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The Four P’s and the Four C’s of the marketing mix are important to a business’ success. By utilizing these tools, we are able to make certain that we are giving the customer what they want or need. The four P’s are Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. The Four C’s are Customer Solution, Cost to the User, Convenience and Communication. The purpose of the marketing mix is to ensure that there is a balanced mix of marketing activities within your marketing plan. The Four P’s are considered by many to be outdated, and so the Four C’s were introduced to adapt from a seller’s market into a buyer’s market. In previous years, the economic climate has been such that the seller controls what he/she sells. Now, however, the consumer demand sets the rules. Sellers now find themselves needing to adapt to meet consumer needs.

The first two categories I will discuss are Product and Consumer Solution. As displayed in the above graphic, Product provides Customer Solution. When creating a product, or creating the marketing plan for an existing product, it is important to recognize the ways in which this product fills consumer needs. If the product does not fill a market gap or need, it is considered to be frivolous or extraneous. In order to solidify your place in the market, it is necessary to identify and fill this need.

The next two categories are Price and Cost to the User. Before, pricing was about turning a profit and getting a high return on your investments. Now, pricing is geared towards customer satisfaction, and making sure that the price you have set will be both reasonable and attractive to consumers. Many people are driving prices down in order to be popular among consumers. When creating a product or a marketing plan, you must understand the cost to the consumers as compared with the perceived value of the product.

Third, I will talk about Place and Convenience. Place provides Convenience, because it gives the consumer a site at which to find and purchase these goods. Convenience is a huge factor of the decision making process. When a consumer is on their way home from a long day of work, the last thing they want to do is go out of their way. If, for example, a product is available in major grocery stores, it is more likely that the individual will be able to find it at a store located conveniently on the way home. However, if the only place the product is carried is at a specialty grocery across town, the consumer will not go out of their way to purchase it. It is important to make sure that your product is conveniently available in order to ensure that you will have steady sales.

Finally, we will discuss how Promotion enables two-way Communication. Tradition promotion includes advertisements, commercials, billboards, etc. These are all great ways to get your brand name out there and to let the market know about a new product or adaptation. However, the new model of promotion includes communication with the consumers. This can be achieved through viral marketing, phone calls, online surveys, social media, etc. Any way that a marketer can reach a consumer and allow them to submit feedback is considered two-way communication. By allowing communication, you open yourself up to learning more about the consumers themselves, while finding issues with the products and learning what the customers need.

The Four P’s, which have adapted into the Four C’s, of the marketing mix are vastly important to your company’s success. If you do not have the consumer in mind when creating or marketing your product, it will crash and burn.  You have to bring the product to the consumer, rather than just opening your doors and hoping for the best.

 

http://extension.umd.edu/agmarketing/marketing-101/marketing-mix-4ps-and-4cs

http://www.marketplacemotivations.com/articles/magazine-articles/54-marketing-the-four-p-s-or-the-four-c-s

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing_mix

http://www.getbusymedia.com/the-4-ps-and-4-cs-of-the-marketing-mix/

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There are thousands of reasons why consumers behave and purchase the way they do. There are entire research teams focused on the psychology of the consumer. In order to have a successful business or product, it is critical that you understand the “why” behind consumer decisions, in order to predict the outcome. If you know the “why” in advance, you can customize your product to meet these needs in order to ensure your success.

Consumer buyer behavior and decision making processes both surround one important issue, which is “why does the consumer do/not do this?” By understanding the consumer, we find ourselves better equipped to fit their needs. The four major factors that impact a consumer’s decision making process are cultural, social, personal, and psychological.

Cultural factors can stem from one’s culture, subculture, place in society, and upbringing. Culture is a greatly influential aspect of a person’s life. For example, McDonald’s adapts itself for foreign markets by carrying products that meet the religious needs of the Hindu religion in India. Because the Hindus believe that the slaughter of a cow is unholy, McDonald’s provides several vegetarian burger alternatives. By doing this, they open up their doors to a consumer base that would have never stepped foot in their otherwise.

Social factors include groups, family, roles, and status. These are all outside influences that effect buyer behavior. If you are in a group, for example, you are around those people on a regular basis. They influence your behavior in general, which then has an effect on your buying decisions. In addition to pressure from friends and family to behave a certain way, there is also the pressure of roles and status. You won’t see the CEO of a prominent company buying discount toilet paper in a Wal-Mart, because of her status and her role in society. There is always pressure to have the best of everything, and to afford yourself quality goods if they are within your budget.

Personal factors are, of course, the most influential when it comes to decision making. Personal factors can include lifecycle stage, occupation, economic circumstances, lifestyle, personality, and self-concept. I will use popular clothing stores as an example. Forever21 is a brand that markets towards young girls that need cheap, fashionable clothing. Nordstrom’s markets itself to older men and women with a higher amount of disposable income. Because of their age and economic status, they will choose Nordstrom’s over Forever21, whereas the young girl with a limited budget will choose the latter.

Psychological factors may be the hardest to ascertain. They can include motivation, perception, beliefs, and attitude. Motivations can be simply the need for certain comforts, like food and shelter. If someone needs these things, they will behave a certain way. Beliefs are very strong influencers as well. If you see a company that is known for using sweat shops or child labor, and those things go against your beliefs, you may choose to avoid that brand.

There are many factors that have an effect on consumer’s and their purchasing decisions. It is essential that we, as marketers, discover how we can use these factors to attain attention and desire from the consumer.

