- - What the 7 P's of marketing actually are
- - How they can benefit you
- - Whether or not they are useful to modern day small businesses
If you receive any marketing support from your local business authorities, the chances are that the 7 P's will be one of the first things that they bring up. Here's a quick run-down of what they actually are. We'll then take a closer look at what they mean for your business.
The Seven P's Of Marketing, Defined
At first blush, it looks like quite an archaic arrangement of terms and that they might not be relevant to modern startups and small businesses.
Let's start by having a closer look at what the 7 P's actually mean:
Clearly, the first thing you should look at is whether or not you have a marketable product, or whether you can come up with one in the first place. While you may think that you have the best products or services available on the market, this might not actually be the case.
The best marketing in the world is worth nothing if the product behind it isn't needed.
Here are a few things to ask yourself when critiquing your product or product idea:
- It is still relevant? (Think about how useless CD's are now in light of digital formats)
- Is it the best (or close to the best) in your market?
- If not, can you improve on it? What would make it stand out against your competition
- Are you offering a cohesive range of products and/or services to your target market, or do you need to re-evaluate this area also?
The next thing we'll look at here is your chosen price point. As much as a bad product can ruin a great marketing campaign, an un-realistic price point can make doubly sure that no-one buys it.
However, this isn't to say that extremely low or extremely high price points are a bad idea per se - there are plenty of consumers in both markets. Pricing has a place in the overall positioning of your product or service (discussed below) and it's generally a good idea to focus on what seems like a fair price point to your particular target market.
For more information on how to price your services, please see this post.
This step is the most relevant to all of the other content that you'll find throughout this blog. It's an extremely tough part to get right, although I think that a large part of this problem is due to wrong (marketing) channel selection.
For example, spending a huge amount of money and effort on a series of adverts in a general magazine may sound good at the time, although the same budget spent on Google Adwords may be a wiser choice (clearly this would depend on your business, product and industry however).
In any case, the key is to make sure that you are selective, creative and careful when it comes to working out how you will promote your product. Also, it's really important to understand that not everything will work 100% of the time - here are a few reasons for this:
- Seasonal variations in purchase behaviour
- Competitors that find new and better ways of doing things
- Consumers who prefer to research buy in a different way, making your previous marketing obsolete
The last point above is really worth paying attention to. Consumer behaviour has changed dramatically over the past few years - what worked 3 years ago for your marketing may not work now. That's why it's crucially important to adopt an 'Agile Marketing Strategy' - we'll look at this in more detail below.
This part of the collection refers to where your customers will actually come into contact with information that will help them purchase your products or services. It doesn't actually have to be an actual 'place', as you will see below.
Here are a few traditional 'places' to consider:
- Selling in shops/retail
- Going direct to customers locations
- Customers visiting sales offices/premises
- Mail order/catalogues
And, here are a few more modern options:
- Websites/live chat
- Social media networks
As you can see, consumers can come into contact with a business in many different ways nowadays. The key here is to think along the following lines when deciding what 'places' you will engage with your market on:
- What 'places' will deliver the best ROI?
- Which are going to be the best for your customers to use?
- Do you really need to be contactable on every platform?
- Are there any platforms that are crucial for your industry? Would it look strange if you weren't available on these?
It's definitely not a good idea to try and be everywhere at once if you simply don't have the time, manpower and resource to properly execute them. It's much better to be highly effective on just a few platforms so that you deliver an excellent, reliable experience to your prospective customers.
Obviously, when you think of packaging, you instantly think of wrappers, boxes and such like that contain products. That is certainly accurate, although this term actually relates to everything that your prospect/customer will see and associate with your business.
Here are a few examples of what you should think about here:
- Physical product packaging, as mentioned above
- Digital product packaging - artwork, design etc
- Office design
- Company uniforms
- Website design
- Other marketing material design
As you can see, the term packaging refers to anything that your potential customer can 'see' about your business. This will go a long way in helping you to build trust and confidence, if it's done correctly.
Positioning refers to how your product or service is perceived by your target market. For example, as I mentioned above, pricing can have a strong effect on this. If you are priced too low (in comparison to your competitors) you might be perceived as being low quality or a bit of a risk. Conversely, if you are too expensive, you could be perceived as being a 'rip off' or greedy. However, price is only one aspect of this.
When thinking about how to position your offerings, it's a good idea to brainstorm a bit along the following lines:
- What one word would I like my customers to think of when they think of my business? Cheap? Good value? Aspirational?
- Should my product/service be at the higher end of the market?
- Do I want to appeal to only one segment of the market? If so, at which end do I want to position myself?
- What do I want my customers to feel when they buy from me?
When you figure out exactly how you want to position your product or service, you should endeavour to make sure that it's conveyed throughout your marketing campaigns and into the entire customer experience itself.
For example, if you want people to think of your business as great value and responsible, then you should make sure that these values are iterated throughout your marketing and that the customer gets the exact same experience as they make their way through the buying process.
I've written a post about how emotion is important when it comes to purchases - you might find that useful at this point. You can read that here.
The final part of the sequence refers to People. These are the individuals and groups that will be carrying out your marketing strategy and dealing with your prospective customers.
At the early stages of your business, this is most likely going to be you (if you are a small business owner). As your business expands, you will want to think in detail about how you can ensure that your target market is met by the best people possible.
Here are a few things to think about here:
- Who is the best person for each part of your marketing process?
- Are some people better working on systems, while others are better in dealing with people?
- Which people 'get' your business and customers most?
- If outsourcing any of your marketing process, how are you going to make sure that the contractors act with your best interests at all times?
- Get rid of bad apples quickly - especially when you are a new business
- Reward your best workers properly - they'll likely continue to perform well and consistently
You might find this post useful, which is about how to find good marketing freelancers.
How Does The Above Benefit You?
How Does The Above Benefit You?
Quite simply, if you pay attention to the steps above it means that you are taking care of the most important steps in marketing your products or services. They force you to consider the most fundamental aspects of marketing and promotion, which can only be a good thing.
Sure, they might not have the most exciting ring to them, but the seven P's of marketing are principles that have stood the test of time and help steer your business in the right direction. They help to to consider aspects of your marketing/products etc that you might not have thought of otherwise.
They also help you to plan, and we all know this is a great idea from another series of words beginning with 'P':
'Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance'That, in essence, is how you'll benefit from working with the seven P's.
In Sum - Are The 7 P's Of Marketing Still Relevant To Modern Marketing Campaigns?
I'd say the answer is a definite 'yes'. Sure, there are always new marketing concepts being developed, although I'd bet that they'd all fit in the above template somewhere.
I think that the trick with marketing is to make sure that you don't get bogged down with every new trend that comes along. If you can use the above as a template, you'll be well on your way to delivering a successful marketing campaign.
Just be sure to:
- Get the basics covered
- Regularly revise your plan to make sure it's working
- Make sure that any new additions to your plan are going to enhance at least one of the areas above
Finally, I mentioned the term 'Agile Marketing' above. This is an extremely powerful process that will help your marketing plan adapt to quickly-shifting marketplaces. You can learn more about that here.
Thanks for reading,
By Alan MacDougall
Got a nagging marketing question? Ask me here.
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Revenue Builder is a small business marketing strategy advice blog, written to help small business owners and startups maximise sales revenue.