Maximize the Power of the Four Ps with Market Research

3. How to Determine Marketing Mix Through Market Research

Marketing Promotion
Consumers Are Sensitive to All Parts of the Marketing Mix. Getty Images | Dan Dalton | Caiaimages

The marketing mix of a product or service is the major driver of business success.  The decisions for creating a powerful marketing mix constellation should be supported by market research.  This article is third in a series illustrating how to make powerful connections between business plans and market research.

1. How to Make Connections Between Business Plans and Market Research

2. How to Identify Marketing Objectives Based on Market Research Finding

3. How to Determine the Best Marketing Mix Through Market Research

is the collective term for a collection of factors that are considered pivotal to successful marketing.  The conventional elements of marketing mix are as follows: Product, price, place, and promotion.  

Product (or Solution) - Harvard Business Review  would prefer that marketers substitute the word "solution" for product.  HBR asserts that the traditional "P strategy" is too product focused.  What consumers look for today are solutions.  Solutions-selling requires a customer-centric focus and a deeper level of collaboration across functional areas of a company.  One of the best examples of the importance of product in marketing can be found in wireless communications.  An innovation by one cell phone manufacturer triggers similar innovations by other cell phone manufacturers - and they must do it quickly.

Price – A variety of pricing strategies exist and it is crucial to understand a market well in order for a pricing strategy to have the desired outcome.

 The consumer must believe that a brand with a premium price conveys higher status or truly does offer more value. 

Place - Some products are pegged to seasons, making it easy to understand the idea of a product being delivered at the right time and in the right place.  But the market fluctuates in ways that are unrelated to seasons.

 For instance, marketers need to keep an eye on what the competition is doing in the market with respect to product launches, disruption, and innovation. 

Promotion - Marketing and advertising increase consumer awareness of a product, and lets them know how they can obtain the product. Promotion is an important aspect of a company's success with a product because it has the capacity to help spread costs out so that it costs less to produce more product.  

Positioning - Positioning is important to marketing because it encourages consumers to screen out irrelevant information and heightens their perception.  The proliferation of commercial messages, advertising, and promotional clutter is a continual test of the effectiveness of marketing strategies. Product positioning is like product differentiation in that it occurs in the mind of consumers.  In some industries, competition is very keen with many companies competing for a share of the market – and a share of the consumer mind. 

Case Study - Marketing Mix Strategies for Brite Briks

Customers may have difficulty differentiating Lego Duplos from Brite Briks, or even from Mega Bloks’ First Builders, and the emphasis on licensed characters pegged to event marketing may be straining Legos’ lead in the sector.

 That is to say that both Brite Briks and Mega Bloks are establishing deep partnerships with companies producing licensed character figures, such as Pixar, Disney, and Mattel that are tied to the film and television industries.   The diminished prospects of providing sufficient value to customers to sustain their consumer differentiations means that product may not contribute strongly to the marketing mix.  Pricing does contribute some to the brand’s marketing mix, as Brite Briks kits are generally a few dollars cheaper than comparable Legos kits.  Notably, the bricks / blocks of both brands are largely compatible.

MARKET RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  1. Are licensed character figures perceived as contributors to differentiation of Brite Briks?
  2. Do consumers expect to pay less for Brite Briks?  If so, how much less?

    Distribution seems to be a key marketing area for Brite Briks. The company is adjusting packaging to better compete in the Japanese market (Solomon, et al., 2013).  Through effective use of market research, Brite Briks identified package redesign that increases the brand’s appeal to Japanese consumers (Clark, 1990; Lundby & Rasenowich, 2003).  

    MARKET RESEARCH QUESTIONS

    1. How important is smaller packaging to the Japanese market?
    2. Do Japanese consumers prefer products distributed through Japanese vendors?

    The communication strategy of Brite Briks conveys a brand image of a toy that is enjoyed by all family memberss and provides a mechanism and context for fathers to spend more time engaged in meaningful play with their children.  There is an interactive website play space for children old enough to use a computer for recreation.  Brite Briks communicates announcements and news about events that offer fun times for kids and families, and that also underscore the relation between Brite Briks and the licensed characters featured in many of the kits.  Brite Briks has an active social media ambassador base and maintains newsworthy blogs and monitors social media traffic (Tedeschi, 2003).  Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are the sites most favored by their target market, which means that the marketing campaign will be centered on these popular social media platforms

    MARKET RESEARCH QUESTIONS

    1. At what age do Brite Briks fans begin to use an interactive website for extended play?
    2. Which licensed characters do Japanese customers prefer to see on their Brite Briks kits?
    3. Do families access social media to engage with Brite Briks? 

    Some of the market research questions posed in this case study would be identified early in the marketing campaign or a product launch.  Other market research questions will emerge once the product launch or business start-up gets underway. 

    Sources: 

    Clark, T. (1990, October).  International marketing and national character: A review and proposal for an integrative theory.  Journal of Marketing, 54, 66-79.

    Lowe, J. (2003, February).  The marketing dashboard: Measuring marketing effectiveness.  Venture Communications.

    Lundby, C. F. & Rasenowich, C.  (2003). The missing link. Marketing Research, Winter, 18.

    Tedeschi, B. (2003).  Brand building on the internet.  The New York Times.

    _____.  (n.d.). Legos vs. Brite Briks.  Diffen.