Page 2: The marketing mix
The marketing mix (the four Ps) is a means of assessing how an organisation can balance the four key elements of Product, Price, Place and Promotion in order to meet customers’ needs and achieve its sales objectives. Even with the best product in the world, if a business promotes it to the wrong audience, overprices it or distributes it in a way that is inconvenient for consumers, then the business will not generate sales.
For the National Trust, the relationship between product, price, place and promotion is highly integrated:
The Trust’s ‘product’ is a mix of the tangible, such as events or craft goods in shops, and the intangible – the experience people enjoy from National Trust places.
Visitors and customers can choose to add value to their membership over the year through a wide range of other activities. This might include, for example, the opportunity to have a camping or cottage holiday on Trust land or learn new skills with Trust experts – anything from bird-watching to archaeological digs.
As a non-profit making organisation, the price of National Trust membership fees, entrance to sites and sales through its shops and website need essentially to cover costs rather than make profit.
As the National Trust has to maintain its special places for ever, it incurs significant costs of repair or upkeep. Membership and visitor fees cover only a third of the Trust’s costs. Its fundraising and commercial activities are vital to fill the gap. Keeping membership numbers high is therefore essential. Lower than expected income could result in the Trust not being able to fulfil its mission.
Membership fees need to remain competitive to demonstrate good value for money in order to attract visitors and keep members. The National Trust therefore has to budget carefully to ensure that expected income from predicted memberships will cover its costs.
'Place' reflects the means for distributing a product or the channels through which it reaches customers. For the National Trust, like many other organisations and businesses, this is increasingly through the internet. For example, Trust memberships can be bought online or at visitor locations for individuals or to be given as gifts for others.
The National Trust website also has an online shop from which anyone can buy gifts as wide-ranging as farm produce, cards and craft items or even ‘virtual’ gifts such as helping to restore a painting or save a squirrel.
Promotion covers all the tools and techniques by which an organisation markets its products and services. For example, this might include traditional methods such as advertising in papers, as well as the use of social media (like Facebook and Twitter), websites and online networks.
Top image ©National Trust Images/John Millar
Lower image ©National Trust Images/James Dobson