Thursday, December 20, 2012

Marketing Mix Strategy; The 4ps of Marketing

Executive Summary
The research was carried out with regard to the ParcelForce Company. It’s an international company that is involved in parcel delivery worldwide. It is one of the key players of the delivery sector with clients numbering in millions. It has its delivery services guaranteed on certain times or on given days. The company was previously having challenges in its delivery services due to the large number of parcels it was expected to deliver, and on time. This the company found to be overwhelming and they opted to have a lesser market share with whom they satisfy in terms of service delivery than have a large market with less efficiency (Bradley, N. 2007). The research entailed checking the solutions that were implemented to make it as efficient as it is. This entailed having to visit their branches as an individual and as a group with an aim to gather information and get feedback from their staff. This proved to be a much educative venture as it was an exposure into the implementation of the marketing strategies to improve business operations and with more returns (Kolb, B. 2008).
Marketing Mix
Marketing mix is defined as a marketing strategy that involves balancing four elements that pertains to the marketing of a product. These are commonly known s the 4p’s which are product, price, place and promotion. It involves having the right product that has the right and desirable features. It must be well packaged to attract the consumer’s eye, and above all it should serve its intended purpose and give value for its cost. The product must be sold at the right price. The price of the product should be considerate so as to guarantee a profit margin for the company and also at the same time consider the consumer, thus it should be set affordably (Bradley, N. 2007). A great step in selling a product is making sure that the intended market is aware of its existence. Having a well branded product in the shelves yet the target group is unaware of it, will not sell the product. Promoting the product is essential for any business, and letting the intended consumer be aware of products existence is paramount in doing business. A great deal of selling should involve good promotion and advertising and may even extend to include free samples and use of celebrity branding.
Although the three may be done and executed perfectly, its essential that the product be available (Kolb, B. 2008). The product once made and well packaged, and placed at the right price, it should above all be accessible. The intended market once aware of the product existence, should be able to access it with little hustle. The product should be readily available and accessible by the consumer, for whose consumption it’s intended. It’s important for any business to have the four elements in the right as each is a great contributor of the marketing of a product. Of all the three elements, price seems to play a unique role (Codita, R. 2011). This is because it is determined by the manufacturer through the consideration of the costs incurred to create a profit margin, whereas it is one of the elements that a consumer considers most while buying a product.  A good balance should therefore be struck to ensure that both parties gain maximum benefit from the product. The elements should therefore be adjusted to find the right combination that best suits the product consumer while still generating maximum income for the company (Bradley, N. 2007).
In the case of parcel force, the four P’s have serve a great deal in ensuring better business and improved service delivery. With the large volumes of deliveries that the company handled, which ranged from business-to-business services, business-to-consumer services, and consumer-to-consumer services, it soon became overwhelmed (Kolb, B. 2008). This definitely led to poor delivery of mails, and poor customer service. The come company decided to make some time critical changes. This involved reducing the number of parcels delivered and increasing the value of their service. They opted to have less quantity for more quality. A survey the company conducted showed that it faced stiff competition from other companies as their services were deteriorating. They choose to strategize on the 4ps. They improved they product in that, they divided the service into two; the urgent parcel, and the deferred or medium speed parcel. This enabled them to handle their parcels on a priority basis to keep their timeline. Regarding the price of the service, it was determined using the priority basis where the urgency of the service cost more and the parcel was delivered faster.
However price come with the choice between the quality of service, customer service and the speed of delivery (Codita, R. 2011). Their services being on global front, they collaborated with other market players to improve their service ad reach the global market more efficiently. Promotion of their services was improved to include below the line whereby they were directly involved in the issuing of newsletters through emails and direct mail.
Two issues that were dominant in the research regarded the producer’s profit, and the consumer’s satisfaction. The aim of conducting any business or producing a product is primarily to make money. A business venture seeks o have returns on their investment while trying to increase and fulfill the customer satisfaction (Kolb, B. 2008). The producer thence has to choose a price that suits the business needs which will in turn be acceptable to the consumer. The consumer on the other hand desires a product that will satisfy his needs, thence giving him the value for their money. The two parties thence have to strike a balance at which price it best suits their interests. However the price may be affected by a number of factors. The price and availability of competitor’s products is one of them. This is because consumers will opt to have the cheaper product from the competitor, which may in turn lead to the loss of market base. The targeted market may be also a varying factor as their levels of income may be limited thus the marketer has to put that into consideration and may opt to have smaller units of the product in the market so as to make it more affordable to them (Bradley, N. 2007).
This piece of work was highly beneficial to both me and my group members. I have valuable knowledge with regard to the conduct of business. This is especially beneficial in that I look forward to becoming an entrepreneur soon, and will therefore seek to incorporate in the business the value of the 4ps. It also gives me the chance to experiment the market and come up with the preferable balance that should work for my business. This knowledge will not only beneficial to me alone but also others as I shall pass on the knowledge to them.
The research part was most interesting as it was educative. Conducting the research on an already operating company, and a global one at that was a valuable experience too. It exposed us to the day to day operations of an extremely busy company, ad gave us a chance to experience first hand the challenges that they come upon. It was of paramount importance to the business that the customer be satisfied (Codita, R. 2011). Customer satisfaction was given the utmost priority and any compliant from a customer no matter how insignificant it seemed, treated with great concern. That was a lesson of all time, that the customer is first and their satisfaction is what keeps the business ticking (Bradley, N. 2007).
This assignment has come with several key lessons. One of the lessons came from the experience of working as a group, on a common designated task. It was obvious to observe we were able to accomplish more together than when one is working individually. The group working as a unit was able to accomplish more together and this even aided in accomplishing the task faster. Once we were as a group we were easily granted access to company’s resources and they were even more cooperative when they realized it was for an educative purpose. The staff was friendlier and even more cooperative when approached as a group, and were more eager to show us how business is conducted.
The research part was also a great eye opener. This is with regard to the things learnt on the field where the theory is put to practical purposes. It was a great thing to be able to analyze the 4ps and how they are implemented in the field by such a large company that has a global market for its products. It was also baffling to realize that the staff was open minded and ready to learn from u s as much as we were eager to learn from them. They were ready to try out new ideas and even involve us in troubleshooting sessions regarding new ideas on their field of operations.
The exercise was a total success that was both enjoyable and more so informative. Conducting the research on a global company and having a chance to meddle in its operations was a novel deed. This was a good exposure of how the theoretical principles and guidelines are implemented in the business area. The research involved looking at the company when its returns were not as admirable as they are today, and when it was faced with large volumes of business. The solutions that were adapted were in line with the 4ps and this proved to be eve more beneficial to the study and relevant with our research. The group learned the value of research and of undertaking a task in the stipulated time span. Time is an essential element in research and as also learnt in the conduct of business. In the conduct of their business (Kolb, B. 2008), time is an essential element in the conduct of their business. In the nature of ParcelForce business, it was extremely important that they adhere to timelines; otherwise they are out of business. Time is therefore an important factor in conducting any business, and it should be done with adherence to efficiency. Speed of business conduct is paramount in giving returns; however the quality of service should always be maintained (Bradley, N. 2007).

