The marketing mix, or customer experience, forms the foundation of a strategic marketing approach. Each element within the mix needs to be considered from a strategic perspective to ensure alignment between business goals, market value and marketing outcomes.
While many businesses understand the core of what they offer, they often overlook the other attributes that consist of their product or service. A product or service will typically have three core components:
- The Core – the fundamental need you provide. The core is the generic need that that is fulfilled by utilising your product or service. For example in hospitality you are satisfying hunger, or shelter for accommodation. This is often cited as one of the reasons for the failure of Kodak, since it failed to consider that its products provide story telling or memories, not photography.
- Actual product – the tangible components that customers interact with. This is the physical configuration of the product or service, including packaging, staff interaction and the product itself. Hospitality incorporates the setting of the restaurant, cuisine selection and attitudes of staff. In the case of Kodak, the product included the film quality, packaging and store interaction. Had Kodak considered its product as storytelling or memories, then the actual product would have encompassed digital storage, cameras and photography sharing.
- Augmented product – additional components you can offer to differentiate yourself from competitors, which reinforce your value proposition. A fine dining restaurant may incorporate an additional course in a degustation menu for regular customers, while a hotel may offer valet parking or extended check outs.
Failing to incorporate a holistic view of your products or services will cause fragmentation within the marketing mix and diminish outcomes. Marketing needs visibility and influence into product development and service composition to ensure alignment across each element of the marketing mix.