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Marketing Mix Strategies

    Marketing Mix Strategies

    When a product is introduced, it’s not locked down forever. Marketers continually gather market data about products so they can refine the product and its position in the marketplace.

    Product Modification

    It is normal for a product to be changed several times during its life. Certainly, a product should be equal or superior to those of principal competitors. If a change can provide superior satisfaction and win more initial buyers and switchers from other brands, then a change is probably warranted.

    However, the decision to make a significant product change introduces risk and cannot be approached in a haphazard manner. First, the marketer must answer the question “What specific attributes of the product and competing products are perceived to be most important by the target customer?” Factors such as quality, features, price, services, design, packaging, and warranty may all be determinants. Each change introduces the risk that it may not align with customer needs. For example, a dramatic increase in product quality might drive the price too high for the existing target consumer, or it might cause him to perceive the product differently and unfavorably. Similarly, the removal of a particular product feature might be the one characteristic that’s regarded as most important by a market segment.

    The product modification decision can only be made if the marketer has a strong understanding of the target customer. What new information is the marketer learning about the buyer persona? Perhaps additional market research is needed to understand the improvements buyers want, to evaluate the market reception of competitors’ products, and evaluate improvements that have been developed within the company. In determining product improvements, sales teams and distributors can provide valuable information. Sales is likely to hear objections from target customers or learn the reasons why they are choosing not to buy. Distributors often deal with a range of products in a category and provide helpful insights into what is tipping the purchase process toward a competitor’s product.


    In an earlier module we discussed product positioning, which requires finding the right marketing mix for a product in order to distinguish it from competitors and give it a unique position in the market. As competitors’ offerings and customer preferences change, marketing may need to make a significant change to the marketing mix to reposition the product. This involves changing the market’s perceptions of a product or brand so that the product or brand can compete more effectively in its present market or in other market segments.

    For example, since its heyday in the late seventies and early eighties, Cadillac sales have dropped by more than 50 percent as the Cadillac customer base aged. In order to restore sales, General Motors is trying to redefine the Cadillac product and brand for a new generation of consumers. This is a dramatic example in which a substantial change is needed. Product repositioning can also involve a very subtle change, such as updating the packaging or tweaking the pricing approach, but it is an important way to shift perceptions as market factors change.

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