The marketing mix is the basis for every form of marketing. As defined by Kotler and Armstrong in Principles of Marketing, the marketing mix is “the set of tactical marketing tools–product, price, place, promotion–that the firm blends to produce the response it wants in the target market” (p. 54). The marketing mix is compared of four elements that are called The Four P’s. Those four elements can be further defined in terms of how they relate to the customer or buyer, which is referred to as The Four C’s. Below is a diagram that shows the correlation to the two different approaches.
PRODUCT AND CUSTOMER SOLUTION
The basis for the marketing mix is the product that is being marketed. Without a product, tangible or intangible, the marketing mix is obsolete. As defined in terms of the customer or buyer perspective, a product is the part of the marketing mix that provides a solution to a customer who is need. A product satisfies a customers need, want or desire. Seven different tools are used to compose a product: variety, design, features, brand name, packaging, services, and quality.
The product that best assists me in understanding the concept of product and the tools that it is composed of is Steve Madden shoes.
- Variety is exemplified by the large selection of styles offered by the shoe brand. The option to select different colors on one style of shoe also adds variety to the products.
- Design is the manner in which the shoes are created. Every shoe is composed of different elements and has its own “identity” that is exuded through the look of the shoe.
- Features are interpreted as the functionality that the different shoes provide to consumers. The brand produces a wide array of styles ranging from slippers to high heels covered in sparkling gems. All of the different styles provide different benefits to the customer (comfort, style, fashion, warmth, protection, etc.)
- Brand Name is a tool that is used by marketers to increase a product’s success and create strong customer relationships. Personally, the brand name that is associated with Steve Madden’s shoes attracts me to their product because I know that the company would never put their brand name on a product that was not up to their standards.
- Packaging is a huge determinant in the success of a product as it is the first representation of the company that a consumer is exposed to. The packing speaks for the product before it can speak for itself. Many consumers judge a product’s packaging and use that as the only factor in whether they buy the product or not. The packaging of Steve Madden shoes uses bright inviting colors that draw in the eye of the consumers and a simple design of the boxes that counter balance the bright flare.
- Services are defined in two different aspects. the intangible products that a company produces as their product qualifies as a service, as well as the customer relations. Upon entering a store or calling the online support services, it is evident that Steve Madden deeply cares about their customers and the products they produce.
- Quality is a tool that the Steve Madden brand utilizes and pays a large amount of attention to because it identifies the standard to which the product is at. As an avid customer of the brand, I can attest that the shoes produced by this company are of high quality and surpass their competitors. The company uses high quality materials to ensure that their shoes last and endure the necessary conditions.
PRICE AND CUSTOMER COST
The next step in marketing mix is determining the price at which the product being marketed will be sold at. Price is measured by the dollar amount that consumers must pay in order to obtain the product. The price is the cost that will be incurred by the customer in order to satisfy their need, want, or desire. In addition list price, to the dollar amount exchanged for a product, price is made up of four other supplemental tools: discounts, allowances, payment period, and credit terms.
The price of Steve Madden shoes are determined by the company with the use of the tools
- List Price is the standard price that customers see without the addition of added discounts or price cutting offers. Steve Madden uses decent list prices to attract customers who value high quality shoes but do not feel the need to spend extraordinary amounts of money at the same time. The list price of the brand’s products are consistent at every retailer.
- Discounts are often used by the Steven Madden company as incentives for the consumers to buy. Seasonal discounts are often used on their products as well as “buy one get one half off,” which motivates the consumers to come into the stores and become familiar with the brand and products available. Also, Steve Madden has their own outlet retailers that sell their product at discounted prices.
- Allowances are price reductions that benefit the producers as well as the consumer, as opposed to the traditional discounts that tend to mostly benefit the consumer. Steve Madden does not offer allowances to their customers currently, but a trade-in program that would give customers a discount for bringing in their old shoes. In turn, Steve Madden could gather the trade-ins and donate them to women in need to boost their PR in a program the “Otter Outfitters” one run through the university (discussed further later on).
- Payment Period is defined at the amount of time a customer has to pay the full dollar amount required to buy a product. For Steve Madden, the payment period is immediate and there are no other options. Often, many companies create lay-away options for customers that allow them to extend the payment period and pay designated portions of a product’s total price over time, and receiving the product before the total amount is collected.
