Let’s face it, marketing can be a tricky skill to navigate for many SMBs. There are just so many different platforms, mediums, materials etc. that business leaders can use to send out their messages. Sometimes it makes the prospect of marketing a major headache. Yet we know you know just how important marketing is – it is what gets your company’s name out there, it is what attracts new customers and keeps the old ones engaged.
When the marketing world gets too stressful or you feel overwhelmed sometimes the best thing you can do is go back to basics. What is the foundation of your content? What are the driving principles behind any good promotional campaign? Whittling your efforts to fit within this bite-sized framework can make the marketing process a lot less daunting. Plus, once you’ve nailed the basics you can start slowly easing into the more complicated aspects of the trade.
Any marketer that talks about the basics is most likely referring to the four Ps. These four principles make up the fundamentals of any good marketing effort, whether you are consciously thinking about them or not. So, what exactly are the four Ps and how do they fit into your overall strategy? Let’s take a look:
The first of the four Ps represents the physical product or solution your business provides. Whether you are a car wash offering detailing services or a pizza shop providing your audience with hot slices of ‘za – the solution you present to your audience is your product.
The most important takeaway here is to have a firm understanding of what your unique value proposition is – what is special about your product? According to Business 2 Community contributor Dr. Angela Hausman, if your product doesn’t solve a real problem and do it uniquely then your product will not survive. When you meet the right consumer needs and correctly communicate these services, the majority of your marketing is done for you.
When you break it down to basics, all businesses are a call and response: customer’s need X and you provide it. If you can’t nail down what your product is and why it is of value, then chances are you need to head back to the drawing board.
Once you’ve solidified your product and it’s unique qualifiers it’s time to move onto pricing. Pricing will have a hand in a lot of future decisions from marketing tactics to profit margins, explained Purely Branded. There are plenty of external and internal factors that can dictate what your pricing model should look like.
However, Hausman explained that the bottom line with pricing comes down to a simple equation: Benefit/Cost = Value. While huge discrepancies in pricing will likely turn customers away, generally speaking consumers are willing to pay for the value they get from your services. Sure, you can’t charge $100 for a sandwich but the difference between $15 and $20 comes down to what unique value YOUR sandwich has to offer.
The same concept goes for services. What problems does your solution solve? The key to adding value here isn’t necessarily fresh-baked bread but rather the efficiency with which you respond to a consumer need.
In its simplest terms place refers to the locational positioning of a product. This can be as literal as where your store is located on a street or as complex as tracking the omni-channel path to purchase that is typical of the modern consumer.
This plays a fundamental role in marketing because positioning provides a pathway to conversions. If you are on a main street you are more visible and therefore more potentially profitable than if your shop was located in a back alley.
With the digital boom place has taken on a more complex meaning. A key principle of marketing it getting your product at the right price in the right place at the right time, explained Purely Branded. As such, placement of your brand message must exist on the right channels at the right peak times for traffic. From social media to email messaging, placement online has a lot do with impeccable timing and the right channel.
Promotion is synonymous with marketing for most people. It is the advertising element of the four Ps. However, this step can only occur when the first three Ps are locked into place. Without the product, price and place there is no promotion, there is no successful launch and there is no exemplary marketing, asserted Hausman.
As with most things in life, it is necessary to lay the relevant groundwork for your marketing goals. All four Ps are crucial to the execution of effective and relevant marketing. The promotional step includes all platforms – online and offline. All content must be backed by the supporting principles to see optimal ROI.