Traditionally, a Marketing Mix consists of The 4 P’s
The 4 P’s are a simple reminder about some key ingredients that need to be “mixed” together intelligently and creatively into a successful marketing plan – to launch a business, or an individual service or product.
I have added another “P” into the mix: “Publics.” In public relations, “target markets” are often referred to as publics. As in, “What public(s) do you want to reach with your public relations campaign?”
So now we have the FIVE P’s of Marketing: Publics, Product, Price, Promotion and Placement. Let’s take a closer look…
Product and Publics
Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company was once asked by a reporter what he would do if he went broke. He replied, “I would look around, find a need and fill it. And in five years I would be a millionaire again.”
That “need” would likely have been something specific that was needed or wanted by a certain public or target market. A good target market is one that can be clearly defined by some commonly shared demographics such as (age, location, gender, ethnicity, household income, employment status, language, industry, business size, etc.), and/or by its psychographics (values, attitudes, lifestyles, opinions, interests, etc.).
A product or service to be successfully marketed has to be something that’s either already wanted or needed by a definable public (an existing demand), or is something that a definable public could be brought to want or need (a created demand).
It’s been reported that Bill Gate’s mother once asked him, “Who would want a computer in their home?” And at the time, that really wasn’t a silly question. There wasn’t a strong demand for home computers when Bill was starting out. That demand had to be fostered and nursed along by software developers and manufacturers until various publics could see the benefits of having a desktop computer in their homes and businesses.
A Product or service should be tailored to meet either an existing demand, or a demand that good research shows could be created in a definable public.
Sometimes serendipity plays a part. When the founder of Craigslist started out he had nothing more in mind than keeping people up to date concerning arts and technology events in San Francisco. The site is driven by user feedback. Users had other needs and wants (unfulfilled demand) that were revealed, and the rest is history. And look at the humble beginnings of Facebook. It had a very narrow focus when it started out before other opportunities (areas of demand) rose to the surface. Obviously there were other factors involved, too, but talk about finding or creating a demand and fulfilling it!
How you price your products or services can greatly affect your success. You need to decide if you want to position your prices on the high, middle or lower levels of the pricing spectrum for your kind of goods or services. And naturally, your prices must cover all your costs and allow for a decent profit.
Are you going to enter the market at the higher end and skim off the cream first? Then lower prices later to get more penetration into the market? Or are you more intent on penetrating deeper into that market right away with lower prices and then raising them later? (CAUTION: Raising prices is usually riskier than lowering them.) Are you going to offer any kind of time-limited, special discounts?
How will you promote your products or services to your target markets in a way that will make them well known and viewed favorably? Promotion in this case covers all the various ways and means you could promote them, both online and offline, including publicity. In your marketing mix, you need to determine which are the most cost-effective methods of reaching your target market with your message.
Think of this as your Delivery Channel. What are the various ways and means by which your potential customers can link up with what you have to offer?
- By clicking on links or call-to-action buttons on the internet which direct them to your online shopping cart?
- By patronizing certain brick and mortar stores?
- By dropping into your clinic? Your showroom?
- Do they redeem coupons from newspaper ads or inserts?
- Can they call a toll-free number and place an order?
- Can they text or email for more information if needed?
- Do they have to be a member of a certain club or community?
Obviously, entire volumes could be written on this subject, and many have been.
But at least by using the Five P’s to think with, it will get the creative juices flowing, help you conduct some pretty good market research, brainstorm, and begin crafting an effective marketing plan or program.
Written by Bob Nelson
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