Marketing refers to the process of convincing customers that the products and services you offer meet their needs and are compelling enough to purchase. Putting your business in position to attract the most customers requires understanding the four P’s of the standard marketing mix to determine what your customers want, how you can provide it, how to let them know about it and where to make it available for purchase.
Marketing focuses on product, price, place and promotion when dealing with the consumer market. Generally referred to as the “Four P’s,” these form the framework of most marketing plans. Before delving too far into that, one of the core principles of marketing is to know to whom you’re marketing. Determine who’s likely to be interested in buying what you have to sell and get as detailed a picture of your audience as possible. The more you can segment your audience into distinct markets, the greater the chances your marketing will reach them. Once the product’s target audience has been determined, the marketing mix is used to compose a strategy that’s best equipped to reach each segment.
Price and product go hand in hand. When you decide on the products you want to sell, you go beyond a simple decision of what to sell, but also how to package it and which attributes will resonate the most among your target audience. You also have to determine what price the customers are willing to pay. These decisions determine how you will market your products. If you sell high-end boxes of hand-made truffles, for example, they will carry a higher price point than a box of mass-produced candy at the local grocery store. As a result, both will have to be marketed differently, each taking an approach likely to resonate among the target audience.
The final two P's are promotion and place. Promotion refers to the way a company disseminates information about its product. This can come through multiple channels, from traditional advertising outlets such as radio, print and television, to online advertising, social media promotion and sales events. Other forms of promotion include press releases and word-of-mouth marketing. Place refers to where your customers will be able to buy your products, based on your distribution channels. A marketing strategy designed to draw people to a single retail store, for example, will be different than one looking to draw people to your website.
Marketing objectives should tie back to the goals of the business. For goals to have the most utility, they need to be specific, measurable, realistic, time-bound and agreed to by all stakeholders. Having a framework is particularly important if your business hopes to tie marketing back to specific sales objectives, but patience often is a virtue. When marketing objectives deal with measures such as brand recognition and audience reach, a strategy may take time to reveal success. If a marketing campaign doesn’t hit its early benchmarks, dig deeper before abandoning an approach too early, and see if a few tweaks can save the larger effort.