Marketing and the Marketing MixThis essay describes and explains the concepts of Marketing and the Marketing Mix.MARKETINGMarketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that will satisfy individual and organisational objectives.Marketing is about connecting with customers, serving the needs of society, and accomplishing the goals of the organization. Through customer satisfaction marketing creates the customer loyalty necessary to reach an organization's objectives. Marketing works by creating valuable exchanges that provide utility (consumer satisfaction). The marketing strategy process has four steps - situation analysis, targeting, positioning, and marketing mix decisions. By blending the marketing mix (product, price, promotion, and place) marketing decisions are made to support the positioning strategy.A marketing strategy is a plan identifying what marketing Goals and Objectives will be pursued, and how they be achieved within the time available. Marketing strategies identify and specify target market and generate a practical marketing mix based on this data. Basically, a marketing strategy provides a 'big picture' of what a business's intentions are with regard to marketing.THE MARKETING MIXThe marketing mix is the organisation's overall offer, or value, to the customer. Traditionally, the marketing mix represents in strategic terms, the total concept and application of the goods or services to be marketed. The basic marketing mix is often nicknamed "the 4Ps" (product, place/distribution, pricing, promotion); "these are elements in the marketers armoury - aspects that can be manipulated to keep ahead of the competition."PRODUCTA product refers to the 'total concept' that is sold. The total product consists of both tangible (e.g. raw materials, features, accessories) and intangible (e.g. brand name, product line, customer service) parts. In general terms, product also refers to the needs-satisfying offering by a business to consumers. It is therefore more than the physical thing sold by the business.PRICEPrice refers to the final cost of the product that is paid by the consumer. It represents the intrinsic value of a product or service to consumers. A business may implement a variety of pricing policies dependant on revenue goals.Therefore in Marketing terms: PRICE = PRODUCT VALUEEconomic demand analysis (through market research) will indicate how much consumers are prepared to pay for a particular product or service at any given point in time. Here, the higher the price of a good, the fewer people that will demand the product. Their utility (satisfaction level) is not maximised. In most cases as price fall (from P to P1) the product becomes relatively attractive and as such 'in demand' by consumers (Q to Q1). Total Revenue for a firm is represented by Price x Quantity Sold, or:TR = P x QPLACEPlace is broadly concerned with both the location of business and the method of distribution between producers and consumers. Only in rare circumstances does the initial producer or manufacturer of products also act as the first and final link to consumers. The complexity of modern society makes it necessary for intermediaries to act as a direct link between producers and the ultimate consumers of products and services.A distribution channel refers to the type of intermediary or linkage between producers and consumers. A one-channel distribution network involves only the retailer between producer and consumer. Two-channelled distribution may include various intermediaries such as wholesalers. Direct distribution occurs when the producer directly supplies the product to the buyer. The choice of distribution channel is dependant on a variety of factors, for example the type of product. Some products are not suited for direct distribution. A channel specialist such as a warehouse or wholesaler may provide an effective link with retailers as an existing relationship may already be in existence.PROMOTIONMost organisations and individuals relate promotion to direct advertising of a product. However, the decision to buy a particular product (from knowledge presented) is a complex and interrelated process. In formal terms, promotion refers to the communication of information between seller and buyer. Its aim is to influence attitudes and behaviour.Communication refers to the transmission of information from a sender to a receiver. In most cases communication is not a direct process. The business will construct the desired message it wishes to convey and then encode the message into a particular promotional method. Consumers will then decode the information and a buying decision is made.Methods of promotion are varied, and include:Publicity: this refers to any unpaid form of non-personal presentation of ideas, goods or services, eg. newspaper, editorials, celebrity 'plugs' for the product.Personal selling: this involves direct face-to-face communication between sellers and potential customers, eg. supermarket presentations, retail selling techniques.Sales promotion: is aimed at final consumers or users and is usually used to increase demand or speed up time of purchase, eg. banners and streamers in retail stores, sample packages, contests etc.Advertising: this refers to the paid, non-personal presentation of ideas, goods and services by an identified sponsor eg. TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, direct mail, signs etc.