart from the above the marketing mix varies from one organization to another according to 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 over the country. On the other hand, a company may heavily promote the product at the dealer outlets and give massive incentives to dealers to push its products. Hence the choice of marketing Mix depends upon:
- marketing environment of the organization
- marketing objectives
- resources position of the firm
- marketing organization structure and information system
Earlier, it was mentioned that demand generation for a product is just one of the several tasks of a marketing manager. In fact, as shown, the ask of the marketer is to match the demand with the supply position of the company. Failing to do so may prove disastrous for the marketer. For example, a hotel marketer in a hill station may be faced with an irregular demand – excessive during the season and hardly any occupancy during off season. His task obviously is to promote the hotel during the lean season by offering off season discounts on room and food tariffs, organizing special events to attract tourists, promoting it as a conference venue, and so forth. On the other hand, an oil company is faced with an ever increasing demand. The marketer here has to depress demand for oil by educating motorists on the importance of conservation of oil. Thus, a marketer’s task is essentially management of demand given his organization’s and industry’s constraints.