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Marketing Academy.

The essence of operational marketing: Kotler and the Bass model

Exploit the marketing mix

After building a brand, brand assets and a long-term strategy, every company must dedicate itself to operational marketing. That is, concrete actions on the channels (online, offline, press, events, PR...) aimed at bringing the results outlined in the marketing plan. Such as increasing sales, site visits, developing brand popularity and awareness, and so on.

The operational marketing phase is certainly the most important step for a company that has set up a specific marketing plan, given that it represents the direct consequence of what was decided with the analysis and strategic analysis. And it will lead society to use many resources, both economic and human.

Properly managing operational marketing is no walk in the park.

One of the most solid and scientifically proven paths for 70 years now is the use of the Marketing Mix, that is, the set of actions that the company carries out to combine the main controllable variablesof marketing, in order to achieve the objectives set during the strategic phase.

It is important to focus on the adjective “controllable”. The market is largely a black box for every company. It can't be managed. But we can certainly control our reaction to it and the outputs we provide to it.

The Marketing Mix was initially summarized by Edmund J. McCarthy in the manual “Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach” in 1960 Subsequently, the university professor Philip Kotler recovered the key concepts of the manual to concentrate the "levers" of the Marketing Mix in four "Ps" . The proven effectiveness of the application of this method in the years to come resulted in the operational marketing phase being associated with the "Kotler 4Ps".

Prof. Kotler
Prof. Kotler

The 4 “p” and Bass

These Ps represent, in fact, the cornerstones of the marketing mix, and are:


The variable that concerns the process linked to the conception, production and development of the products or services that the company produces, choosing what to produce based on the market in which it operates. It is of fundamental importance to constantly check that the product or service offered has characteristics capable of satisfying the consumer's needs.

It seems obvious, but we often forget to provide the market with what the market wants or believe false narratives such as we invented the market. No, it's not like that.

Price (price)

It represents the value that the company assigns to the proposed product/service. It can represent the fortune of a company but also its downfall. In fact, the price is directly linked to the set of attributes that a consumer associates with what we offer to satisfy his needs, shaping the perception that the proposed product/service has in his perceptive sphere. A price that is too low may make people think that what we are offering is of low quality, with the consequence of having a loss of potential sales; just as a price that is too high can discourage those who evaluate the products/services offered in a more "economical" way.

Bass' model

The price is so important that it also enters into a choice much further upstream than operational marketing, that is, the strategy of aggression on the market. A company can in fact opt for two opposite methods:

  • Penetration, that is, starting with a low price and, over time, increasing it. The costs are gradually reduced, but the benefit is a large number of potential customers.

  • skimming, that is, starting by skimming customers with a very high price, so as to intercept only the most motivated, with the highest rate of innovation, and in the meantime recover costs with greater margins.< /p>

Both of these paths find their rationality in the Bass market adoption model. The mathematical details are complicated, but let's just remember that it is a curve that distinguishes potential customers into “innovators” and “imitators“, and allows a certain degree of sales forecast using the "p" and "q" indices, referring respectively to the effectiveness of the product on these two targets.

The demand for a new product usually follows a pattern that is always similar during its life cycle: we have an initial early growth, then we reach maturity and, finally, decline. The Bass model is a probabilistic model, that is, it does not predict the adoption of a product by all potential customers, but only by a part of them. It can be applied to the following fields:

  • spread of a new product on the market

  • marketing campaigns

  • launch of new services

  • adoption of new technologies

  • dissemination of new ideas

The concept is always the same: humans will behave in a partially predictable way, and deciding whether to appeal to imitators first rather than innovators starts from the barriers to entry. And the price is one of the most powerful.

Bass's model
Bass's model

Place (distribution)

It concerns the actions that form the channels and logistical processes aimed at placing the product/service with the consumer. In this case it is useful to observe and compare the methodologies used by the competition to adapt them to the structure of one's own reality and make them more effective than the competition itself.

Often the market has already discovered which sales channels are the best. Better to study them, in order to always raise the bar. Again, experience teaches that all too often entrepreneurs and consultants want to "rediscover" the wheel, forgetting that in mature markets the distribution channels are already tested and weaned. It is often suicidal to deny the facts.

Promotion (promotion)

The set of actions that the company carries out to make itself known and propose the goods/services offered. The ideal is to identify the right communication strategies to best present what is offered to the potential customer, in order to increase sales and brand awareness. The promotion in turn contains 4 sub-levers of the marketing mix:

  • sales organization

  • public relations (PR)

  • advertising (ADV)

  • sales promotions.

In summary

The "4Ps" constitute the backbone of traditional marketing oriented towards the creation, distribution, promotion and sale of a product that is first of all qualitatively valid and as best as possible of the competition, with the ultimate goal of increasing the company's revenues.


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