Sometimes, choosing the marketing mix can be extremely overwhelming. This post will help you get a better idea of what goes into basic business planning strategy by using the 4 P’s of Marketing along with insight from my own experiences in writing business plans. Written by Juliet Rocco
Lessons Learned: As a very young child, my mom would let me express my inner Vincent van Gogh by letting me paint mini masterpieces in our kitchen. Newspapers covered the table and floor, paint was separated into little cups, and I had about six different brushes to choose from.
My mom would say, “Now, Juliet, this time you’re going to keep all the colors nice and not mix them together too much. Make something nice for daddy when he gets home. I don’t want to see a brown mess!” I would look up at her, grin, and nod my head. Fifteen minutes later, there would be paint everywhere and the clean white sheet of paper now looked like a Hershey’s chocolate bar melted all over it! Oops!
Although mixing all the colors seemed like the best way to create a rainbow, it didn’t work out exactly how I had planned. Later in life, I would comprehend the basic rules of mixing and go on to win awards at art shows (I’m not kidding).
“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”
I think businesses fail at reaching their target market when they either try to do everything or simply sit back and expect results from one distribution channel. In the marketing mix, decisions are based on the 4 P’s of marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion (go ahead and try saying that 10 times fast!).
Product: In product decisions it’s important to know what tangibles you’re offering. This also includes services. The styling, quality, packaging, warranties, and functionality all go into product-making decisions. Make friends with your fellow engineers!
Price: Having a pricing strategy is crucial. I had to take a managerial accounting course last winter which covered all indirect and direct costs for the production of products and services. Knowing what these costs are along with expected ROI are key contributors in deciding what kinds of pricing discounts, promotions, bundling, and strategies are attainable.
Place: When choosing a distribution channel (place), you must decide if the market coverage for the product will be inclusive, selective, or exclusive. Where will you be storing/selling the products?
Promotion: Now for promotion, my favorite part! Are you going to use a push or pull strategy? What will sell your product best? A sales force in person, online salespeople, etc.? For luxury and high-end products, it’s highly encouraged to have a strong sales team with good interpersonal and selling skills. Through public relations and communications, you’re going to get your name out there and although these services are often cut off first financially, you simply must invest in the time and money to put together a powerful promotional strategy! Quality is better than quantity. What good is your product or service if no one knows about it?
Be sure to check out this helpful blog post which features the 4 P’s of marketing in greater detail.
My Experience: Over the summer I took an internet marketing course. For the group project we had to create an entire internet marketing campaign and strategy for a local Rochester business. It was a challenge in a way because the business was already doing so well, but I could see that they needed something more. They were a single location that really relied on word-of-mouth. The customers were their evangelists. Their website was outdated, but they updated their Facebook and Twitter multiple times a day and had a solid fan base (currently over 10,000 now!).
One of our suggestions was to launch a native mobile app that would feature the business’ updates. Our target market was moms on the go as well as college students, both of whom are very attached to their smartphone devices. Needless to say, I think if we were to implement this plan in real life, it would bring even more business to them. Although, they might need to think about opening up multiple locations!
Takeaway: Remember, if you mix everything together without thinking it through carefully, you’re going to make a mess! Don’t get overwhelmed by the decision making (that’s why you hire people such as myself). If you take the proper steps in figuring out the dynamics (demographics and psychographics) of your target market, you will have greater chances of success. Check out http://mashable.com/ in the small business section for even more tips!