From the research conducted, it’s important of note that the importance of market mix cannot be undermined by a business. For a business to stay afloat in the current times of multinationals and global competition, it’s important for a business to incorporate the 4ps into their business. The price of the commodity however takes a big and major role in the success of a business (Wenderoth, M. 2009). It is through it that business between the consumers is materialized. It can thence be determined and made attractive in various ways. A business can incorporate the use of penetration pricing. This involves setting the price of the commodity to a low price with an aim of gaining market share. This usually can be practiced when the product is introduced to a new market. The aim is to have the price act as bait for getting customers use the product. Once the market is achieved, the price can then is raised, with the assumption that the consumers will have used the product and favor it (Wenderoth, M. 2009). The other mode is when a [product is established in the market ad seeks to reap from brand. The product is already a brand and its high price will not chase away he consumers as they also consume it due to its brand status.
The product itself should serve the intended purpose and fulfill the consumer need. The quality of the product should always be held at an all time high. Its quality is what will ultimately make the product a market brand from which the company can reap as many consumers tend to be loyal to a certain brand (Wenderoth, M. 2009). A product quality also gives a product an advantage over its competitors.
The promotion of a product is a major factor of gaining a market share (Codita, R. 2011). Consumers cannot use that which they are not aware of its existence. Thence making the target market aware of the product and informing them of its use is essential in marketing it and getting the business done. Making the product readily available to the consumers is one deed that should be a priority. Its no good for a market of a product to exists where the product is not available.
Thence the 4p’s should be given a god balance to ensure great conduct of the business (Codita, R. 2011).

Bradley, N. (2007). Marketing research: tools & techniques Oxford: Oxford University Press

Codita, R. (2011). Contingency factors of marketing-mix standardization German consumer goods companies in Central and Eastern Europe New York; Roxana, pp 23-25