Little understood by small businesses, mainly avoided if possible (that’s selling isn’t it? Ugh! I can’t sell..), but badly needed if you want to stay in business, and easier than you think!
Let’s start with your customers. There’s nothing like asking existing or potential customers what they want, then giving it to them. It’s a lot more certain than assuming you know better than your customers, who will tell you differently (and expensively). Customers want to be asked – they want to be involved, cared about, and listened to.
So a short introduction to some basic marketing ideas, starting with the 4 P’s. You may know all this, in which case, it’s short refresher, or maybe you can show it your colleagues, who may not know it. Everyone in a small business is involved in some way or other in marketing, so they all need to buy in to this.
What are the 4 P’s? A series of tools to help you achieve the marketing mix you want and achieve your objectives. It ALL starts with the market – customers. No customers = no business, so all your planning should start here.
Each P is a separate blog. The 4 P’s deal with products – for services you need another 3 P’s. Later! Although it should be apparent you need them all, as to some extent you are providing a service with the product.
Here’s the first P
Who is the product aimed at?
What benefits will the customer expect?
How do you plan to position the product within the market?
What advantage will the product offer over its competitors?
Remember – marketing is about providing changing benefits to the changing needs of the customer – not just providing products or services.
Your decision about your product will include:
Design – will the design be the selling point, like the iPad?
Quality – this has to be consistent with other parts of the marketing mix. A premium price needs to have a premium product. But a cheap product needs a quality and cost that fits with the price.
Features – what will you add to increase the benefit to your market? Will you use a different pricing policy to match these additional features?
Branding – the value of a brand is huge, as they have the power of instant sales, and they convey a message of confidence and reliability.