International Marketing Mix*

There are 7Ps in the international marketing mix, including product, price, place, promotion, people, process and physical evidence.

Product

This is a bundle of things that generate satisfaction for the customer. Products have a life cycle and they are developed and launched. If they are successful, their sales will grow. Eventually the market will mature and it will decline when there are many other rival entrances.

Decisions about the product and how it fits into the market with the competition is the basic marketing decision. These decisions will be different at different stages in the product life cycle.

Price

In this case two generic strategies can be used to set prices. They include

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  • premium pricing- where there is a premium product
  • price competition- where there is no differentiation

In addition to the above, there are various price tactics. They include:

Penetration pricing– Where the companies set low prices to build market share

Price skimming-Where companies take a temporary competitive advantage to charge high prices

Optional pricing– Where additional benefits are priced separately

Captive pricing– This is for additional products or services, once a customer is captured

Price discrimination-This is when the same product has a different price in different market segments or locations.

Usually, the pricing choices are done based on the competitors’ prices and competitors’ likely reactions to price changes. Hence, pricing is a dynamic process in which companies struggle for a position in the market.

Place

  • This is the distribution channel that a company uses to get the product to the customers.
  • In this case, it should be decided whether the product is supplied directly to customers or intermediaries are used.
  • Types of intermediaries include
    • Wholesalers
      • Buy the product from the producers
      • Break down the bulk into smaller quantities for retailers
      • Store the goods
      • Take on some  of the marketing function
    • Agents
      • Do not buy the product
      • Find the customers and take orders in exchange for a commission
      • Product is stored on behalf of the producer
      • They do not own it while it is in storage
      • They are commonly used in countries other than the one in which the manufacturer is based
    • Retailers
      • Sell many brands and may have a strong brand themselves
      • Decide what price to charge, carry out advertising and promotion
      • Provides credit to the customers
    • Internet
      • Offers a direct to customer channel for producers, wholesalers and retailers
      • Low set up costs
      • An alternative to the use of agents
  • Considering the distribution strategy, the choice and mix of channels should be decided.
    • Choice of single or multiple channels of distribution
    • Choice of changing the distribution channel according to the stage in the product life cycle
    • Length of distribution channel from production to sales
    • Avoiding conflict between distribution channels

Promotion         

  • This involves strategic choices among a range of possibilities
    • Personal selling- individual sales people meet customers(this requires high gross margins)
    • Public relations- Stories are placed in various media to transmit the company’s message to its customers
    • Direct mail- Using databases to identify and target potential customers who are likely to buy the product
    • Trade fairs and exhibitions
    • Advertising- In a variety of media
    • Sponsorship- A company pays to be associated with an event

However, in some markets for some products, personal contacts and commission paid to important people are essential parts of promotion. This is sometimes considered as corrupt. But, it is required for success.

In e-businesses, there is viral marketing, where the customers recommend the product to their friends and news spread like a virus. For example, Hotmail.

People

  • In this case, people involved at the interface and who are in contact with the customers are a valuable source of information about customer requirements and preferences.

Process

  • In service industries, process of accessing and receiving the service is an important part of the marketing mix. The strategic choices include in this are
    • Technology- to use call centers, direct contact, web based service
    • Customer co-production-choosing how much work the customer has to do to get service benefits

Physical evidence

  • This includes the physical appearance of all the elements of the product and service that the customer experiences. They include:
    • Physical product design
    • Staff uniforms and grooming
    • Buildings
    • Vehicles
    • Printed matter
    • Website design
    • Logos and other branding tools

Stay tuned with Zeeable for more of such updates!!

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