Argeus the Paladin
Developing a Marketing Mix for a Forum Story.
Article by Argeus the Paladin
For the Legends and Lore Scientific Journal, 10/10/2008
1) What is a marketing mix?
A Marketing Mix is a metaphor born in the 60s of the last century. It is considered the combination of various marketing variables of a product, consisting of the four Ps: Product, Price, Placing, and Promotion. In general, it could be considered “The product’s marketing environment and everything in it”. It is, so far, the keystone for most marketing theoretical researches till this day. Today, the marketing mix has been extended into seven Ps: Product, Price, People, Process, Placing, Promotion, and Physical Evidence.
Why is developing a marketing mix important for a product? It is not only important, but it is also crucial and unique for each product. Without an appropriate marketing place, a dealer would immediately find his product being put on sale to the people who does not need it, at too high or too low a price, at an inconvenient store, and with the public barely knowing anything, or worse, misunderstanding the brand. In any situation, companies worldwide had realized that investing a million on sales promotion could boos sales by some couple of hundred percent, as well as eliminating threats from outside sources and tempting consumers to buy even more.
2) Does a forum-submitted story need its own marketing mix?
The question could be answered based on which aspect the story is considered. To answer this question correctly, we need to answer these questions.
a) Is a forum-submitted story a product?
Kotler (2006) stated that “A product is anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption that might satisfy a want or need. It includes physical objects, services, persons, places, organizations and ideas.”
Considering Kotler’s definition of a product, there are two main properties of a product: A product is one offered to a market, one that could be used, and once used, might satisfy a want or need of the consumer. Note that the definition said nothing about the actual selling price of a product. That is, something may be given for free and is still a product that needs a proper marketing strategy.
Consider the case of a forum-submitted story. First, the story is offered to a number of forumers who takes the time and interest to read the story. Perfectly well, these people acts as the buyer of the product the story writer is about to sell. Because of that, the forum is a market, with the buyers being the ordinary forumers, and the seller being the author of the said story.
Secondly, could the story be “used”? When “use” is in the context of “consumption”, so that the product would be depreciated as used, the story is not “usable”. However, in the marketing context, “use” indicates any kind of interaction between the person and the object, in which a change in the consumer’s physical or mental state or attitude or belief is achieved. In this way, it is understandable that the story can be “consumed”.
Kotler specifically stated that a product may satisfy the consumer, in that, in the best case scenario, and also the producer and consumer’s expectation, the product should be sufficient to satisfy the specific need in question of the consumer. In the best case scenario with a story, both the writer and the reader would want it to be good enough to be entertaining, to satisfy the need for entertainment. This holds true to all stories written thus far, including forum-submitted ones.
From the three above points, it is sufficient to conclude that, a forum-submitted stories, though often not for sale or profit and is not depreciated from use, is actually a product, just like Sakata rice crackers, Kellogg breakfast cereal, Colgate toothpaste, or Sony or Toshiba television.
b) Does this product require a marketing mix?
A marketing mix for a much anticipated product of a large company is undoubtedly subject to an extremely complicated process of market researching and marketing strategy formation. However, it is a misconception that just large corporations would invest their time and money to draw up elaborate plan to market their product to a selective segment of the public or set out detailed plans for product promotion. In fact, any seller in any market, conscious of that or not, is constantly and consistently carrying out their own version of a marketing plan.
A peddler who set up a stall up the Golden Gate Bridge could expect to sell nothing at all. Similarly, a street performer of children’s music would rather stay far away from the city’s office blocks, knowing that he would never get even a cent there. This seemingly obvious “common sense” is, surprisingly, part of the establishment of a good marketing strategy.
As for the average forumer, more likely than not, assuming that the said former has a relatively acceptable level of knowledge of the aforementioned forum, would put his story where the admins and moderators say he could. The reason is the forumer would know that, even if the story isn’t deleted by a moderator, no one would bother reading his story. Also, most forumers have the tendency to offer a “Beta-reading” as a primitive form of product promotion to those they are closest to. That is just part of a marketing mix that is done unconsciously, assuming a homo economicus behavior.
Therefore, the question is no longer, “Is a proper marketing mix necessary?” but rather, “How should the current marketing mix be further implemented for maximum output and efficiency?”
< Message edited by Argeus the Paladin -- 10/9/2008 20:00:34 >