 

http://www.superprofesseur.com/19.html

http://www.consumerpsychologist.com/intro_Consumer_Behavior.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buyer_decision_process

http://www.consumercouncil.org.uk/filestore/documents/home_economics_a_level_and_gcse/gcse_what_influences_shopping/What_influences_shopping_Lesson_Plan.pdf

http://www.aipmm.com/html/newsletter/archives/000434.php

p and d

 

Positioning and differentiation are vastly important, if you wish your product to rise above competition and succeed in the marketplace. Positioning is defined as the way you influence customer perception of your product compared with their perception of competing products. Differentiation is just what it sounds like, setting your product apart by adjusting price or quality in order to push demand higher.

If you have a great product, that’s wonderful. But if the consumer never knows how great your product is compared to other products like it, you’re shooting yourself in the foot as a business owner. This is why positioning is so critical in the market place. People need to be spoon-fed this information, because most buyers don’t do all of the necessary research. They need to see right up front all of the attributes of buying your product above another. One example of this is the Bounty commercials for their paper towels. They put one of their thick, durable paper towels next to a weaker one dubbed “competitor brand” and pour liquid on each or use each to clean a mess in order to show how much stronger their product is.

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Differentiation is also extremely valuable. If your product is the same as every other version like it, you will find that there is no drive for consumers to pick your product. They need to have a reason to buy your product. As with the previous example, Bounty uses differentiation by promoting themselves as the only paper towel with 2-ply and extra strength. Because of this, the value goes up exponentially in the eyes of the consumer. They want to know that they are purchasing quality goods, and if you are constantly showing them how much better your product is, they will always have that in mind when choosing paper towels.

This topic has been especially valuable to me, as I hope to one day open up my own restaurant. There are millions of restaurants in the world, and it is important that I set my business and my products apart. By utilizing differentiation, I will ensure that my products always provide great value to my customers. Knowing now how much of an impact this can have on your business, I will be able to create a successful brand and promote both loyalty and customer satisfaction. Positioning comes into play when I discover what ways my restaurant will be different. I will position myself against competition in the market by promoting the strengths of my restaurant and the advantages of dining there. I will position myself as a low-cost, high-quality restaurant with an enjoyable atmosphere.

In conclusion, product positioning and differentiation are crucial to a business’ or product’s success. Without these key tools, your product will never succeed in the marketplace. Differentiation helps to set you apart from competition, and positioning helps the consumer to understand in what ways you are different and superior.

 

http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/market-positioning.html

http://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/product-strategy-positioning-and-differentiation

http://www.slideshare.net/artistramakrishna/online-marketing-differentiation-and-positioning

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/product-positioning-differentiation-strategy-5078.html

competitor-analysis

There are several aspects of competitor analysis, as shown on the above graphic. It is absolutely critical that a marketer utilize competitor analysis in order to get a full understanding of what products the consumer might choose above yours, and why. I will go over the major aspects of competitor analysis now.

The first part of competitor analysis is fairly straightforward, a company simply identifies its competitors. While this sounds easy enough, sometimes it can be hard to recognize which products are a threat to yours. In the fast-food industry, for example, it is obvious that Burger King and McDonald’s are in competition. It is less clear, however, that grocery stores carry competition for these large chains as well. This is called and indirect competitor, and it is a company or product that doesn’t necessarily operate in the same type of market that you do, but still has the ability to provide an alternative to your product.

Another aspect of competitor analysis is the ranking of competitors. It is very important to understand which of your competitors is your biggest threat, and which is the least of a threat. If you underestimate, or overvalue a competitor, it can be very easy to spend way too much money diminishing the wrong threat. You have to know who to eliminate, and who to sweep under the rug.

Benchmarking the competition is also an important part of competitor analysis. Benchmarking simply means comparing one’s business to industry bests or best practices from other companies. It is a way to take the most valuable criteria, and ensure that your company is at least meeting if not exceeding these standards. It is a great way to figure out where you stand in the market, and how effective your practices are.

Competitor analysis is important because without it, your company will fail. It is crucial that you understand who else is out there, taking your customers. It is a very competitive market we are currently in, and as a result of this, it has become common practice for companies to size each other up, and keep tabs on each other’s operations.

http://www.smartinsights.com/marketplace-analysis/competitor-analysis/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benchmarking

 

This course has taught me many things about marketing, but possibly the most important is the concept of truly understanding customer needs. If you cannot assess and meet the needs of your target market, you might as well not be in business at all.

Building a brand requires building brand loyalty. If you are able to identify market needs, and are able to meet them thoroughly, you have a launching point. There are several factors, however, that affect a company’s ability to create brand loyalty. The first one is understanding the needs themselves, and identifying a solution or product. This is simple enough, and requires some, but not a lot, of critical thinking. It can be easy to identify THAT somebody has a need, the harder part is understanding WHY.

The WHY of customer needs is identifying not only that there is a need, but drives the customer to have that need? What are the outside factors that influence them? It is crucial that a business owner discover why the consumers are thinking what they are, in order to market to them effectively. If, for example, a business creates a product based on consumer need without figuring out why, they might find that the need was situational or temporary, forcing their sales to come to a halt once that need ceases to exist.

The simplest way to ensure that your business will meet consumer needs and create brand loyalty is to get to know them. A business owner or a marketer should know everything about their clients in order to custom-design a marketing strategy for them. Personalization is a great form of marketing because it makes the consumer feel as though they are no longer just part of the faceless masses.

 

In addition to the book, I used these sources:

http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/marketing/customer-care/understanding-your-customers/understanding-your-customers-real-needs

http://www.wikihow.com/Understand-Customer-Needs

http://www.pragmaticmarketing.com/resources/think-you-know-how-to-meet-customer-needs

me!

My name is Megan Lund. I will be using this blog to reflect on what I have learned throughout this semester in my BUS306 Marketing Course with Carol Davis. It has been a compacted summer session, and we have gained a lot of knowledge in very little time. I am excited to share my experience with you, and I hope you enjoy my blog!