Marketing Mix

Welcome to the next lesson of this module where we will cover the topic of the marketing mix.

This chapter provides the student detailed guidance om understanding the concept of the marketing mix, explaining the four main elements (Product, Price, Place & Promotion), as well as the extended seven P’s (Packaging, Positioning & People). This is then followed by a description and developing an understanding of the significance and usage of the different types of market segmentation, targeting and positioning, which provides an organisation the platform to pinpoint a certain customer they would like to market their product/service to. The chapter also shows how brand positioning is planned by identifying its impact on the customers and other stakeholders of the organisation.

The chapter presents concise definitions of the key marketing terms, which will provide the student with useful revision notes on essential marketing theory.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this chapter, you should be able to;

  • Understand the concept of marketing mix, including the 7 Ps
  • Understand the significance and usage of the different types of market segmentation
  • Analyse what types of target marketing strategies are appropriate in each situation
  • Determine how brand positioning is planned by identifying its impact on the customers and other stakeholders of the organisation

What is the Marketing Mix?

Marketing mix is simply placing he right product in the right place for the right customer at the right price. There is no universal definition of what is right, it is instead a relative concept and depends on the nature of the product and organisation’s skills and resources. Marketers must have a detailed idea of the business plan in order to devise an effective marketing mix for the organisation.

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Why is it Important?

The significance of the marketing mix lies in the fact that it lays the foundation of the concepts in marketing. It determines how a company’s product or service offering is designed and delivered to the customer by clearly definition all the elements involved.

1.0 The 4 Ps of Marketing

This section introduces the 4 core concepts of the marketing mix, along with a detailed discussion of each one, using real-life business examples. The process of developing marketing strategies involve the usage of product, price, place and promotion, which are the essential elements of the marketing mix, commonly referred to as the 4 Ps of marketing.

1.1 Product

Product is the most important element of the marketing mix and need to be well designed, otherwise the other Ps will also not be meaningful in terms of creating value for customers. The development of a product concept is the first step in the marketing process, which will provide a value added offering to customers in a unique way than the organisation’s competitors.

In contemporary organisations, a mere product offering, marketed in an attractive way is not sufficient. In the highly competitive business environment where customers are highly influenced by incredible customer service, organisations need to do much more than just designing a unique product. This has given rise to the concepts of core product, actual product and augmented product.

The term core product refers to the primary product benefits which customers aspire to get when using a certain product or service. It provides satisfaction to the customers at a basic level and does not refer to the tangible product itself. It is just the benefit that the customer derives from its usage. For example, if someone buys a car, the core product is their convenience which enables them to travel anywhere they would like to go on their own. Another core benefit can be time-saving ability, as one can reach his/her destination earlier in a car as compared to public transport.

The actual product is the real tangible product which a customer can touch, see and feel. This is what a customer expects to receive when he decides to buy any product advertised under a brand. Taking the car example again, the actual product is the car, which the customer buys and uses. It has the features the product marketing programmes highlight.

The augmented product does not refer to the tangible product or the benefit derived from it; it is intangible by nature. It involves the addition of value to customers for which the service provider either charges or does not charge a premium. For example, when a person purchases a car, the organisation provides a warrantee with any after-sales service, which are both a part of the augmented product. Espresso recently started giving free cookies to all customers who dined in their restaurant, which is also considered as a part of the augmented product.

Consider the example of an elite restaurant in the UK, charging higher prices to its customers than those prevalent in the market. What is the restaurant’s core product, actual product and augmented product?

1.2 Price

Product suppliers specifically consider price as an important source of income generation, as they retrieve their production costs through these payments to earn profits. Quite often, price is treated as a dynamic element, which needs revision and adjustment based on various factors, including the customer types, distribution channels, emerging trends in the industry, demand status, innovation and technological advancements.

According to Lovelock, Wirtz and Chatterjee (2010), similar to product value, “the value inherent in payments is central to marketing’s role in facilitating a value exchange between the firm and its customers.”

