Difference Between Marketing Mix and Product Mix

Key Difference – Marketing Mix vs Product Mix
 

The difference between marketing mix and product mix is quite significant. To begin with, an organization essentially requires a product which needs to be sold to make a profit. A product may refer to a tangible element (product) or an intangible element (service). Marketing strategies are executed using tactical elements related to marketing functions. Both product mix and marketing mix are part of this tactical framework.The key difference between Marketing Mix and Product Mix is that Marketing Mix is a broader term which includes the complete array of marketing tactics while product mix only refers to few elements of the product variable from the whole marketing mix. Though the broadness of these concepts differs, both are utilized for an effective implementation of marketing strategies and to achieve the set goals. Now, we will look at these concepts individually which will be followed up with the differences in between them.

What is Marketing Mix?

Marketing mix is a broad term comprising of the essential marketing functions. Marketing mix can be defined as “the set of planned mix of controllable, tactical marketing tools that an organization utilizes to achieve the desired results from its target audience”. The right combination of marketing mix variables is planned in accordance with the directions of ultimate marketing and corporate strategy of the said organization. Marketing mix’s desired performance is to induce the demand from the customer end.

Though, the marketing mix remains an intricate part of marketing for centuries, the term was initially discussed by the president of American marketing association Neil Borden in 1953. McCarthy expanded on this and detailed every aspect of the marketing mix. Since then, this is widely used by marketers throughout the world. Initially, marketing mix was detailed to consist of four P. The four Ps were Product, Place, Price, and Promotion. The individual attributes of each subelement are as below:

  • Product refers to the tangible or intangible element which satisfies and fulfills the customer needs. For example, a car is a product which satisfies the transportation need. The product element can consist of variables such as quality, variety, design, features, packaging, complimentary services and brand name.
  • Place simply refers to distribution tactics. It’s the activity that makes the product available to the customer. Convenience is expected from a customer point of view. The variables of place are channels, coverage, transportation, logistics, and locations.
  • Price is the amount customer is willing to pay to acquire the product in order to satisfy his/her need. Price will include variables such as discounts, credit terms, payment modes, list price, etc.
  • Promotion is the function of communicating the product’s features and benefits to the customer. Personal selling, sales promotion, advertising, direct marketing and public relations are tools utilized in creating awareness and persuading the customer to purchase.

Later on, the four Ps were extended to 7 Ps, especially to cover the intangible service aspect. The extra three elements were physical evidence, people, and process. In 1990’s Lauterborn emphasized that four Ps were more towards seller aspirations and does not reflect customer aspirations. So, he developed 4 Cs which were Customer wants, Cost, Convenience, and Communication. Therefore, the term, marketing mix has seen critical evaluation continuously, it has been developed and refined.

Difference Between Marketing Mix and Product Mix

What is Product Mix?

Product mix is the total number of product lines a company offers to their customers. Product mix can be termed as product assortment as well. An organization can have single or multiple product lines. If multiple products are on offer, it may be a related or unrelated product mix. For example, if a manufacturer offers stationery products and school bags, it is related as both are used for the same purpose. If the company sells stationary products and detergents, it is unrelated.

Product mix contains four dimensions which are as below:

  • Width: The number of product lines that an organization sells.
  • Length: The number of total products in an organization’s product mix. (For example if 5 products in two brands exist, the product length is 10).
  • Depth: The total number of variations for each product. The variations can be size, flavor, or any other distinguishing characteristics. (For example if the product is sold in three different weight packages and in two flavors, the particular product has a depth value of six.)
  • Consistency: The degree of similarity between product lines in terms of their end use, production requirements, price, supply channels, advertising media, etc.

Product mix is a subcategory of the marketing mix as it’s directly related to the variable of the product.

Key Difference - Marketing Mix vs Product Mix

What is the difference between Marketing Mix and Product Mix?

Definition of Marketing Mix and Product Mix:

Marketing Mix: The set of planned mix of controllable, tactical marketing tools that an organization utilizes to achieve the desired results from its target audience

Product Mix: It is the total number of product lines a company offers to their customers.

Characteristics of Marketing Mix and Product Mix:

 Broadness:

Marketing Mix: Marketing Mix is a broader term which includes the complete array of marketing tactics (product, place, price & promotion).

Product Mix: Product mix only refers to few elements of the product variable from the whole marketing mix.

Strategic Importance:

Marketing Mix: Marketing mix is given much more importance than of product mix.

Product Mix: Product mix has substantially low importance and exposure for an organization compared with marketing mix.

Combination:

Marketing Mix: The ability to combine the variables (product, place, price & promotion) in required levels to achieve the strategic objectives rests with marketing mix.

Product Mix: Product mix can only play with the product lines of an organization. So, it lacks the combining ability.

Overall, product mix is part of the marketing mix. The combination of correct marketing mix will address a proper product mix suitable for the organization.

 
Image Courtesy:
“7ps-marketing-ps” by Henripontes – Own work. (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons 
“Axe Products”. (Pubblico dominio)  Wikimedia Commons