In marketing mix lingo, "place" refers to the means by which your customers acquire your products.
In practice, place options include physical store locations, distribution channels, delivery routes and purchasing mediums.
Not surprisingly, place options figure prominently in the effectiveness of your company's overall marketing strategy. A single misstep in the way you deliver your products to your customers can doom your marketing mix – even if your products, promotions and price are all on target.
With a lot of options at your disposal, there is no excuse for letting distribution and delivery concerns derail your marketing mix. Here are a few of the place options for defining a marketing mix that are available to you.
- Intermediaries. Depending on the nature of your business, it may be necessary to involve intermediaries in your marketing mix. Distributors, manufacturers' agents, and other intermediaries provide ready-made outlets for your products. If your distribution efforts are falling short, maybe you're trying to handle too much on your own.
- Location. The most common retail place mistake is choosing the wrong location. A good location can compensate for higher prices and mediocre product quality, but you won't have a prayer if you select a poor storefront location.
- Trade-offs. Sometimes place options involve trade-offs that make sense for your business plan and objectives. For example, a low traffic location might be fine if you're willing to engage in a trade-off by spending more on advertising.
- Purchase methods. The manner in which your customers purchase your products will decide many of your place options for you. For example, products that are impulse purchases lend themselves to high-traffic locations, while products with long sales cycles can get away with lower traffic options.
- Nontraditional place options. The Internet has created new opportunities for nontraditional place options. Instead of selling your products from a storefront or out of a salesperson's car trunk, you can create a virtual, web-based store complete with product images, descriptions and a check out page. If necessary, you can maintain a catalog or storefront for customers who avoid online ordering, although it could be cost prohibitive unless a substantial number of customers purchase off-line.