The Marketing Concept and Mix

The most important concept that explains each aspect of what marketing is all about.
Marketing concept - Greggs case study

The Marketing concept and mix helps determine the best way to develop a marketing strategy. The role of a marketing strategy is to understand the needs and wants of customers, and to deliver those better than competitors, whilst making a profit for the organisation. 

The concept speaks to the enduring nature of marketing as an outwardly focussed discipline that can be broken down into the following stages that integrate the famous 4Ps of marketing: Price, Place, Product, and Promotion:

  • Understanding who your customers are, what their needs and wants are 
  • Giving them what they want in the way they want it (Product)

  • Making it appealing, so they take notice and can easily access your product (Promotion and Place)

  • Doing it better than your competitors, whilst making a profit (Price)

Let’s take an example to highlight each step of the process in developing marketing strategy: UK’s largest high-street bakery Greggs identified a significant trend: The number of people opting to go vegan quadrupled between 2016 and 2019. 

Greggs were famous for a range of products, but perhaps no more than for their classic sausage rolls.

They capitalised on the popularity of their best-selling product by creating a vegan alternative that they branded the ‘New Sausage Roll’. To further connect the two offerings, they offered an equivalent price point. 

They launched the product with an innovative marketing campaign that drew more than just creative inspiration from the iPhone as packaging.

Piggy-backing on at least some of the allure around the line of smartphones through the use of parody — right from the YouTube advert, sending samples that mimicked Apple’s packaging to social-media influencers and journalists, to selling sausage roll phone cases in stores — the campaign successfully harnessed a great deal of buzz on social media, as well as in the press, including Pier Morgan eating one live on air.  

At the same time, not only did they distribute the product through their 2,000+ convenience stores, but also had the vegan sausages home-delivered, via the Deliveroo app  that further expanded their reach. 

By following the process of developing a marketing strategy, they were able to build on their existing brand, grow their distribution network, expand their product line, and adapt their pricing approach to add value to customers, and beat their competition. The icing on the cake was an 11% jump in revenue and an increase in market value  of around £700 million. 

Key takeaways 

Through this example you can see how Greggs leveraged the 4Ps of marketing. In many ways, this campaign is a blueprint of how marketing should be done. There are four characteristics in this example that we can integrate into our marketing activities. 

  • Bravery

Marketing is inherently about taking educated risks. You need to be able to anticipate — through insight and foresight — where the market is likely to be, and then be able to take a leap, recognising the unknowns. To stand out from the crowd takes courage, as it requires you to stand up for something that is very different, unconventional, and even controversial. In fact, Effie shows that the single biggest differentiator of effective marketing is this characteristic. The writing on the wall is: Go forth, and be brave.  

  • Distinctiveness

You need to provide a unique offer that is embedded within and leverages existing brand styles, tones, designs, and voice. This creates instant familiarity, coupled with curiosity in the minds of customers. It also allows the customer to pigeonhole  the product, and where it fits in their lives, which is essential for increasing overall brand strength. Evidence suggests that by achieving this, strong brands, on average, command a 13% higher price, and achieve a 31% higher operating profit over weak brands, highlighting the value of leveraging brand strength in marketing activities. 

Furthermore, in an environment where only 16% of communications are actually recalled and attributed to the brand by consumers, Greggs’ decision to borrow the naming convention of the product that they are synonymous with was a genius move. They effectively made it easier for the customer to know who was behind the product, and thus create an instant association with it. This side-by-side positioning also encouraged customers to  try the new variant.

  • Innovation 

There is no doubt that there needs to be a certain level of innovation to extend the value of the offering. Typically, we look to innovate the product itself. In reality, the best campaigns are those that innovate across the marketing mix (product, price, place, and promotion). In Greggs’ case, they were cognisant of the declining footfalls on high street, and so innovated across the distribution network through Deliveroo. Ironically, by doing so they were also able to buck the high-street trend, and open more physical stores. It’s a powerful lesson in the unpredictable nature of outcomes when trying new things, which reiterates the need for bravery in creating marketing campaigns.

  • Creativity 

Greggs’ campaign for vegan sausage rolls optimised what we have come to know as the most enduring characteristic of marketing: the ability to creatively market even the most functional products. Creativity is so powerful that it is the single largest contributing factor to effective marketing  by a country mile!

Greggs achieved this in many aspects of their campaign, but perhaps their most impressive achievement was the re-branding of an obviously non-vegetarian product — a sausage — as vegan. It struck a chord with the public, making it an instant PR and social-media hit, further encouraging  conversation, debate, and even controversy. No doubt, it created a lasting impression because of the shock factor, which arguably encouraged the product’s success. After all, they could have created a vegan sandwich instead, but I’m sure you’ll agree that wouldn’t have had quite the same zing! 

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