Customers view price as a cost, which depicts the money they need to spend in order to get the required benefits. In their evaluation of the actual ‘worth’ of a specific product or service, customers sometimes go beyond the monetary price they pay, by giving due consideration to the time and effort they put it to purchase the said product offering.

Therefore, it is important for marketers to not only set a reasonable product price for customers while designing the pricing strategy, but also ensure that the outlays in terms of time and effort are minimised. For example, if a travel agent is responsible for making arrangements of a couple’s honeymoon trip to a specific location the customer has chosen, he needs to get a lot of things done as part of the process; this may include hotel/resort booking, activity planning, air tickets booking, visa processing, and managing any extra arrangements as requested by the customer. For all these steps in the process, he may need to ask the customer to visit the agent’s office many times. The travel agent may effectively design its pricing strategy by just calling the customer once to his office and collect all the documents and information needed and charge a slightly higher price for this special service. The customer will most likely agree to pay a premium for the minimised effort and time costs associated with the package otherwise.

1.3 Place

Marketers need to take care of the product delivery to customers, wherein they need to decide the mode and channels of distribution used in the process. Based on the type of product or service, an organisation needs to decide whether it should use physical or electronic distribution channels. For example, an organisation dealing in preparing paid reports for its clients may consider electronic channels sufficient, whereas a company dealing in beauty products would need to involve physical channels, which may also be used in combination with some electronic mediums.

Depending upon the scale of operations, an organisation may decide whether it needs to involve intermediaries. Service organisations mostly deliver the service directly to customers, whereas product manufacturers may need middlemen, such as wholesalers and retailers.

1.4 Promotion

Promotion decisions in the marketing environment may be made by answering the question ‘What should the customers know about our product or service offering?’ Effective communication is important to enhance the value of any marketing programmes. The role of promotional communication in marketing serves one or more of the following three purposes;

  • Provide information to new customers about the company’s product
  • Persuade new and existing customers to purchase the product
  • Remind previous customers to repurchase the company’s product

The choice of the modes and channels of distribution by each organisation depends upon the nature of their products and where their customers are able to get that information. For example, many grocery items producers rely on in-store promotions, as their customers normally make purchase decisions while shopping. Alternatively, electronic product producers may focus more on online or digital marketing channels as that is where they find majority of their customers, who are tech-savvy and prefer getting information while they are browsing the internet. Figure 1.4 shows the different channels of promotions which organisations frequently use.

Figure 1.4: Common channels of promotion - [Data retrieved from: Kotler and Keller (2016)]

2.0 Extended Version - 7 Ps

This section explains how the evolution of new marketing practices has resulted in extension of the basic marketing mix concepts from 4 to 7 Ps. It enhances the understanding of marketers by making them think more critically in anticipation of introducing developments to the already existing theories.

Due to the distinctive nature of services, the marketing mix is extended to 7 Ps, thus enabling the development of effective marketing programmes and strategies. This extended version of the marketing mix involves additional elements of people, process and physical evidence.

2.1 People

Many types of services involve direct interaction of the customers with the organisation’s employees. In such cases, customers’ perception of the organisation and its services is greatly dependent on their interaction with the service personnel. For example, the level of satisfaction of a customer visiting a restaurant is greatly reliant upon the way he is greeted and served by the staff.

Because service organisations believe their front-line staff is responsible for promoting a good or a bad image of the company, they devote a lot of efforts in staff recruiting, training and appraisal.

2.2 Process

The process of producing and delivering a service is often considered important by service providers, as customers are interested in how the service is delivered, beyond what is delivered. This element is particularly important in organisations who deal in highly competitive markets. Contemporary service providers tend to use process as a promotional scheme by depicting a unique image in front of the customers. For example, many salons and spas mention the little details about their services in their promotions in order to attract more customers.

