Your company's marketing mix is a fluid target.
Perfection is elusive; the best you can hope for is to emphasize marketing strengths and eliminate weaknesses when you see them. Sometimes you'll win and sometimes you lose, but you will always be on the lookout for ways to improve your marketing efforts.
But despite its fluidity, a marketing mix should be entered into much the same way as a marriage: Soberly, advisedly and with your fingers crossed for long-term success. The best marketing mixes don't happen overnight. They are the result of an intentional process to create the best possible combination of marketing strategies.
So when should you define your marketing mix? In a way that's a trick question because you should always be redefining your marketing mix based on market data and fluctuations. But before you make any major changes to your marketing mix, due diligence is needed to ensure that your changes don't do more harm than good.
- Market research. Successful marketing mixes are based on solid market research. Your best guess isn't good enough when it comes to making significant adjustments to major marketing mix ingredients. Pricing and place should be relatively easy to collect data on – a quick survey of the competition will tell you most of the things you need to know. Promotions and products are a bit trickier, but with a little persistence you can gather the research you need to make informed marketing mix decisions.
- Marketing strategy. Your marketing mix should be grounded in a comprehensive marketing strategy. The marketing strategy serves as both a map and a playbook because it identifies both your marketing goals and the actions you will take to achieve them. If your mix is carefully coordinated with your strategy, every component in your marketing mix will work toward achieving the same goal.
- Target marketing. Armed with the insights you gleaned from market research and the plan you laid out in your market strategy, the final piece of the puzzle is to identify your products' target markets. Demographic and geographic targeting will influence the shape of your marketing mix. Without a clear understanding of the people you're trying to reach, you'll never achieve an effective marketing balance.