The marketing mix refers to the four components that jointly form the nucleus of a business' marketing system.
These four are the product/service offerings, the promotional effort, the pricing structure and the distribution structure. A marketing mix is influenced and supported by a number of forces including the internal management, the external environment's forces, and the internal non-marketing resources including aspects like production, finance, location, personnel, research & development, and public image.
All the four components of the marketing mix are interrelated and each of them features infinite variables. Decisions made for one of the ingredients have direct repercussions for each of the other three. Management must therefore settle for a marketing mix combination that will adapt and flourish in the present environment, keep the target market satisfied, and attain the set organizational and marketing objectives/goals.
The product aspect of the marketing mix must be preceded by a careful assessment of the aforementioned environments so as to come up with just the right type of product/service offering. The same careful effort must be adhered to when introducing new offerings and even when making alterations to aspects like branding and packaging.
For the marketing mix' pricing aspect the management ought to determine the most effective base price for whatever product/service is to be offered. It is upon this base price that all the other price-related variables including discounts, freight costs etc must be factored.
The promotion ingredient of a marketing mix is that which is charged with the responsibility of making the market aware of the products/services that are available from a particular business. In creating this awareness a number of efforts must be conducted and these include sales promotions, personal selling, advertising, and so on.
In distribution, the management must take up the responsibility of selecting and managing the most efficient and effective trade channel(s) through which the business products/services will be availed to the customers in the right time. This aspect of the marketing mix also involves the management creating or developing an efficient system by which the said products/services will be physically handled and transported through the aforementioned channels.