2.3 Physical Evidence

Ambiance of the physical service locations of organisations creates a lasting impression in the minds of customers. The physical evidence element includes the building, location, office furniture, office layout and odour etc. which either enhance or ruin the customer’s experience. For example, the signage on the main office floor with effective branding incorporated in equipment, furniture etc. may make the customer perceive that the office environment is professional.

3.0 Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning

This section discusses the various methods of segmenting consumer markets and targeting the most appropriate ones. Subsequently it provides guidance on how a unique positioning strategy is devised based on the selected target markets.

3.1 Market Segmentation

Can an organisation produce and distribute its product or service offerings to everyone? Can all consumers be satisfied with a uniform product range, promoted in exactly the same way through a single marketing strategy? The answer is no. Market segmentation is considered as a prime concept in the field of marketing and always been a significantly used in both theoretical and practical environments. It provides an organisation with a guidance regarding its marketing strategy and allocation of resources among various products and markets. Hollensen (2010, p. 282) divides market segmentation as:

“The process of dividing a market into different groups of buyers with similar requirements.”

Thus, a strategic marketer involves in identification of suitable market segments and the consequent decision-making process for selecting the most profitable one(s). Normally the variables used for market segmentation fall into two broad categories; some experts believe in segmenting based on descriptive characteristics, such as demographic, geographic and psychographic, and determining whether the product expectations of these segments differ from one another. Others define segments considering the behavioural characteristics of consumers, and find associations between different consumer segments.

The four types of market segmentation are described below.

3.1.1 Geographic Segmentation

Geographical segmentation is used to classify the consumers based on their locational characteristics, such as countries, provinces, regions, cities or localities. Depending on its dynamics and product offering, an organisation can choose to serve one or more locations. It may cater to all areas, but focus on more profitable ones. Undertaking this approach, the company would need to introduce tailored marketing programs for specific consumer segments in order to fulfil their needs and expectations.

An example could be KFC, which is an international franchise. Its burgers and other supplementary products, such as hot shots, differ in various countries. It is because the fast food chain aims to be profitable in all locations by providing what the customers in each location prefer to consume. Apart from Zinger Burger, which is its signature product, most of the menu items are launched for particular geographic markets; for example, KFC introduced burrito in the UK and some other countries and spicy rice recipes in specific Asian countries, such an India.

Opponents of marketing based on geographical segmentation emphasise that the brand image may be blurred if an organisation’s product offering and marketing initiatives greatly differ in two locations. However, it is also practically true that those companies which are so particular about different aspects of their segmentation always have a centrally approved brand image, by which they abide in all their marketing activities.

3.1.2 Demographic Segmentation

Why does an organisation categorise the market into smaller divisions based on peoples’ age, religion, nationality, education, occupation and social class? It is because this demographic segmentation makes the measurement easier and are usually associated with the needs and expectations of customers.

Even when marketers define the market segments using behavioural factors, they need to refer to the demographic attributes again so that the market size can be effectively gauged and the promotion mediums can be selected. Demographic segmentation is done by considering the following major characteristics:

3.1.2.1 Age

The product or service requirements of consumers vary when their age increases; this is because of the change in their priorities, which occurs as a result of other social, environmental and economic factors affecting them. For example, toothpaste manufacturers, such as Colgate, deal in three major product lines for kids, adults and old customers. An even extensive form of consumer market division by age is followed by Pampers, which defines various segments within the diaper wearing babies’ market, such classification includes baby (6 - 12 months), toddler (13 - 23 months) and pre-schooler (24 months+).

Consider the following example of Honda and give your opinion about the suitability of demographic segmentation based on age:

In its anticipation to attract young population aged 20-21 years, Honda advertised its boxy Element by portraying high school kids playing near the car at a beach. However, the advertisement ended up attracting a high number of baby boomers, which resulted in the average age of actual buyers of the Element to be 42. Through this experience, the company concluded that the increasing efforts of baby boomers to stay young resulted in dubiety about the boundaries between different age groups.

In order to gain a clearer description of consumers, their geographic characteristics are combined with the demographics.

