Friday, October 26, 2007

Introduction to Marketing and the Marketing Mix

In popular use "marketing" is the promotion of products or services. Many people use it synonymously with advertising, while advertising is an aspect of marketing they are not one in the same. Marketing is a social process which satisfies consumers' wants or in our case what members or potential members want. Marketing will include advertising, distribution and the selling of a product or service. It will also be concerned with anticipating the members' future needs and wants.

Good marketing is derived from knowledge of what it is the consumers need or want. This can be obtained through market research. This knowledge should drive all marketing aspects. Do not get consumed with trends and ideas that other markets may use successfully. They do not necessarily transfer their success to the association market. I am not saying that we should be aware of what they are doing and possibly utilize some aspects of their campaigns but there should be thought applied to insure that your members and potential members will be receptive to it and it will be successful.

The American Marketing Association (AMA) states, "Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizaitonal objectives."

Okay on to the stuff that you can use!

The Marketing Mix is a good way to determine the strategic position of a product or service in the marketplace. This is not a new concept, according to Wikipedia the origin of the Marketing Mix was in the late 1940s and was presented to the AMA in the 1950s. I was taught to remember the Marketing Mix as the four P's.

PRODUCT - The service(s) or good(s) that you offer your members or potential members. Your products will range from education, meetings, and events to your logo items and products. One thing to think about in the association market is that your products will often time be intangible. Remember that you will be offering a sense of belonging, satisfaction, and joy with your members and this comes from your members feeling like part of the family. Other intangibles will be an enhanced sense of professionalism by being a part of the association. These are going to be the "PRODUCTS" that will keep your members attached and active in your association.

PRICE - This is the amount one will pay for your product(s). Your price should be determined by a number of factors and not just arbitrarily decided upon. You need to think about your costs, competition costs, your market share, and (possibly the most important) the consumers perceived value of the product.

PLACE - Place represents the location where a product can be purchased and where it may take place. With associations a key point is the location of an event or the time of a meeting. These aspects must be carefully thought out so that it does not limit the attendance or participation. Remember that "PLACE" does not have to be a physical location, it can also include virtual locations online.

PROMOTION - Now for the fun part right? Promotion is what most people think of when they hear the word "marketing". This is the covering, the part everyone will see and hear. While many people think that this is what sells the product I think that if a focus is put on the product itself along with its price and its place the promotion just has to inform the consumers of those things in an affective way. Promotion does have four distinct elements that will work together to be successful. These four elements are Advertising, Public Relations, Word of Mouth and Point of Sale. Advertising is all things that are paid forin the promotion of the product whether it is a print or radion ad or even a promotional product that is used to help promote the product. Public Relations are pieces that are not directly paid for such as press releases, sponsorship deals, exhibitions, press coverage or community forums. Word of Mouth is any informal communication about the product or service by ordinary individuals. Word of Mouth is probably the most affective form of promotion because the consumers often hear positive comments from people they trust rather than on a billboard or in a magazine. Point of Sale is the experience the consumer has when he purchases the product or uses the service. This is extremely important for association because a positive point of sale experience can leverage that member into a life time participant in your activities and services.

The optimizing of these aspects of the Marketing Mix is the basic responsibility of marketing. If you are able to utilize these aspects of marketing development your services and products will be a success!

• information adapted from Wikipedia •

1 comment:

jannie said...
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