The chosen social enterprise for the project was Prep Mate, a hardware-based business offering a unique product for people with disabilities. The primary product is multiple functional chopping boards for individuals with upper limb differences or groups of people with motor issues such as the elderly. The Prep Mate board incorporates various elements of cooking to aid such individuals to cook independently. The selected frameworks for the work are the 5Ps Marketing Mix (sometimes an abbreviated 4Ps version is used) and the STP Marketing model. These were appropriate due to the group’s proposed areas of focus which were target market, advertising strategy, and funding. Both models are effective in identifying target markets regarding the product and offer both strategy and marketing tools that an organization can use to achieve its objectives.
5Ps Framework Evaluation
The 5Ps framework is a specification of the marketing mix, “activities that show similarities to the overall process of marketing, requiring the combination of individual elements” (Al Badi, 2015, p.136). The five individual elements of price, product, place, promotion, and people are used to describe a strategic position of a product in the market. The key value of the marketing mix is determining how value can be created, communicated, and delivered to the consumer. By blending the variables of the framework optimally, a positive response can be generated in the target market (Al Badi, 2015).
The elements in the marketing mix were carefully established by the framework in the context of macroeconomic theory. Price acknowledges vital points of the market, the cross-section between quantity, demand, and price. Based on the systemic equilibrium theory, the product aspect determines the prices based on conditions and the position of the producer. The third aspect is placed, as each producer selects the market and sometimes the literal location where the product is sold. The existence of a good product at a right place leads to more profit. The final element of promotion is critical to supplementing the others and the established position. In a product lifecycle, promotion is necessary to build awareness or remind of the product’s existence to the market. Each element is initiated on a sequence basis, not overlapping but complementing the previous one, creating a formulated marketing strategy that is also used to drive operating strategy (Prasetyo & Lo, 2016).
The 4Ps marketing mix was created as a company-centric, supply-side framework in the 1960s which offers vital marketing tools to firms and managers. This approach is considered traditionalist and may have some setbacks in the modern business and marketing environment. This traditionalist classification of the marketing mix has become somewhat outdated in the modern customer-centric environment, even with the addition of the last “people” element in recent decades (Jackson & Ahuja, 2016). Introduction of information technology and digital shopping, the importance of segmented market increases, with a greater emphasis on long-term customer relationship marketing. Customer satisfaction is the essential requirement in the modern era. Digital devices and platforms allow consumers to have the most updated information about product, price, and promotion, while not having the limitations of time and pace. Modern shopping revolves mostly around price and promotion in a digital environment that is also dependent on elements of user satisfaction (Chen, 2018). Therefore, this is indicative that the core marketing mix can be utilized through good marketing qualities in the modern digital shopping environment, but the emphasis on long-term customer-centric goals is more critical than the company-centric approach on which the framework was developed.
One of the main weaknesses of the model is that it focuses on short-term outcomes while undervaluing the importance of strategic and long-term thinking that includes aspects such as brand equity. With the rise of globalization and social media, social marketing has become a popular approach. Social marketing often utilizes the Ps of the traditional marketing mix in combination with other interventions such as communication, planning, training, and others. Social and commercial marketing often have interchangeable paradigms, but the predominance of the 4Ps has always remained. Within the marketing discipline, the 4Ps framework is the core tool that can be carefully combined and utilized for the most viable marketing mix (Gordon, 2012).
A marketing mix is inherently a classification that is able to schematize controllable demand instruments that can be combined into a marketing program to achieve a level of response from its target market. It is a set of key tools that can be adjusted or improved to match the needs of the marketplace to gain a competitive advantage and maximize outputs (sales) (Jackson & Ahuja, 2016). The group utilized the 4Ps marketing mix since it was highly effective in identifying target markets and place/promotion of sale for a very specific product. It is a simple but highly effective framework, particularly in finding an appropriate marketing mix for a niche product such as one offered by Prep Mate.
