The main components of marketing mix are also known as the four P`s of marketing and they include the following. According to Cheverton (2004), the product is an area concerned with developing the right product for the target customer. Place is concerned with decisions of getting the right product to the right place commonly described as distribution. Promotion entails telling the target customers about the existence of the right product. In addition to the right product, promoted and properly distributed, the marketers must decide on the right price to sell the product after considering the competition that exist in the market.
Product differentiation and product positioning
This is the process of incorporating attributes such as quality or price in a product to support the intended customer`s desirable perception. Product positioning is the way products and services are provided through brand identification in the market. In the modern competitive world, companies should always examine their products and services so as to serve their customers better. The strategy applied successfully in one year may not work in another year. Product differentiation and positioning are important aspects of a company`s marketing strategy in order to achieve the required competitive advantage (Eaton & Lipsey, 2005.)..
Successful differentiation and positioning techniques depends on an imaginative approach to he market. Product differentiation and positioning statement work together with the strategies. Once the marketer has decided on the best way to approach differentiation, the next thing is to determine how to position it in the marketplace. Differentiation enables the organisation to determine a product`s position and compete successfully. Therefore, a good marketer must identify what makes their brand different from others and communicate the same value to their potential customers. Differentiated products are able to stand out from competition and effectively attract customers on their own.
When customers enter a market to make purchases, they normally have options by considering aspects like taste, quality, price and feel they can make their pricing decisions. In order to stand out from competitors, your products must have unique features and benefits that make your marketing communication clearly conveyed to customers. A comparison of your products to competitors can enable in establishing differentiation.
Product Life Cycle
These are the stages that an individual product undergoes from the time it is introduced in the market, its growth in popularity and eventual removal from the market. After the development stage, the product is launched into the market, it gains more customers as it grows and then the market stabilises as the product becomes mature (Giudice & Risitano, 2006). Then, after a period of time, the product is overtaken by others superior competitors which leads to its decline and withdrawal as the only option.
Marketing strategy in each stage
At introduction,the need for instant profits is not high. The product is promoted in order to create awareness and develop its own market. The impact of the marketing mix strategy has its own features. The product quality and branding level is established as an intellectual property and protection is obtained. Pricing is low in order to penetrate the market rapidly and deeper to recover development costs. Selective distribution is done until customers accept the product. Promotion is mainly aimed at innovation.
In the growth stage, competitors become attracted in the market and begin to offer similar offerings and the firm thus seeks to build its brand preference and increase its market share. The quality of the product is maintained with additional features while pricing is maintained as the firm enjoy an increase in demand with low levels of competition. Distribution channels are increased due to demand as promotion intensifies (Moschis, 1994).
At maturity stage, the products that survive the earlier stages spend longer at this point while the weak ones diminish and competition may appear due to increase in substitute products. The main objective of marketing at this point is to defend the market share as well as maximising profits. The product features are enhanced to differentiate it from competitor`s products. Prices may be reduced in order to keep sales constant while distribution channels may be intensified to cover new markets. The main objective of promotion is to present product differentiation.
At decline point, the market is at its downturn as more innovative products are introduced with changes in consumer tastes. The market experience intense price cutting and product withdrawal in the market. Profits can be maximised through reduction of marketing expenses and cutting costs. As sales reduce, the firm maintains the product possibly to rejuvenate it through additional features and looking for new users. In other cases, the product can be harvested to continue with it offering the loyal customers. The most common strategy is to discontinue the product by introducing another line or selling out the firm to other investors.
Perceptual map: A case of Cruiser Thor motorcycles
In order to ascertain the market position with a perceptual map, the best and most relevant parameters have to be selected in order to make a precise comparison in the motorcycle industry. Cruiser Thorr is a flagship motorbike product with competitors such as Enpritique and Anzai. Compared to the competitors, Thorr motorcycles brand has a superior engine feature that the other two. The lifestyle representation of the motorbike belongs to the high upper market while the Anzai represent younger users and Espritique is liked for its safety. The following is the perceptual map for Thurr motorcycles and its competitors. The map is plotted on attributes such as the lifestyle image presented, product design and style, product uniqueness and the issue of price.
Figure 1: perceptual map of Thurr motorcycles
The attributes presented in the perceptual map have a major significance in the marketing style and trend in the industry. For instance, due to the type of lifestyle image represented by this motorcycle, the product has managed to speak for itself and therefore very little effort is required in product promotion and advertising in all stages of the product lifecycle. This has made the Cruiser Thorr Company to have a comparative market share in the industry.
The uniqueness of product due to its design style has been used as a strong strategy for product differentiation and positioning. This strategy has been successfully applied for a long period the product has been in the industry. When the customers get to the stores to buy, they already have an image of the product they want to buy despite the price quoted in the catalogue. In order to stand out from competitors, your products must have unique features and benefits that make your marketing communication clearly conveyed to customers. Despite the market price of Thurr motorcycles being relatively higher that the substitute motorcycles, the customers are convinced with the quality of product they pay for.
Allen, Brent. (2011). Motocycles, Life, And. Lost Classics Book Co.
Cheverton, P. (2004). Key marketing skills: Strategies, tools, and techniques for marketing success. London: Kogan Page.
Eaton, B. C., & Lipsey, R. G. (2005.). Product differentiation. Handbook of Industrial Organization, 1 / Edited by Richard Schmalensee and Robert D. Willig.
Giudice, F., La, R. G., & Risitano, A. (2006). Product design for the environment: A life cycle approach. Boca Raton: CRC/Taylor & Francis.
Moschis, G. P. (1994). Marketing strategies for the mature market. Westport, Conn: Quorum