To cook a meal, a chef should have the right ingredients in the right amount: a tablespoon of salt, a pinch of garlic, vegetables. If they miss any of them, it will spoil the whole meal.
Similarly, as marketers, you need to put together some essential elements to devise your marketing plan.
These ingredients are the 4Ps of marketing, known as the marketing mix. But what are these 4Ps of marketing, and how will they help you in your marketing strategy? This guide will help you understand the marketing mix by studying how the top food brand Mcdonald’s adopted these tactics.
As a marketer, your first task is to decide who your target audience is. Once you have identified that, then you will think about the product, the pricing strategy.
After that comes the promotional part that includes all the activities to make the target audience aware of your product. All these factors should be combined or mixed to get the desired results. The mixture of these elements is known as the marketing mix.
In the early 20th century, Harvard professor James Culliton published an article titled "The Management of Marketing Costs", in which he describes marketers as ‘mixers of ingredients'.
By mixer of ingredients, he means marketers are constantly engaged in devising a mix of marketing procedures and policies to create a profitable enterprise. This idea was further promoted by his colleague Professor Neil Borden in the 1940s.
Yet, despite the popularity of the marketing mix model, there was no consensus on what elements should be in the mix.
Then, in the 1960s, marketer and academic E. Jerome McCarthy proposed the 4Ps framework in his book Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach. Since then, the 4P framework - Product, Price, Place, and Promotion, has been used by marketers to develop their marketing strategies.
Implementing a marketing plan helps you in many ways. Some of them are:
Help you understand the changing dynamics of the market and how to devise your marketing strategy based on these changes.
Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business.
Identify marketing trends and develop innovative ideas for products or services.
Build brand awareness and trust.
A product includes every aspect of what you are trying to sell, both goods and services.
It is the most fundamental element of the marketing mix, as you cannot advertise or sell something that does not exist.
Products or services aim to create value for their target audience. If the product is not valuable, there will be no demand.
While deciding the product, you should be able to answer these questions:
Who is my target audience?
What product or services will serve my audience well?
What are the features of my product or services?
How is my product different from other products in the market?
Let’s look at McDonald’s product strategy. The below table explains how they developed it.
|Metrics||What it includes|
|Products||Veg and non-veg hamburgers, sandwiches, beverages, breakfast meals, desserts, and combo offers.|
|Target audience||Age: 8-45. Income group: Lower and middle. classLife cycle stage: Parents with young children, young children, business customers, and teenagers.|
|Feature of their products||Diversification: Offers an immersive range of menus for people with different tastes and preferences. Offer a happy meal box designed for children.|
|Differentiation from competitors||MacDonald’s offers localization, which means they provide socially and culturally acceptable products to a particular region. Instead of beef patties, India has Big Mac with chicken ones to create the Maharaja Mac since the cow is a sacred animal. In Sweden, where people prefer a healthy diet, MacDonald’s offers a vegetarian burger known as the McBean Patty.|
Mcdonald’s create value in the following ways:
The price aims to capture your product’s value to the target audience and earn revenue from the sales. Each product offers different values and utility to other individuals. So, choosing the right price is crucial to serving your audience well.
While deciding the price, should look at the following factors:
Let’s understand pricing more through Mcdonald’s pricing strategy:
|Strategy||What it includes|
|Bundling price strategy||Offer combo meals that are cheaper than purchasing each item separately. For instance, customers can buy a happy meal box, veggie combo offer, etc.|
|Psychological pricing strategy||Use a fractional price range instead of rounding up the price. For instance, a Mcveggie burger priced at Rs.39 instead of Rs.40.|
McDonald’s capture the value through price in the following ways:
Place refers to how you offer your product to your customers. It can be through a retail store, websites, or third-party members or applications. The place aims to deliver value to your customers by providing easy accessibility.
Nowadays, the digital market has become more prevalent where people can place their order from the website and get it delivered. So, It should have an attractive user interface, navigational bars, and a secure checkout to provide value to your target audience.
For this, you need to ask these questions to yourself:
Where is my target audience shopping?
Where are my competitors and which channel of distribution do they use? Is it physical or digital?
How will I sell my products online? Will I use third-party services or sell on my own?
If I sell my products in a physical store, what kind of facilities should be there?
How would I make your physical store customer-friendly?
McDonald’s Place strategy uses a combination of both physical and digital stores to distribute their products. Let’s look at how:
|Strategy||What it includes|
|Physical stores||Restaurants, food outlets in shopping complexes. There are small kiosks that sell specific items such as sundaes and other desserts.|
|Digital platforms||Uses third-party apps such as Zomato and Swiggy. Customers can access information about the company’s products and place their order|
Mcdonald’s deliver value in the following ways:
Ensuring accessibility by establishing stores within the range of their target audience. Some of their stores also offer services 24X7.
Every store has free wi-fi, and the environment is friendly where freelancers and business people can do their work and enjoy their meals.
Promotion includes all the offline and online channels and methods that you use to make the consumers aware of your products or services. The main goal of promotion is to communicate the value of a product or service.
The promotion channel includes TV advertising, banners, pamphlets, email marketing, display advertising, social media advertising, etc.
When you decide about a promotional channel, ask yourself these questions:
Which channel does my target audience use the most?
Which channel do my competitors use?
How would I map out the buyer’s journey?
How much budget will I allocate for promotion?
Will I hire an agency, freelancers, or more employees to do the promotional work?
Take a look at McDonald’s promotion strategy in the below table:
|Strategy||What it includes|
|Advertisements||TV, radio, print media, and online media.|
|Public relations||Activities that help promote the business to the target market through goodwill and brand strengthening. For instance, the Ronald McDonald House Charities and the McDonald’s Global Best of Green environmental program support communities while boosting the value of the corporate brand.|
|Social media marketing||They actively post and engage with their audience on different social media channels like Instagram, Linkedin, and Twitter.|
McDonald’s communicate value in the following ways:
Creating seasonal offers to attract customers during festivals, seasons, etc.
Engage with their online audience and post creative campaigns to inform them about updates or new product launches.
Send push notifications, emails, etc., to stay in touch.
Marketing is an evolving field, and you need a practical framework to keep growing and stay one step ahead of your competitors. With digitization, these marketing mix elements may seem outdated, but they are not. Instead, these elements provide a framework to build your marketing strategy.
Each element is independent of others, so you can’t expect to increase your sales if you don’t have a product that solves your target audience’s needs.
Hence, for each element, keep your target audience at the core of all your decisions and provide value to them throughout their journey.