The 5Ps of the marketing mix help to establish a foundation for the business marketing outreach and position. Positioning is critical to defining the business niche and how customers perceive the product. It also contributes to efforts to maintain a focused approach to marketing and operational efforts, alongside aspects such as logistics and other key features of the experience. The 5Ps highlight areas of the business that can be improved or ones that are successful in meeting the target audience’s needs (Madhani, 2017).
With Prep Mate, the group greatly benefited from the 5Ps marketing mix framework in driving the proposals on approaching the niche target market. Positioning the product as a necessity to a population in need is challenging. Furthermore, some of the critiques of this literature review were taken into consideration, in terms of digital marketing strategy, and how the social enterprise would take advantage of the various platforms in the context of the 5Ps. The group sought to adapt the 5Ps framework, positioning Prep Mate as a customer-centric product and company that is capable of adopting the traditional marketing mix in modern ways.
STP Marketing Model Evaluation
Market segmentation is an adaptive strategy that provides value to the customer and shapes the value chain. Segmentation allows to identify of specific needs and concerns of a consumer segment, and driving firms to create an appropriate marketing mix to address these. The strategic planning process for a market stems from the selection of target markets and the formulation of the marketing mix and positioning to fit the segment. Once the market segment is selected, a business can adopt a competitive advantage strategy geared towards perceived value and is difficult to copy. The segmentation process goes through the process of segment identification, segment selection, and then the creation of marketing mixes for the target market (Ebitu, Mbum & Okon, 2012).
The Segmentation-Targeting-Positioning (STP) framework is the foundation of marketing strategy. The competitive market structure is complex, based on the relationship between products, services, and brands with consumer purchase behavior and background characteristics, alongside marketing mixes and brand positioning. Contemporary models of the market structure take into account both consumer heterogeneity or market segmentation and competitive relationships of products and brands (Desarbo, Blanchard & Atalay, 2015). STP directly contributes to the marketing strategy defined by an organization, regarding crucial choices about its products, markets, marketing resources, and activities. It is the field of strategic marketing that is driven by STP analyzing the behavior of organizations in the market, including interactions with consumers, competitors, and external circumstances in the context of creation, communication, and delivery of products. STP defines how to compete in a market or industry, while the 5Ps focus on operational level of marketing (Varadarajan, 2010)
The STP process encompasses these analyses comprehensively. It consists of three steps. The first, segmentation, identifies the basic variables such as customer needs, preferences, intentions to derive the market segment concerning behavior through a multivariate analysis. The second stage is targeting, which considers the financial elements of the derived market segments regarding competitive advantage, demand, and cost. One or more segments are selected as “targets” for the most optimal level of resources invested to derive profit potential and evaluation based on the corporate strategy of the firm.
Customers and prospects are identified within the target segments. Finally, the third stage is positioning, where the firm attempts to derive concepts of positioning its products and services in a manner that attracts targeted consumers. For companies with multiple product lines, positioning also includes consideration of the placement of the product within its own product line and other target segments. However, in any circumstance, positioning seeks to design the company’s offering and image to become relevant to its target market (Desarbo, Blanchard & Atalay, 2015).
STP is an internal analysis that is often used in combination with the 5Ps marketing mix as well as external analyses such as Porter’s 5 forces and SWOT matrix to build an effective strategy. Dicky and Mansoor (2020) describe a case study of how a marketing communication strategy for a fashion brand was developed. The start-up business had issues with brand awareness and little sales. The brand not only analyzed its own marketing mix but also the STP and 4Ps of its competitors to identify the optimal strategies. Information from consumer questionnaires and analysis of the industry was used as supporting data for the formulation of STP and the marketing mix strategy.
Meanwhile, Wang (2014) discusses how STP is used in the technology industry. For example, Apple and Samsung are successful firms known for their effective and popular smartphone products. In recent years, both have entered the space of developing smartwatches and other consumer electronic products. In order to survive in a globally competitive environment, the point is the necessity to facilitate user perception into product development. Consumer aspects are often highly scattered in terms of preferences, perceptions, demographics, and behaviors. However, adopting the STP approach practically allows managing this. The segmentation stage splits the macro market into micro-segment where consumers demonstrate similar responses among groups.