3.1.2.2 Life Stage

After going through a major life event, one enters a new life stage, which is considered to be different from life cycle. Example of a new life stage for individual consumers would include getting married or divorced, purchasing a new home, going through financial crisis, etc. Marketers often tend to avail the opportunity of targeting certain groups of people in a specific life stage.

For example, the newly married people pose an opportunity for certain companies, who introduce product and service offerings particularly suited to them because of the change in their life stage. Spas and salons design couple massage deals, hotels and health resorts introduce specific honeymoon suites and specific additional services with opportunities to ensure customers’ privacy, manufacturers of beauty and healthcare products launch couple kits at a bargain and so on.

3.1.2.3 Gender

Many behavioural actions of people vary because of gender differences; male population has different preferences than female population, which is either because of their genetic makeup or their social circle and activities. Research suggests that majority of the women tend to be more involved in community programmes, whereas men seem to be more goal-oriented on an individual level.

Another research imparts that salesmen need to request men towards a product purchase, whereas women would often do that themselves if the marketing strategy is strong enough. Men tend to go through the product specification to evaluate it, whereas women are more interested to find a personal association with the product.

The forums to find female population are different than those where men can be reached. To reach out to female population, marketers tend to target women oriented magazines, websites, TV channels etc., and male populations is targeted through specific mediums which are frequently used by them.

Despite the popularity of segmentation done on the basis of gender, the differences between male and female have decreased because of the blurring boundaries in their roles. According to a survey conducted by Yahoo, over half of the male respondents declared that they were primarily responsible for purchasing grocery items required in the household. Therefore, some of the P&G advertisements are aimed to attract men, such as the Tide detergent commercial. In contrast, other research projects in the UK and USA depict that women are the decision makers in 75% of the new home purchase agreements and 60% of automobile purchases.

However, the differences in gender preferences still serve as a guiding principle in many segmentation situations. For example, Gillette and Avon have managed to profitably build upon their demographic segmentation by successfully targeting male and female consumers respectively.  

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3.1.2.4 Income

For many types of products and services, market is segmented based on the level of consumers’ income. Examples of such products include clothing, cars, financial services, cosmetics and travel. However, it might not be the best decision in all the situations; for example, the early adopters of colour television were the blue collar workers as they found purchasing television sets to be more affordable than going to cinemas or dining out.

Segmenting the market into various income groups helps companies in determining a clear brand image. Some companies also introduce different products within the same category to target a wider audience, belonging to different income levels. For example, Unilever offers different tier ice-cream brands; it has Wall’s for the lowest income group consuming ice-creams, Magnum for the mid-level and Ben & Jerry’s for the elite or high end consumers. Although it does not mention anywhere that the less affording class cannot consume Ben & Jerry’s, but the pricing and marketing strategy of the company for its various tier brands depicts the suitability of the product for specific consumer segments.

3.1.3 Psychographic Segmentation

When customers are grouped together into subdivisions on the basis of their personality attributes, lifestyle or values and motives, it is understood as psychographic segmentation. Quite often people falling in the same demographic segments may be placed in different groups based on their personality traits.

Consumer lifestyles are an important consideration while dividing them into different groups. For example, Saga initiated by offering travel packages to customers aged over 50 and later extended its product portfolio by introducing a variety of financial services for the aged population. The reason behind this strategy is the company’s motivation to cater to customers with varied lifestyles, in terms of peoples’ travel intentions, and desire to incorporate thrill and excitement in their old age.

Marketers have also greatly used personality elements for categorising consumer markets. For example, Honda motor scooter seems to be introduced for the young male population; however, it is intended to target a wider personality group. In one of its old advertisements, Honda telecasted a kid jumping on the bed, when an announcement is made saying “You’ve been trying to get there all your life.” The ad was actually aimed to remind people of the excitement they got when they did something they were forbidden to do during their childhood. This shows that Honda intends to attract the unstoppable, free-spirited child who resides in everyone. The elderly tend to purchase more of Honda scooters because they get an opportunity to kick, which they were not allowed to do during their childhood.

