- Define product
- Define promotion
- Define place
- Define price
In the marketing mix, the term “product” means the solution that the customer wants and needs. In this context, we focus on the solution rather than only on the physical product. Examples of the product include:
- The Tesla Model S, a premium electric car
- A Stay at a Holiday Inn Express, a low-price national hotel chain
- Doritos Nachos Cheese, a snack food
- Simple, an online banking service
Each of these products has a unique set of features, design, name, and brand that are focused on a target customer. The characteristics of the products are different from competitors’ products.
In the marketing mix, the term “promotion” refers to the communications that occur between the company and the customer. Promotion includes both the messages sent by the company and messages that customers send to the public about their experience. Examples of promotion include:
- An advertisement in Cooking Light magazine
- A customer’s review of the product on YouTube
- A newspaper article in the local paper quoting a company employee as an expert
- A text message sent to a list of customers or prospects
Marketing professionals have an increasingly difficult job influencing promotions that cannot be controlled by the company. The company’s formal messages and advertising are only one part of promotions.
In the marketing mix, the term “place” refers to the distribution of the product. Where does the customer buy the product? “Place” might be a traditional brick-and-mortar store, or it could be online. Examples include:
- Distribution through an online retailer such as Amazon.com
- Use of a direct sales force that sells directly to buyers
- Sales through the company’s Web site, such as the shoe purchases at Nike.com
- Sales by a distributor or partner, such as the purchase of a Samsung phone from Best Buy or from a Verizon store
In today’s world, the concept of “place” in the marketing mix rarely refers to a specific physical address. It takes into account the broad range of distribution channels that make it easy for the target customer to buy.
In the marketing mix, the term “price” refers to the cost to the customer. This requires the company to analyze the product’s value for the target customer. Examples of price include:
- The price of a used college textbook in the campus bookstore
- Promotional pricing such as Sonic Drive-In’s half-price cheeseburgers on Tuesdays
- Discounts to trade customers, such as furniture discounts for interior designers
Marketing professionals must analyze what buyers are willing to pay, what competitors are charging, and what the price means to the target customer when calculating the product’s value. Determining price is almost always a complicated analysis that brings together many variables.
CASE Study: MAUI built
There are and have been many apparel brands based on the so-called “Beach/Surf” lifestyle: Catalina, Hang Ten, Ocean Pacific, and Morey Boogie, to name a few. One of the most unique of these brands is one that is not widely recognized, and for a very good reason.
Louie Martin, a Latino from Southern California, moved with his single-mother to the islands when he was quite young. He started a business shaping and selling surfboards and later, in 1995, he created the “Maui Built” brand. Unlike other mass-market brands, Louie had a unique marketing vision: design authentic island products and distribute them only to Maui surf shops.
This was a brilliant strategy for his brand. One, he appealed to local island pride as Maui residents knew they were getting authentic products inspired by Maui culture. Two, visitors to the islands knew they were buying products unique to Maui to take home from their vacation. What tourist could resist wearing a Maui Built tee shirt back on the mainland to relive their Maui experience?
Only in this last year of its 24-year history, Louie has made a limited number of Maui Built products available at his online store. This was done to “stay in touch with the Maui Built Ohana that have moved away through the years and to continue sharing Hawaii’s Aloha Culture”.
Louie himself lives the Hawaiian surf lifestyle and inspires many of the designs affixed to everything from surf boards to tee shirts. By restricting just one element of the marketing mix- distribution and place– he created a remarkable business. So the reason Maui Built is not widely recognized is actually the secret to its success.
Maui Built. www.mauibuilthawaii.com/. Accessed April 26, 2022.