- Credit Terms are defined as the preexisting terms and conditions that a consumer has that qualify them for further discounts or lower prices. Often when buying a car, consumers must show their credit score, which can qualify them for smaller payments. Steve Madden does not offer price tools like this to their customers because it is not necessary or applicable to their product.
PLACE AND CONVENIENCE
After the product and price are determined, a company must use the marketing mix to determine the places that the products will be available to the customers at. From the customer’s and buyer’s perspective, place is defined by the level ease and convenience that is associated with attaining a product. Place is determined by actions taken within the company that are based on the customers they want to reach and the product they are distributing. Place is made up of six different tools: channels, coverage, locations, inventory, transportation, and logistics.
The products that the Steve Madden brand sells are strategically placed in the market so that they appeal to customers and are conveniently obtained.
- Channels are the organizations that a company choses to distribute their product through. In the solely Steve Madden based retail stores, the company chooses Channel Two, which pushes the product from the producer to the retailer, and then to the customer. Customers can also purchase Steve Madden products from other retailers such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, and other department stores.
- Coverage is defined as the portion of the market that a product is available in. For Steve Madden, the coverage is diverse as the products they make are available in their own stores as well as other retailers. with both options, Steve Madden covers a large segment of the population.
- Locations are the physical places that consumers go in order to purchase the good or service that is provided by a company. As previously stated, Steve Madden has locations that solely provide their own products, and nothing else. The Steve Madden locations are in a wide array of shopping malls and are a standard retailer in Westfield Shopping Centers.
- Inventory is the amount of product that a company keeps at one time. Steve Madden stores have more inventory than is displayed, and sales personnel often go in the back to access the inventory for customers. When shopping in their stores, customers also have the ability to ask a sales person to preform inventory searches, that allow customers to see what stores have what products available in their stores. The company also has warehouses that store excess inventory.
- Transportation comes in many different forms: planes, trains, trucks, pipelines, cargo ships, and internet (solely for electronic products). Steve Madden utilizes cargo ships and planes to transport product from the manufacturers in China, and trucks to transport their products between warehouses and the different locations.
- Logistics are the planning aspects that need to be taken into account when deciding the placement of products. Logistics must be determined before a company put a product out in the industry so that it is available to consumers.
PROMOTION AND COMMUNICATION
The final part of the marketing mix is the promotion of the product chosen. In the interpretation of the customers and buyers, the promotion is the way in which a company communicates with product with them. The promotion techniques used by all companies are different and even differ between different products within a company. Choosing the correct promotion for a product is vital because it is the determinant of whether a product is seen by those who wish to buy it or not. Promotion is composed of four marketing tools: advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, and public relations.
The promotion techniques used by Steve Madden are the tools that create a strong customer relationship between the consumers and the company because they successfully communicate with the consumers.
- Advertising for Steve Madden is most often seen in print ads in magazines and online. The company is smart in choosing advertising channels that will find their target customers, who are usually women who are shopping. Shopping magazines and other online shopping websites usually contain Steve Madden ads, ensuring that customers are able to see the product.
- Personal Selling is a promotion tool that Steve Madden uses when they make appearances at fashion shows and trunk shows where the products that they offer are displayed and available to designers to use exclusively in their lines.
- Sales Promotions are Steve Madden’s way of lowering prices in order to bring in customers and increase the amount of customers that regularly visit their stores. Steve Madden is known for their “Spin and Scratch” promotion, which are seasonal promotions that allow customers to either spin wheel with different discounts, or scratch off cards with hidden rewards. These tools strengthen customer relationships as well as attract people into the stores.
- Public Relations are used to improve the company’s public image. Steve Madden has good PR as they have not been publicly accused of participating in unethical actions, like the use of sweatshops, as many of their competitors have.
The marketing mix and level of implementation of the process used by an organization determine the success a company will have in introducing a new product to an industry. Product, price, place and promotion are the four P’s that embody the marketing mix. It is suggested that marketers focus on the customer or buyer’s perspective of a product and utilize the four C’s, as well as the four P’s. Marketers must attend closely to all of the tools and techniques that are used to make up the four P’s and four C’s. Steve Madden is an example of a company that has put careful thought into how their company works with the four P’s, C’s and the multiple tools within each category to make their products available to and desired by consumers.