3.1.4 Behavioural Segmentation

When marketers need to divide consumer groups on the basis of their product knowledge, attitude towards it, usage patterns and response to it, they involve in behavioural segmentation. Many professional marketers tend to initiate the segmentation process by considering the behavioural variables.

3.1.4.1 Occasions

A person goes through many occasions which are associated with a certain day, month or year, forming an integral part of his/her life. Customers can be divided based on occasions when they are expected to develop a need, buy a product or use it as a result of or in preparation of an event. For example, airlines may boost their revenues in the occasions of business trips and holidays. Segmentation based on specific occasions helps companies increase the frequency of their product/service usage during a particular time period.

Companies often create occasions for customers to increase consumption of their product offerings. For example, people normally consume eggs at breakfast, but the British Egg Information Service introduced various recipes and made other resources available for promoting the usage of eggs in preparation of other meals.

Certain common celebration days such as Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day etc. are utilised by chocolate manufacturers, florists and greeting cards’ designers to increase their product sales. Even restaurants, cafes and cake bakeries introduce special offers to attract people who celebrate these occasions.

Marks & Spencer promotes its food items by using the occasion segmentation strategy. Similarly, many dealers in garden decoration items in the UK start promoting their products before summer as they are aware of heavy usage of such items in summers. They launch new styles of garden swings, cane furniture and other decoration stuff which people like to set up in their gardens during summer and organise barbeque and other social activities in their homes.

3.1.4.2 Benefits Sought

It is commonly observed that people who purchase a certain product do not always use it in the same way or satisfy the same need or desire. For example, there may be a set of customers who buy the Mercedes Benz because they like using luxurious products, as they derive self-satisfaction from their usage, while another group may purchase it for increased social acceptability in the communities where they spend most of their time. For example, Weldon Moms is an elite social community for pregnant women, and most of its members prefer giving birth to their babies in top tier private hospitals. Some do so because they genuinely prefer availing the lavish treatment facilities there, while others do it because of peer pressure.

When segmenting markets based on the benefits sought, marketers need to consider the different kinds of benefits people aim to derive from a specific product category, the types of people who seek each of those benefits and the prominent brands or companies in the market who offer each benefit. For example, P&G offers a variety of detergents suited for the benefits sought by each market segment. Each group looks for different benefits, such as fabric softening, economic pricing, cloth bleaching etc. Thus, each detergent is designed to fulfil the needs of particular market segments.

3.1.4.3 User Status and User Rate

User status segmentation looks at whether a consumer has used a product in the past, has purchased it for the first time or is a regular consumer of the product, whereas user rate segmentation considers the frequency of product usage by the customers.

Marketers need to cater to ex-users, first time users and potential customers of their products by devising different strategies. For example, identifying why previous users quit purchasing a product, and in turn improving the product offering according to that, may encourage ex-users to continue restart usage of the company’s products/services.

Marketers even try to attract potential users by relating the product with certain life events of the customers. For example Pampers aims to invite parent-to-be to become regular buyer of their products by sending them samples of diapers and other baby products. It motivates them to join MyPampers.com, which is a source of effective parenting advice, online newspaper, and discounts and special offers.

While developing strategies for catering to light, medium and heavy product users, marketing experts prefer spending more on attracting the heavy users as they generate more revenues for the company. However, there is a potential of a polarised response of such users; they either tend to be too loyal to a particular brand or are not loyal to any brand, seeking the one offering the lowest price. On the contrary, fast-food chain, such as McDonald’s try to introduce more deals and promotions for light users as they believe that the heavy users will come anyway because fast-food is addictive.

3.1.4.4 Loyalty Status

Marketers often divide the customers into different groups based on their loyalty towards the brand. This type of segmentation brings great marketing insights to organisations. Through hard-core loyal customers, brand may find out the strengths of its product, through split loyal brands would identify their strongest competitors, and though customers whose purchases of the company’s products decline with time, firms may identify their product’s weaknesses.

