Marketing mix is a term used by businesses to promote their products or services. The various elements to the marketing mix are referred to as the four P’s: Product, Place, Price, and Promotion (Fastlink). These aspects are how customers learn about a company’s products or services.
The Product portion of the marketing mix refers to the researching of consumers’ product needs and coming up with a product that has the characteristics to accommodate those needs. This is a very important element of the marketing mix because it directly involves creating products and services that satisfy consumers’ needs and wants.
The Place portion of the marketing mix equation has to do with making the product available when it is desired and at a convenient or proper location. The product needs to be made available in sufficient quantities to satisfy customer needs. Putting the product in the customers’ hands can be the factor that makes the sale.
The Price facet of the marketing mix is relative to the activities associated with establishing pricing policies and determining product prices. Price is a critical component of the marketing mix because consumers are concerned about the value obtained in an exchange. Price is also an important factor when considering the competition.
The Promotion variable relates to bringing information to the target customer concerning the organization and its products or services. That can mean increasing public awareness of a product or organization in such a way that the consumer is compelled to patronize that business. Promotion is a means to generate interest in the unique or beneficial characteristics product or service.
By using the marketing mix strategy organizations attempt to create the opportunity to successfully market a product. It can be said that the marketing mix and its manipulation are vital for the success of a business. However, their goods or services may only succeed if the organization provides products that satisfy consumers’ needs and wants through a coordinated set of activities that also allow the organization to achieve its goals.
Customer satisfaction should be the major aim of the marketing concept. The process does not end here because the organization should continue to alter, adapt and develop products that will keep pace with customers’ changing desires and preferences. Organizations should be aware of the importance of customers and release that marketing activities begin and end with the customer.
Shell Oil Company has been in business since 1912, when the Royal Dutch/Shell Group created the American Gasoline Company to market oil along the Pacific Coast (Shell). Just last week Shell notified me that they now have “All new Shell gasolines” that will give me better mileage. That notification was brought to my attention by way of a direct mailing of a full color brochure with two coupons worth $2 off a purchase of 10 gallons or more of the new Shell gasolines.
The coupons are only valid at five local Shell stations and must be redeemed no later than September 28, 2003. The brochure also promotes the Shell MasterCard(r) from Citi(r) Cards that offer a 5% rebate on every purchase of Shell gasoline, resulting in an approximate rebate of 7 a gallon. Not only did Shell hit all four P’s; they did it in a manner that would give them measurable results in a short period of time. By mailing this offer they reached out to potential customers and attempted to put a Shell product in the hands of those customers.
It seems that if a new, more efficient, gasoline were invented, there would be plenty of publicity that Shell could capitalize on. For Shell, this ‘new’ gasoline is their product. They don’t say exactly what the attributes of these gasolines are that make them special; only that they will give the buyer better gas mileage, thereby creating a cost savings.
Shell has placed their product at ‘convenient locations’ near the area where I live. Their colorful brochure indicates five locations within a reasonable driving distance of my home. These are not necessarily new locations, but Shell is making a deliberate point of indicating placement of their product.
The price of the Shell gasoline has been made more attractive in the short term with the use of money saving coupons, and in the long term with the offer of rebates on gasoline purchases using the credit card offered by their partner. The Shell promotion is saying that there is a new product being offered, with the implication of value, and that you can experience continued price breaks by utilizing their partner’s financing service.
Finally, the promotion of the product is being made by direct mail, it is succinct and to the point, and it encourages the potential customer to act immediately. The reader must take Shell at their word that the Shell product is new and improved. The only way to verify Shell’s claim of better gas mileage is to try the product. I’ll use their coupon.