Marketing Mix Paper

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Kristin MacKenzie
MKT 421
Marketing Mix Paper
Wendy Wagner
May 8, 2006

A marketing strategy provides a big picture of what a firm can do in a specific market. When creating a marketing strategy, a firm must identify a target market and a related marketing mix. A target market is "a group of similar customers to whom a firm wishes to appeal," and a marketing mix is "the controllable variables the company puts together to satisfy this target group." (Perrault and McCarthy 36) Focusing on specific target customers can help a firm develop a marketing mix that satisfies those customers' specific needs better than another firm, making a firm less likely to face direct competitors.

"To find the best marketing strategy and mix, the company engages in marketing analysis, planning, implementation and control." (Armstrong and Kotler 53) A typical marketing mix includes "some product, offered at a price, with some promotion to tell potential customers about the product, and a way to reach the customer's place." (Perrault and McCarthy 36) Breaking down the marketing mix into these four basic elements – product, price, promotion, and place – helps simplify the selection of marketing mixes that will target the customers. "Components of each marketing mix element are combined to provide a cohesive marketing program." (Kerin et al. 45)

The Product part of the mix is concerned with developing the right "product" for the target customers. This could include a physical good, a service, or a combination of both – anything that satisfies the customers' needs. Other areas covered by the Product element include features, benefits, quality level, accessories, installation, instructions, warranty, product lines, packaging, and branding.

The Place area is concerned with decisions involving getting the "right" product to the target customers' Place, making it available when and where it is needed. Products reach customers through a channel of distribution, which is the chain of firms that help produce the product. This channel can be short, sometimes going only from a producer to a final user; or it can be more complex, involving numerous firms. Other areas covered by Place include objectives, channel type, market exposure, kinds of middlemen, kinds and locations of stores, how to handle transporting and storing, service levels, recruiting middlemen, and managing channels.

Promotion is concerned with telling the target market or others in the chain of distribution about the "right" product. It can be focused on acquiring new customers or retaining current ones. Promotion includes personal selling, which involves direct communication between sellers and potential customers; mass selling, which is communicating with large numbers of customers at the same time; and sales promotion, which is all promotional activities that stimulate interest in the product. Other areas covered by Promotion include objectives, promotion blend, salespeople (kind, number, selection, training, motivation), advertising (targets, kinds of ads, media type, copy thrust, prepared by whom), sales promotion, and publicity.

Price is the final element in the marketing mix. This is an important factor because if the customer does not accept the price, then all of the planning effort is wasted. When deciding the right price for a product, a firm must consider the kind of competition in the target market and the cost of the entire marketing mix. It is also good for a firm to be able to estimate customer reaction to possible prices. Factors such as current practices in markups, discounts, and other terms of sale should also be focused on. Other areas covered by Price include objectives, flexibility, level over (product life cycle), geographic terms, discounts, and allowances.

Finish Line is one of the top competitors in the athletic shoe industry. They compete with such companies as Foot Locker, Champs, Sports Authority, and Dick's Sporting...
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