Marketing is a huge subject, so it is useful to have a simple overview of what marketing really is. Most of us probably know some marketing activities like: using social media, printing leaflets and getting yourself out there in the world to tell people about what you do. However, marketing is a little more complex than that. In simple terms, marketing can be defined as:
‘…the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.’ (Chartered Institute of Management)
Or, in slightly easier language, delivering the right product or service to the customer at the right price, in the right place, at the right time.
In order to do this successfully, there are a number of key issues that need to be considered in what is called ‘The Marketing Mix’. These were traditionally known as ‘The Four Ps, but now it is widely accepted that there are ‘7Ps’.
These are outlined below:
The Marketing Mix
This is the product (or service) that you hope customers will buy. It makes sense to research the market before developing a product, as you could end up creating something that no one wants.
A product is only worth what customers are prepared to pay for it. You need to show that your product has value. In fact, smaller companies can often get away with charging more than bigger companies because they can personalise their offering and give it additional value. Price is also a way of positioning yourself in the market place against your competitors.
This is where your customers will buy your product – whether in a shop, office or online and is about how you display what you are selling. Delivery is also part of ‘place’ as the customer will consider delivery performance when deciding whether or not to buy.
This is the area that most people think of in relation to marketing. This is all about communicating what you do and how it can benefit customers. Elements within Promotion include: branding, advertising, PR, corporate identity, sales, special offers and exhibitions.
Customers often confuse the person with the product, so it is vital that you have an organisation focussed on customer satisfaction and that you only employ customer facing staff with the right attitude who get on well with people. As your company grows, you need to ensure that everyone understands the culture.
In order to effectively provide the product or service to the customer, you will need to have processes and procedures in place. This will ensure you can deliver promptly, efficiently and as promised. You will also need to ensure you communicate with them properly and attend to simple things like answering the phone promptly. Customers don’t actually care what your processes are – they just want whatever it was you promised them!
It can be an uncertain process for a customer to choose to try your product or service for the first time. This uncertainty can be reduced by helping customers to see what they are buying through the use of testimonials and case studies.
Each of these 7 elements must exist in a successful Marketing Mix. For example, you cannot develop a product without considering its price or how you will deliver it to the customer.