Marketing is essential to any business. It tells the world who you are and helps to define your purpose.
Purposeful and targeted marketing will help you focus on actions that reach the right customers and achieve your business goals – saving you time and money.
Define your marketing strategy
An effective marketing strategy will help you to define the overall direction and goals for your marketing. Your strategy will articulate how you're going to deliver your products or services in ways that will satisfy your customers.
The first step is to define your customer or target market.
Next, you need to come up with ways to carry out your strategy and reach your target market.
Reach your market with the marketing mix
The following 7 tactics are often referred to as the 7 Ps of marketing:
- product (or service)
- physical environment
You can use any number of these to achieve your marketing strategy. The combination you choose make up your 'marketing mix'.
Consult your marketing plan to work out which will work best for your strategy.
What are the 7 Ps of marketing?
1. Product or service
This tactic is about your product or service and how you can use it to your advantage. Think about:
- the branding, packaging and ongoing product or development
- the features and benefits you offer
- your unique selling points – what makes your product or service different from others?
- what potential spin-off products or services might be
2. Pricing of your product or service
Price is a critical part of your marketing mix.
Choosing the right price for your products or services will help maximise profits and build strong relationships with your customers. By pricing effectively, you'll also avoid the serious financial consequences that can occur if you price incorrectly:
- too low – not enough profit
- too high – not enough sales
3. Place or position in the marketplace
'Place' is the channels and locations where you distribute your product, related information and support services – basically, where a product can be purchased. Your distribution channels might include:
- a physical place such as a retail store
- an online shop like a website or eBay
- social media
The right location can be a deciding factor in whether a customer buys from you.
Market research can help you find out where your ideal customer is buying from.
4. Promotion of your product or service
Promotion is how you promote and market your business. Regardless of how good your business is, if you don't promote it and tell people you exist, it's unlikely you will make many sales.
Promotion is about attracting the right people to use and reuse your business.
There are several promotion techniques that you can combine and use in different ways to create the most cost-effective strategy for your needs. For example:
- public relations
5. People in your business
The people you employ in your business can influence the marketing of your products and services. For example, knowledgeable and friendly staff can help to create satisfied customers and can provide the unique selling experience that an organisation seeks.
If an outstanding team gives a competitive advantage, then quality recruitment and training will be essential to you achieving your marketing objectives. Make sure you have processes in place and training systems to get the most out of your team.
6. Process (the buying experience)
Process is the buying experience the customer gets when they buy your product or service. This can include things like:
- the way someone presents and serves a fine bottle of wine in a restaurant
- how a business reacts to a complaint
- the speed of delivery in a fast food outlet
A poor process can undermine the other elements of the marketing mix. For example, budget airlines might offer competitive headline prices, but customers might feel they've been taken advantage of if the final price is inflated by extra charges and fees.
Try to document your key processes and procedures so your staff and suppliers know what to aim for. You can record these details in documents that are accessible to all staff, such as:
7. Physical environment
The physical environment where your products or services are sold and delivered can have a significant impact on how your customers experience your business. The physical environment can be the:
- quality of the furnishings in your consulting rooms
- design of your reception area
- appearance and function of your website
Creating a positive physical environment doesn't have to be costly – a vase full of fresh flowers or a creative window display can make a big difference.