A mobile service provider in the UK has newly launched its services. It has limited budgets and other resources. It needs to identify the most profitable users in order to get optimum benefit in terms of monetary revenues. Which methods of segmentation should it use? Also, think in detail about the different elements within each type of segmentation.

3.2 Targeting

After dividing the market into segments based on one or more of the above mentioned segmentation criteria, an organisation ‘must decide how many and which ones to target’ (Kotler and Keller, 2016, p. 284). This process is known as market targeting. Modern day marketing professionals tend to use a combination of different variables in anticipation to classify their customers in clearly defined target segments.

3.2.1 Evaluating Market Segments

There are three important considerations while evaluating market segments; ‘segment size and growth, segment structural attractiveness, and company objectives and resources’ (Armstrong et al., 2015, p. 207). The first step for an organisation is to analyse the current market segments in terms of their revenues and growth prospects. Next, it will aim to target the segments which are specifically suited to its size and growth requirements, which vary for different organisations. The segments which are the largest and have the greatest potential, do not always prove to be the most appropriate target market for each organisation; smaller companies may not prefer to cater to such segments either because of their own limited skills and resources, or the high level of competitiveness of such customer groups.

Finally, an organisation always considers the target market’s relevance to its corporate objectives and resources. Even when certain segments seem to be extremely profitable, but are not in accordance with the company’s objectives, the organisation will not target them.

3.2.2 Selecting Target Market Segments

Once various segments have been evaluated, an organisation looks into identifying the number of segments it aims to target and chooses the most appropriate ones. Based on the buyers’ segment characteristics, companies select one or more of the following targeting strategies:

Figure 3.2: Types of Market Targeting - [Data retrieved from: Kotler and Keller (2016)]

3.2.2.1 Undifferentiated (Mass) Marketing

A company following an undifferentiated marketing strategy does not recognise the differences between various segments and introduces a single offer for all. While undertaking this approach, organisations tend to highlight the common elements between various customer groups, rather than the differences. The company’s marketing programmes are thus aimed to attract a large number of buyers. For example, the Do us a Flavour campaign by Walker’s crisps was an effort to engage all of the company’s customers by encouraging this product development initiative, regardless of their specific preferences for snacks.

Contemporary marketers oppose this strategy as they believe that modern day customers wish to feel special by focussed targeting techniques of organisations; this is why the trend of personalisation in marketing has increased.

3.2.2.2 Differentiated (Segmented) Marketing

This strategy is used by organisations to target various customer groups by introducing different offers for each. For example, General Motors tends to manufacture cars which are suited to each ‘purse, purpose and nationality’ (Armstrong et al., 2015, p. 209). Another example is Always, which introduces sanitary pads for women with all kinds of period flow, in different sizes, but uses different advertising strategies for attracting each segment. Even Colgate does the same; it markets its variants to their target markets differently.

Differentiated marketing generates higher sales revenues than mass marketing because of the stronger position a company holds while following this strategy. However, it is more costly and time-consuming to implement.

3.2.2.3 Concentrated (Niche) Marketing

Concentrated (niche) marketing is common among organisations with limited resources. Instead of trying to acquire a smaller share of huge consumer groups, a niche marketing firm tends to acquire larger share of one or some smaller niches or segments. For example Ryanair only caters to the cost conscious passengers and serves a vast majority of the customers falling in this segment. It provides none of the additional services which are offered by luxurious airlines such as Virgin Atlantic and Qatar Airways. Due to this reason, it also reserves minimal budget for advertising.

Niche marketers are often at an advantage as they tend to target specific segments, which are overlooked by larger companies with more resources. Therefore, they find it easier to flourish with less competition. For example, Apple was initially started to serve a niche market of customers, who preferred the product and software design to be innovative as opposed to many large customer segments. It does so by investing on research and development, which other companies tend to neglect in their efforts to cut prices and increase sales volumes.

