Characteristics of an Effective Marketing Mix

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Color was not yet part of the marketing mix when the Model T was invented.
Color was not yet part of the marketing mix when the Model T was invented. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The ideal marketing mix has come a long way from Henry Ford's beginnings, when you could get any color Model T you wanted, as long as it was black. The possible combinations of price, product, promotion and place have exploded at an astounding, if not alarming, rate. With the blossoming of the Internet, niche markets no longer have geographic bounds. Companies that survive these perilous economic times may swing the pendulum back to a more focused approach.

Cohesiveness

Very few companies exhibit the idea of a cohesive marketing mix like Johnson & Johnson. Every part of the marketing mix speaks to the company's credo: "Put the needs and well-being of the people we serve first." Former CEO Robert Wood Johnson crafted the credo in 1943 before anyone knew about "corporate social responsibility." That concept is evident in Johnson & Johnson's product quality control, its management development and employee benefits programs, its concern for the communities where it has offices, its focus on sustainability and green plant improvements, and even the specific wording of its advertising messages. Everything in the marketing mix points back to the core values.

Quality

In the 1970s, researchers began studying the relationship between quality and financial performance. They determined that higher quality affects financial performance, allowing companies to charge a premium price and increase market share. A 2001 study, by Sheryl E. Kimes, Ph.D., professor at Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, now shows a direct relationship between product quality, in the lodging industry, and an operation's financial performance.

Research has shown a positive relationship between product quality and business success.
Research has shown a positive relationship between product quality and business success. (Image: David Sacks/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Adaptability

Adaptability in the marketing mix means being able to change product attributes, distribution channels, pricing, marketing message or even your concept of what business you are in. More than 250 Malta business leaders attended an invitation-only conference focused on tackling the importance of adapting to shifts in the marketplace. According to one of the conference sponsors, Gianni Zammit, director of Jugs@Malta, “If the economic crisis taught us one thing, it is that businesses have to be ready to change and adapt."

Clarity

Clarity means being true to yourself, authentic. Rapper and entertainment mogul Jay-Z had this to say as part of the "Oprah Presents Master Class" television series, "A huge lesson for me was that if I was gonna be successful, I had to be successful as myself." That same clarity of purpose, translated into every facet of the marketing mix, is a recipe for unbridled success.

Responsibility

A consequence of the global economy is the realization that we are all in this together. No one expressed the logic of that sentiment better than Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Speaking at the 2003 Business For Social Responsibility Annual Conference in Los Angeles, she said, "...by getting directly involved in sustainable development and education projects... we are actually inventing products that we never would have imagined otherwise. We are building businesses, partners,customers and employees in the process."

Many companies give employees time off for community involvement as part of their social responsibility program.
Many companies give employees time off for community involvement as part of their social responsibility program. (Image: Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

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