What is Marketing?
According to The Oxford Dictionary it is:
“The action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.”
For professional marketers, this whilst accurate, is somewhat simplistic. In practice a company’s marketing function has responsibility for a wide range of functions, sometimes summarised as the 4 Ps.
Marketing – The 4 Ps
Product—At the core of a successful business is having the right product and/or delivering good service, it might sound obvious, but taking the time to review and adjust your offering to meet your customers real needs is essential.
Price—Only luxury brands seem to be able to charge what they want! For most businesses, price competitiveness is essential. When comparing prices it is essential to make sure you’re really comparing “like for like”. Customers can be very good at selective quoting, if you include for example; delivery, installation and training, make sure that the cheaper competitive quote does likewise!
Promotion—We are now spoilt for choice when it comes to promoting or advertising, the downside is of course, it is more complex and harder to choose what to do. Many companies that respond with a YES at the opening question, are active here, placing adverts, the question is are the right tools being used.
Place—sometimes this is also referred to as Distribution, relating to what sales channels you use, for example selling on-line or through dealers or with your own sales-force. Place also covers where you target your products and activities, if you sell lawnmowers, there is little point in targeting people living in high rise flats.
All of the Four Ps matter, if you are deficient in any one, your business will not reach its’s full potential.
Although you know your industry and you are pretty confident in knowing your customers’ needs, carrying out a survey or similar to gain feedback on how well you are doing can provide valuable feedback on how good your Product really is. Fashions and needs change, so you need to continuously adjust, the days of Henry Ford’s “any colour as long as it’s black” are over, in today’s world you have to be flexible.
Your customers are likely to keep you informed on Price. Also do your own research, look at what your competitors are doing and charging, make sure your pricing model is in line with your industry, consider quoting itemised and packaged solutions.
Unless you employ a marketing professional, getting the best “bang for your bucks” is not easy, there are so many choices and variants, it is essential to use the right ones to reach the right audience. All too often a particular tool is used, “Just because it worked in the past,” be open minded and use a reputable company.
How and where you sell a product is also changing. If your competitors offer on-line shopping, then it’s probably something you need to consider. The Place P is a complex one and changing it can involve unpleasant decisions. Aim to be proactive rather than reactionary, be the leader, put your competitors under pressure rather than the reverse!