Step into the time machine and we will see marketing mix frameworks existing in the 20th century when marketers called the shots. Following breakthroughs in marketing technology, the rise of IoT, and the explosion of social media, a multitude of marketing mix frameworks have emerged — urging brands to be, for instance, seller-centric or customer-centric.
In this blog, we explore the evolution of the marketing mix, the common challenges brands face when navigating its latest incarnation, and tips for adapting the new mix to today’s digital reality.
The marketing mix
Coined by McCarthy in 1960, the marketing mix comprises four “Ps’” — product, price, place, and promotion — and is foundational to a marketing strategy. He taught us that if we step into our marketing kitchen, customer acquisition and profits would be as simple as adding four “P” ingredients. A dash of price. A sprinkle of promotion. Then, success!
Let’s expand on this:
Product: what brands are selling in terms of quality, packaging, design, branding, and innovation.
Price: the selling price, including discounts, payment plans, and credit terms
Place: where brands are selling their products. This encompasses retail locations, delivery methods, distributions, and more.
Promotion: how brands make their products known through advertising, public relations, and other tactics
Four Ps: necessary but not sufficient
The four “P” ingredients have been time-tested, but are they becoming time-worn now?
Technology is driving changes in customer expectations. They are more connected and more tech-savvy. They seek the thrills of meaningful, relevant, and delightful engagement. Brands today are not just optimizing prices or selling their products; they must also account for their customers’ desires, especially when consumers are more and more calling the shots and choosing when, where, and how to purchase.
This development calls for a stronger emphasis on the customer and their journey with the brand. However, the change of focus does not mean brands should throw out the four Ps either, because they are still necessary, though not sufficient.
So, what other ingredients should we add to the mix?
The new mix: a focus on customer journeys
It’s time to revisit the marketing mix and make it more expansive, reflective of today’s digital reality. The four Ps should now evolve to the four Es–experience, exchange, everyplace, and evangelism.
From product to experience
Curate a personalized experience that delights customers and leaves them eager for further engagement. Just like how every dish in a seven-course fine dining is a gastronomic experience, businesses should shift from only selling products to mapping out an individualized journey that helps customers form a connection with not just specific products but their brands.
From place to everyplace
The route to purchase is no longer linear. Customers today can forge their own purchasing journey through multiple touchpoints. It is imperative for marketers to identify the most visited channels and understand the specific sequences in which audiences tend to navigate them. By uncovering such behavioral insights, brands will be able to engage their audiences with far less fiction and a lot more impact.
From price to exchange
The transaction between seller and consumer is no longer only about price and product. For customers, they want to know the clusters of value they can receive in exchange — rewards, discounts, relevant experiences, and more — tailored to their interests.
From promotion to evangelism
The rise of social media has changed promotional tactics and sites, with customers and those perceived as personally important to the former — influencers — being directly involved in promoting products and services. Brands must consider how they can cultivate their unique little universes where consumers feel recognized, comfortable, and empowered.
Such a universe will most likely encompass almost all relevant touchpoints, so the brand can consistently garner insights so they can better enable consumers to speak about their positive experiences and build communities.
Challenges of the new marketing mix
Most brands can agree that customer centricity is key, but do they have the strategy and technology to make it happen? What’s stopping them from moving towards this imperative and the 4 E’s?
Siloed data sources
The first challenge is siloed data. Scattered data necessaires extensive time and resource investments for pulling information from various sources. This results in outdated, fragmented communications that prevent truly real-time customer experiences. This is why marketers are generally looking for an integrated, powerful CDP that unifies all data and provides an actionable, 360° view of every customer.
Data collection vs. customer privacy
Personalized customer journeys can be a tough juggling act. Consumers’ desire for omnichannel experiences is inseparable their anxieties about data privacy, unsolicited adverting, and digital boundaries.
However, data still needs to be capitalized upon to recommend suitable product offerings and deliver digital interactions. A multilayered security approach will empower marketers to safeguard sensitive customer data, leading to increased customer trust and brand loyalty.
Giving digital experiences a personal touch
Digital experiences might seem cold and lack the human touch compared to in-person or brick-and-mortar encounters. Capabilities such as audience identity resolution and next-best experience management enable brands to determine the identities of their customers and distill individual propensities to better tailor individual journeys — at scale.
Elusive ROI attribution
Customers journeys to purchase differ in length, pattern, and the touchpoints involved. This poses a challenge for brands without the right tools to attribute ROI precisely. To address this challenge, technology such as the Resulticks Smart Duo enhances the digital touchpoints and offers brands a foundational mechanism for mapping paths to conversion and pinpoint ROI in detailed ways.
The way forward: realizing goals and strategies
This blog proposes the 4 Es to constitute a new iteration of the marketing mix for the current era, without necessarily deeming the 4 Ps obsolete. To put the new mix into practice, however, brands need to overcome legacy approaches, reassess outdated systems, and embrace new tools to achieve the central goal of customer centricity.
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