Selecting an optimal marketing mix is one of the most important on-going decisions a company makes. Yet, it seldom gets the scrutiny it deserves.
Choosing wisely and in the right proportions is difficult. But, it plays a significant role in determining how well your marketing investments will pay off.
In every marketing planning process, it comes down to two simple questions. What should we do and how much should we do it? With limited resources and budget, marketers need a solid rationale for their choices. The strategy will be less effective if it’s based solely on the latest trends, last year’s plan, or guesswork. Like virtually all things in marketing – focusing on the target market will help you develop the best possible scenario.
In this article, we’re going to look at the optimal marketing mix in more detail and why basing it on target markets is so important. While there is seldom a perfect blend, the goal is to get as close as you can.
What is the Optimal Marketing Mix?
Although they are central to the overall strategy, we’re not talking about the traditional “marketing mix” – product, place, price, promotion, etc. Here we refer to the specific campaigns and initiatives you will execute over a given period. It’s the precise definition of the amounts of time, energy and budget you will spend on each primary activity.
The good news is that there is a fairly limited choice when it comes to marketing. If you think about categories of activities such as brand building, lead generation, channel development, or sales enablement – the list is not that long. The challenge is picking the work that will have the greatest impact. If you choose well, your results will be stronger with less effort and cost. If not, the opposite will come to pass. There are other key factors – such as competition, or the complexity and price of your offering. While these are important, they too revolve around a target market.
Why Target Markets Matter
Planning your initiatives in the context of who you are selling to, will always be more productive and fruitful. It seems intuitive enough, but can be easily overlooked when caught up in a busy workload and trying to stay afloat. If you have done a reasonable job with marketing segmentation, you have a good understanding of the characteristics of each target audience. Here are some typical attributes used in defining a target market.
- Are your prospects B2B or B2C, government, or not-for-profit?
- Are they small to mid-sized business or larger enterprises?
- Where are they located?
- How many companies or consumers make up the target market?
- Is there a typical type of person who buys your product or service?
- Where do they meet or communicate with peers?
- How do they get information to learn about products and services such as yours?
- How do they buy? What is the buying criteria? How often do they buy?
- Are there trends in the purchasing processes they use?
How These Factors Impact Decision-Making
When focused on the breakdown of a target market, it should naturally lead to thinking about the approach in specific ways. Here are a few examples and the impact they have on selecting an optimal marketing mix. The list can on and on, but you’ll you get the idea.
- If you sell B2C to a broad audience, digital and traditional advertising will be a healthy part of your mix. If you sell a complex technology to a well-defined market of a few thousand companies, more direct campaigns will likely be best.
- If your typical buyers are young and heavy social media users, you will invest more in this area. An activity such as telesales will likely not be high on the agenda.
- If you’re in a mature, price-driven market – sales and promotional tactics may play a vital role in your plan.
- If you have a high concentration of prospects in certain cities, in-person activities such as seminars could be wise choice.
Choosing activity based on what you know about your prospects will significantly increase the odds of creating the amount of awareness, attraction, and action needed to achieve your goals. This approach will be more efficient since you won’t waste time and energy aiming your marketing in the wrong places, or at the wrong people. If you don’t understand who they are and what makes them tick, how can you possibly figure out how to engage them? As a side benefit, It will also help you refine your messaging so it resonates most with the people you want for customers.
When you build your next marketing plan, try to look at all your decisions through the lens of your target audience. When a target market guides the thinking in selecting your optimal marketing mix, it’s bound to improve the results.