As an indication of the power of a successful marketing strategy, a Google search of "just do it" returns nearly 500,000,000 results. Nike famously set itself apart from the competition with this three-syllable slogan -- possibly the most profitable three words ever in advertising.
As every great slogan demonstrates, a successful marketing strategy gets the customer's attention. But marketing is about more than a great slogan. Promotion is a fundamental component of what is known as the "marketing mix." It is where communication comes into play.
At Northwest Missouri State University, the online Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing includes an advanced marketing communication course. This course emphasizes the role of promotion, with a focus on CRM, social media, integrated marketing communication (IMC), and other contemporary strategies and tactics.
What Are the Four P's?
Traditional marketing strategy is built around core components known as the Four P's.
Product: What goods or services is a company selling? Who will use those goods and services? What needs do they meet?
Price: What is the value of a particular product or service? How much will customers pay?
Place: Where can customers purchase the product or service? The answer for a local berry farm will be quite different than for a manufacturer of aircraft engines.
Promotion: Promotion is dependent on the other three "P's." Who needs the product or service? How can those consumers be persuaded to pay a certain price?
What Is the Role of Promotion in Marketing Strategy?
In "Four P's," Investopedia breaks down the role of promotional activity to the marketing mix:
Promotional activity includes advertising, sales promotion, personal selling and public relations. Promotions are typically reliant on product and price and place. Key consideration needs to be given to the budget assigned to the marketing mix, the stage of the product's life cycle and how the promotion can be utilized to position the product.
Consider this simple scenario of a farmer who grows organic strawberries.
Product: Farm-fresh organic strawberries.
Price: A price premium of $.60 per pound over conventional strawberries, reflecting higher costs associated with growing organically.
Place: Straight from the field to the farm stand. The more perishable a crop, explains Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, the more important the market channel. Strawberries are a highly perishable crop, making the farm stand a smart choice.
Promotion: Why will anyone pay $6.50 a quart when they can get the same thing for less at the supermarket? Small farms can leverage the "eat local" movement -- eating locally and seasonally, while reducing the carbon footprint. And social media is the perfect tool to get the word out.
What Are Some Contemporary Marketing Strategies and Tactics?
The traditional four P's provide a marketing foundation. But marketing professionals must also keep up with rapid changes in technology. Northwest's MBA in Marketing covers contemporary strategies and tactics, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems, social media and integrated marketing communication (IMC). Here is a quick look at each:
CRM: CRM systems can make a dramatic difference in strategic marketing decisions. CRMs consolidate customer information into one database, making it much easier for marketers to get the right message to the right customer at the right time (personalized, as well).
Social Media: Social media is all about "conversations," and it plays a key role in connecting with customers. According to a McKinsey study, consumers are increasingly using social media to make purchasing decisions. Marketing managers can incorporate social media with more traditional marketing strategies. As the ASOS #AsSeenOnMe social media campaign shows, even selfies can become a powerful marketing tool.
IMC: Businesses use integrated marketing communication to coordinate a consistent message across all promotional tools and resources of a marketing campaign. In the Forbes article "Seven Steps to a Better Integrated Marketing Communications Strategy," author Ahmad Kareh compares marketing to a game of chess. An IMC strategy, he explains, is "the process of resisting a smaller yet immediate connection in order to receive a stronger or more enduring relationship later."
Thinking about these contemporary strategies and tactics, does the time-tested marketing mix still matter? This is a topic that leads to much discussion, as Jonathan Bacon points out in "The Big Debate: Are the '4 P's of Marketing' Still Relevant?" published on Marketing Week.
Brand communications and marketing director Pete Markey sides with the 4 P's being "hugely relevant." He argues that the 4 P's are essentially about how to extract value from understanding the wants and needs of customers. After all, what is a business without customers?
Sources:Marketing Week: The Big Debate: Are the '4 P's of Marketing' Still Relevant?
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