Marketing is a management effort, which aims to identify the needs of customers, and satisfy those needs in a profitable and efficient manner.
What are the elements of marketing?
You probably have heard about the 4ps of marketing or the marketing mix. If you are already knowledgeable on the subject that is great; if you are not, here are some basics.
The 4ps of marketing are the elements that you will combine in order to put your product in the market place. They are Product, Price, Promotion and Place.
Lets take a brief look at each. We will look a bit more closely at product, price and place; promotion will be examined in a later article.
Product is the goods or service that you are offering to the market. You want to ensure that your product is designed, packaged and branded in the most attractive, efficient, effective and convenient manner.
Is it appealing? It is more likely that customers will not pass your product if packaged attractively; we often tend to ignore the boring labels and stop to read the ones that catch our eyes.
Does it do the job?
The product must fulfil its function. If, for example, you stated that your detergent does not fade coloured clothing, then the customer should see the results when they wash.
What is its impact on the environment?
You want to produce products that are as environmentally friendly as possible. Try to minimize negative environmental impacts.
The main purpose of the package is to protect the product from damage. Often in transit products are subjected to rough treatment so this should be taken into consideration. Also, you do not want more wrappings than is necessary. Packaging should also be reusable (if possible) and easily disposable.
Packaging serves the following purposes:
- It enables goods to be easily identified
- It improves presentation
- It makes products easier to handle
- It saves time since it facilitates distribution
- It protects the product from dust, dirt or being handled by fingers (buyers have a habit of feeling and touching with the fingers)
Branding is a form of trademark; it serves the purpose of creating a unique name or image for your product. Think of Sprite or Nike! Customers can readily identify branded products. Branding will build trust and loyalty over time, if you become known for your quality. It makes your product readily identifiable and so customers can differentiate between yours’ and the competitors. The brand is usually affixed to the product packaging.
Why is Branding necessary?
- It helps to create customer loyalty
- Registering a brand name protects ownership rights
- It makes promotion of the product easier so you can advertise a whole range of products at once
- It can help to increase sales since people are more likely to buy brand names
Register your trademark to :
- Protect others from using it or creating something too similar, as this could mislead the public.
- Prevent unauthorized use, legally
Once registered you can take legal actions for infringements.
This is usually a tag attached to the packaging to aid with the identification of the product. A label should clearly display the following information:
- The registered office or country of origin
- The expiry date of the item (if necessary)
- The ingredients in the product
The aim of ‘product’ in the marketing mix is not just for you to identify a product but to also look at how that product will be delivered to your customer – its packaging, presentation and disposal.
In the ‘price’ section of the marketing mix the product’s selling price is determined. There are several factors to could consider when determining the price; these are examined in the Costing and Pricing article.
It would be a total waste of time to produce a product if the customers have no access to it. You want your customers to be able to access your product when they need it. There are different channels through which goods can be distributed to customers:
Manufacturer to Customer
Here the customers access the products directly from you, the producer. This also serves the important purpose of keeping you close to your customers, therefore feedback can be readily obtained.
Manufacturer to Retailer to Customer
Goods pass from the manufacturer to the retailer who sells to the customers. Normally, this means your customers will pay a bit more than they would had they accessed the goods directly from you since the retailer puts a mark-up on the price.
Manufacturer to Wholesaler to Retailer to Customer
As you will notice, the product has to pass through two other channels before it reaches the final consumer, with a mark-up added at each point. Therefore, your customers will definitely be paying more. Another negative is that you cannot readily determine your customers’ feedback and it will undoubtedly take longer for you to get the information.
That being said, distribution channels are important and sometimes the only feasible way to get products to customers. Where possible you should try to monitor and manage these channels.
There are several outlets through where products could be distributed to reach the consumers, such as:
- Automatic Tellers
- Consumer co-operatives
- Convenience shops
- Door-to Door selling
- Internet shopping
- Mail Order Houses
- Shopping centres
- Vending Machines
Factors influencing choice of distribution:
- The type of product you are selling
- Consumers you want to reach
- Your budget
- Quantity to be delivered
- Frequency of delivery
These are just some important things to take note of. Visit again for follow up articles on this topic.