3.2.2.4 Micromarketing

Although companies following differentiated and niche marketing strategies develop various marketing plans to fulfil the expectations of different market segments and niches, they do not offer the customisation option to suit the specific needs of individual customers. This gap is filled by organisations undertaking a micromarketing approach to attract customers, which tailor their product offerings and marketing programmes depending upon the preferences of individual customers and locations.

The focus of micro-marketers is not to seek customer characteristics in all individuals; they instead seek to understand the individual characteristics of their customers. An example is Dell, which provides a customisation option to its customers on its website, where they are able to design their own PC or laptop, including the choice of colour, processor, design and other product elements.

Another example is McDonald’s, which offered its customised service in specific locations. Its restaurants introduced a separate counter with a variety of burger ingredients, where customers got an opportunity to choose their burger bread, filling, and sauce etc. thus coming up with newer combinations based on their taste preferences.

Now consider the example of a multinational FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) manufacturer, which is present in various regions throughout the UK. Its products are suited to different target segments, which have different tastes and preferences. What kind of targeting strategy would be most appropriate for this organisation?

3.3 Positioning

After effectively segmenting the market and targeting the right customer segments, an organisation needs to determine as to how it wants to be perceived by the selected consumer groups. This process is known as positioning, which is ‘the act of designing a company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the minds of the target market’ (Kotler and Keller, 2016, p. 297).

The aim of product positioning is to place the product in the minds of customers in such a way that optimum benefit can be derived from its usage. An effective positioning strategy is the one which recognises the significance of a brand, highlighting the customers’ objectives behind purchasing the product, and depicting how it does so innovatively.

A positioning expert has rightfully said, ‘Products are created in the factory, but brands are created in the mind’ (Armstrong et al., 2015, p. 214). An example could be taken from the automobile industry; Ford produces economy cars, Mercedes and BMW manufacture luxury cars, Volvo creates safe vehicles and Toyota is famous for introducing fuel-efficient cars.

A brand’s position is how it is viewed, felt and identified by the target customers when compared with the competitors. In order to develop an effective positioning strategy, marketers need to find the similarities and differences between their own and the competitors’ brands. This helps them better communicate their distinguished brand image to all its stakeholders, including customers and suppliers. 

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3.3.1 Positioning Maps

An important element of positioning strategy is perceptual positioning map, which is developed by marketing experts to compare the customers’ perception of their product with that of the competitors, based on the buying dimensions most essential for consumer decision-making in that product category.

Figure 3.3 shows the positioning of the major mobile service providers in the UK. O2 is considered as the most trusted mobile network, whereas EE has the image of being innovative or different from competitors.

Figure 3.3: Positioning map of UK mobile service providers. [Source: Mintel, (2016)]

Conclusion

Marketing is regarded as one of the core functions of an organisation and is given due consideration in planning the various steps from product design to delivery of the product.

Various practical examples of businesses depict that no universal rule applies to any of the marketing concepts, including the marketing mix, segmentation, targeting and positioning. All the concepts differ in their use based on the nature of the product or service offering and the situations in which they are designed and delivered.

Modern day marketers need to gather information about their industry from various sources and then devise the strategies discussed in this chapter.

References

Armstrong, G., Kotler, P., Harker, M., and Brennan, R. (2015). Marketing: An Introduction. 3rd ed. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Hollensen, S. (2010). Marketing Management: A Relationship Approach. 2nd ed. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Kotler, P., and Keller, K.L. (2016). Marketing Management. 15th ed. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Lovelock, C., Wirtz, J., and Chatterjee, J. (2010). Services Marketing: People, Technology, Strategy. 6th ed. Noida, India: Dorling Kindersly.

Mintel (2016). Mobile Network Providers - UK - February 2016: Brand Research. [Online] Available at: <http://academic.mintel.com.gcu.idm.oclc.org/display/762232> [Accessed on November 5, 2016].


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