The targeting step evaluates financial attractiveness and profitability, and then positioning is used to distinguish the company from competitors. Incorporating customer aspects into the STP process allows the firm to cultivate the differentiation capabilities and consolidate customer loyalty. Essentially, segmentation becomes product differentiation, targeting is product recommendation, and positioning is product configuration from a consumer perspective (Wang, 2014).
Something that the group found is that the marketing mix of STP and the 5Ps are inherently intertwined. As mentioned earlier, the 5Ps are a traditionalist, firm-centric model. However, the STP framework provides it with a custom approach to marketing by helping to deliver relevant messaging to a commercially attractive target audience. STP identifies the valuable segments and creates a basis on which the proper marketing mix and positioning strategy can be implemented (Brooks & Simkin, 2012).
The group found it helpful to use the framework steps and foundation in approaching the development of the digital strategy for Prep Mate. It required focused content marketing that was developed through the identification of target segments using STP. Since the primary produce is highly niche, STP aided the group in finding the value proposition for the product and a method of informing segments of its benefits and features, beyond the primary segment of people with disabilities for whom the product was designed.
The literature used to evaluate the frameworks can be considered viable and trustworthy. The majority of literature came from academic journal articles, many with a specialization in business and industry. The literature covered a wide range of industries ranging from technology to fashion as well as introducing strong theoretical principles. Some of the articles also offer application elements of the theoretical framework concepts allowing for comparison between professional research and the group’s application with Prep Mate. A variety of methodologies were used in the literature, such as literature review, quantitative analysis, external analysis, and qualitative observations and discussions – all of which contributed to a deeper understanding of the concepts. The only notable weakness can be ascribed to definitions. As described by Varadarajan (2010), “it is not uncommon for new constructs to be introduced to the field without offering precise definitions” or articulating differences between new and old constructs (p. 138). It was at times difficult to follow the concepts introduced in the literature as these were not well-defined or weakly placed into the context of general theory.
The team consisted of a diverse group of individuals who were given tasks and roles based on their proficiencies and capabilities. The team had a person from each type of role, action roles, people roles, and thinking roles. There was an implementer individual who helped to plan the project and brainstorm ideas. The majority of team consisted of people roles, including a coordinator which helped to coordinate team objectives and members, effectively managing the team. There was also a team worker individual who helped bring the team together during conflicts or simply challenging elements of the project, filling in when necessary. A resource investigator was also present who explored different ideas and frameworks that would have been relevant, as well as building communication within the team. The personal role of the author of this paper in the group was Monitor Evaluator, the only ‘Thinking’ role.
As the Monitor Evaluator, the role of the decision-making was the main responsibility, given that the role entailed logically examining perspectives and making impartial judgments based on evidence. During the project, this approach helped to keep the team on track, provided structure to teamwork and the project, and made the final calls on which aspects should be included in the paper. It was a balanced role, hindered only by a lack of creative thinking and potentially overly critical nature which sometimes created tension with other team members. However, it was beneficial for the team in the sense that it balanced out the various other roles which had more freedoms in terms of exploring ideas and opportunities but lacked the logical input necessary to present a critical analysis.
The frameworks of STP and the 5Ps marketing mix have proven to be prominent foundations of business and marketing strategy. These are well-established theories that serve as the core of many marketing activities for firms. There are some concerns that they are not applicable or easily adaptable, particularly in the modern digital environment. However, evidence demonstrates that the frameworks can be used in the digital age and combination with other strategies. The group used STP and the 4Ps frameworks to build the marketing strategy for the social enterprise Prep Mate. The application of the theories allowed to identify target market segments and build a positioning strategy for the project which was then capitalized upon by a digital marketing mix approach. Overall, it was beneficial to examine the commercial strategies in the context of NGOs and highlight that the category of product and services will benefit from a wide range of marketing mixes for promotion.
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