Product, Price, Promotion, and Placement- Advertising and the Marketing Mix: Product, Price, Promotion, and Placement
Advertising campaigns and how they are integrated with the overall marketing strategy is a very broad topic. Advertising is a subsection of the much larger marketing strategy. Comprehensive marketing strategies are complex and involve everything from finance and economics to consumer psychology and the law.
Generally, the first step in this integration is to look at the overall market conditions and ascertain whether or not the company is in a position to be competitive. In other words, for almost every product, the market provides many competing products and services that are all fighting for the same target market’s attention. From canned soup to airline travel, choices are abound.
Competitive advantage in any market comes from one of the several general areas. As a company, we may produce a product that is the cheapest alternative. We may decide that our advantage is that our product is different or better in some way, which allows us to charge a higher price. Our advantage may be found in our ability to focus on a very specific part of the market and serve it better than other firms. If we decide that we have one of these three competitive advantages, we will enter our product in the battle for a share of the market.
If we have never entered a market before, our next step is to design a product or service. If we already have a product or service, we may further tailor it to take advantage of our analysis of the target market. An analysis of the target market includes understanding what features and benefits the product should possess and how much the market is willing to pay for these features and benefits. Armed with this critical information, we are then able develop a new product or tailor an existing one to make it competitive.
A parallel issue is the price of a product or service. Price is better understood as what the target market is willing to give in exchange for the benefits that a product or service provides them. This is often described as the value of a product or service. It is a complex task to decide what a market values. Many products and services fail because the mix of features and benefits at a given price fail to meet the target market's expectations better than the competition’s offer.
Another critical decision involves how to make the product or service accessible or available to the target market. This decision is integrated into the value that the target market desires. For example, some products are widely distributed because part of the value the market desires is quick access to this type of product—this is why candy vending machines are available in many places; when we want chocolate, we want it now, and the delivery systems are provided for us. On the other end of the spectrum, there may be a limited distribution of a product to increase its value to the market. Consider expensive jewelry and/or trendy stores and how they tend to have fewer
locations. This limited distribution often helps create the feeling of high value the target market desires.
After analyzing the market, determining whether and how to be competitive, marketers are able to complete the last element of the marketing strategy, which is the advertising campaign. The essential goal or task of the advertising campaign is to communicate the value of the product’s features and benefits to the target market. Success is attained and measured by the extent to which the market is motivated to purchase the good or service. The process then begins again as competition reacts and new products are offered to the market. This is why marketing and advertising are such dynamic and exciting activities.