The whole concept of marketing is based on putting the right product in the right place at the right price using the right promotion.
These are the elements … the four Ps of today’s marketing mix.
Sounds simple but there is a lot of thought and hard work that needs to be put into each element. Get one of them wrong and it will be a constant uphill struggle.
The key to getting things right is to ask the right questions.
While most business people are familiar with the marketing mix concept, it is important to keep reviewing and updating your strategies.
Here’s a few basic questions related to each of the elements that can help put things into perspective or get you back on track when things seem to be going awry.
What need does your product satisfy? How will your customers experience or use it? How is it different from other similar products put out by your competition? How will you brand it? Can you produce it efficiently so that you can make a profit?
Where can your customers purchase your product? Will you need a storefront location? Will they be able to access it through a specialty store, general retail environment or wholesaler?
Will you be selling through consumer or trade shows? What other distribution channels can you use? Will trade or consumer shows work for you? Can you sell online through your website?
What does your competition do and how can you differentiate your availability? Are there specific times throughout the year that are key to your sales success?
Are your products or services price-sensitive? Do they fluctuate with the marketplace? Do you have to contend with established price points? Can you make discounts to gain better market share? How does your price compare with the competition?
How will you communicate with your target audience? Will you focus on public relations, advertising or direct selling? What media are your potential customers likely to use to gather information — print, radio, Internet, TV or some other specialty product?
How will you time your promotional efforts? How and when do your competitors launch their promotional activity?
The 4Ps, as previously mentioned, form the basis for your marketing mix. What is also critical to your success will be your ability to integrate all of the things you do so that your entire business becomes a seamless process from beginning to end.
And while the 4Ps are important, there are other Ps that you need to consider today when looking at your overall marketing plans.
How are you perceived as a business? What kind of a personality do you convey? Is your performance up to par? How are you positioned in relation to your competitors?
One final P, which is related to people … are you and your people providing the product or service that meets or exceeds your customer’s needs with satisfaction?
Seems like a lot of questions but when you get right down to it that is the only way you can build a successful business … by asking lots of questions and most importantly getting the right answers.
Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org”email@example.com.