Updated April 13, 2016.
Today, marketing must go beyond simply promoting a company and its products or services. To keep your marketing mix fresh and brilliant, start with the traditional 4 Ps of Marketing (Product, Price, Placement, Promotion).
From the smallest small business to the biggest of big business, the right marketing mix is fundamental to reaching business goals. Take a few minutes to answer the questions below and read on to find out how you can add the missing piece for successful marketing.
Define what your company brings to the marketplace – what's your product or service? What makes you stand out from the competition? Why should someone do business with you? Think about a success story based on the work you’ve done with a customer. Look to use these stories to get at the heart of what makes you unique from everyone else.
How is your product or service priced? While pricing can take into account the cost of production, scarcity, demand, and competition in the marketplace, remember that price does not equal value. Take time to understand how pricing reflects the value of what you offer beyond the product or service, and consider the customer experience. This is one point where small business marketing can take a lesson from big business.
Consider this: Starbucks sells coffee–a commodity product people can get for a fraction of the cost elsewhere–yet customers pay high-end prices because they value the personalization and environment they find at Starbucks. Major airlines sell first-class tickets at 10x the cost of economy seats on the very same plane going to exactly the same destination–yet some travelers value the first-class experience enough to pay the hefty price.
Where do you showcase your products or services? If they are in a bricks-and-mortar store, find out where they are being displayed to customers. Be sure your brand is “hanging out” where your audience can find it.
Beyond a physical presence, consider your online placement too. Is your business easily found by people searching for what you offer? Are you on the right social media sites to connect with your audience?
This is where brand identity comes into play with marketing. A distinct and recognizable visual identity draws attention and lets people know they are in the right place to find your product or service.
What reaches out and pulls your audience in to your brand? Before deciding on the tactic or the outlet for your promotion, start with a clear message. What is your brand story? What does your business say to engage prospective customers and retain current customers? While there are many options to consider for where, when and how to promote your product–press releases, paid ads, social media, sales calls, events, networking, sponsorship, and others–having a clear message and compelling story is your key to creating more consistent, memorable, and successful promotions. Then you can begin to decide what promotional efforts will deliver the greatest value.
One more P: People
No matter how much effort goes into addressing the first four Ps above, marketing won't get you far without adding People to the mix. Who is your audience? Get specific in defining your ideal customer–who are they, what do they do, what do they like, where do they hang out, when do they buy, what motivates them? How can marketing help you build a relationship with them? Successful marketing connects with your audience on an emotional level. Why is this important? Emotions lead to impact. Impact leads to interest. Interest brings customers to your door.
Now that you have a better understanding who you are marketing to, go back and review the answers to the first four Ps and see what needs fine-tuning. Finally, don't forget to consider the role your own people play in marketing. Do you have the right employees? Do they understand the customer and how to create positive brand experiences?
Your marketing mix in action
The rules of marketing have changed. Consumers have more control than ever over what information, advertising, promotion they give their attention to, and where they go to find what they want. Streaming video services mean we don't have to sit through three minutes of commercials to watch our favorite shows and there's no need to flip through a newspaper or magazine to find something that an app will put at your fingertips in no time at all, without distractions.
Now more than ever before, marketing must be more than a well-crafted sales pitch and a local ad. Great marketing is the result of having an honest, in-depth understanding of your company’s brand, and developing a strategy and plan to guide all marketing efforts.
Make sure you take a more strategic approach when it comes to your business's marketing. We're here to help you every step of the way, from creating a brand identity, strategy and plan, to crafting the right tactics to help your business stand out in the crowd. It's what we do every day, so you can focus on doing what you do! Find out how we can help you – contact us to start the conversation.
Read more about what makes a brand. Hint, it's not a logo.