Successful marketing depends upon addressing a number of key issues. These include: what a company is going to produce; how much it is going to charge; how it is going to deliver its products or services to the customer; and how it is going to tell its customers about its products and services. Traditionally, these considerations were known as the 4Ps — Product, Price, Place and Promotion. As marketing became a more sophisticated discipline, a fifth ‘P’ was added — People. And recently, two further ‘P’s were added, mainly for service industries — Process and Physical evidence. These considerations are now known as the 7Ps of marketing, sometimes referred to as the marketing mix.
There is no point in developing a product or service that no one wants to buy, yet many businesses decide what to offer first, and then hope to find a market for it afterwards. In contrast, the successful company will find out what customers need or want and then develop the right product — with the right level of quality to meet those needs now and in the future. •The perfect product must provide value for the customer. This value is in the eye of the beholder — we must give our customers what they want, not what we think they want •A product does not have to be tangible — an insurance policy can be a product •Ask yourself whether you have a system in place to regularly check what your customers think of your product, your supporting services, etc, what their needs are now and whether they see them changing •Beware going too far with product quality. Don’t try to sell a Rolls- Royce when the customer really wants a Nissan Micra.
A product is only worth what customers are prepared to pay for it. The price also needs to be competitive, but this does not necessarily mean the cheapest; the small business may be able to compete with larger rivals by adding extra services or details that will offer customers better value for money. Your pricing must also provide a profit. It is the only element of the marketing mix that generates revenue — everything else represents a cost.
•Thinking of price as ‘cost’ to the customer helps to underscore why it is so important •Price positions you in the marketplace — the more you charge, the more value or quality your customers will expect for their money •Existing customers are generally less sensitive about price than new customers — a good reason for looking after them well •If you decide in favour of a higher priced added-value approach, remember that price ‘positions’ you in the marketplace. This means it gives an indication to potential and existing customers of where to place you in relation to your competitors. Expectations will generally be higher; customers will assume a higher quality product or service. Everything about your dealings with customers must live up to the expectations of this positioning. Anything that can be seen by the customer must be consistent with these higher quality expectations — packaging, environment, promotional materials, letterheads, invoices, etc.
The place where customers buy a product, and the means of distributing your product to that place, must be appropriate and convenient for the customer. The product must be available in the right place, at the right time and in the right quantity, while keeping storage, inventory and distribution costs to an acceptable level. •Customer surveys have shown that delivery performance is one of the most important criteria when choosing a supplier •Place also means ways of displaying your product to customer groups. This could be in a shop window, but it could also be via the internet
Promotion is the way a company communicates what it does and what it can offer customers. It includes activities such as branding, advertising, PR, corporate identity, sales management, special offers and exhibitions. Promotion must gain attention, be...