Despite popular belief, Marketing is about much, much more than just how you promote to the people you want to buy from you. Marketing pervades just about every area of your business in one way or another.
Those areas are known “in the trade” as The 7Ps of Marketing.
And whilst I’m a big proponent of the “it’s not rocket science” approach to marketing, even the most straightforward and common-sense marketing is rooted in fundamental principles.
Let’s start with those 7Ps of Marketing. They are:
- Physical Evidence
The average small business owner doesn’t have time to do a qualification in Marketing alongside running their own business, but knowing some of the basics, and applying this knowledge to planning your marketing, is definitely beneficial.
Let’s look at these 7Ps and what they might mean to you in your business.
At the very simplest level, getting clients to look at how closely their business goals, and identified target market, are aligned with these 7Ps can be really powerful. When misalignments show up, it can make it really obvious why there are problems with getting leads, or converting those leads, or making the profits that they set out to make when they set up the business.
Having a look at how your own business is performing against the 7Ps is a really great exercise. Think about your ideal target market customer and really think about each area with that buyer in mind.
How do you make your decisions about price? Are you undercharging or overcharging? Different end users will have different ideas about what represents value for money. Do you look at things from their perspective or are you curtailed by your own perceptions? For example, if you’re selling to wealthy people, don’t shout constantly about discounts.
How do people find your products or services so they can buy them? Are you selling things in the places they frequent? Are there more places that could stock your products? Are you easy to find? Do you sell on line as well as in person? Is it easy to find information about how to buy from you? Is it easy to buy from you?
Whether it’s a product or a service, is it exactly what your target market wants? Is there a chance that you have designed something that you want to sell and then assumed who your target market is? If you’ve been going for a while, it’s worth going through your customer base and working out which are the best – whether that means the most profitable, the easiest to deal with, or other reasons. When you know what makes a customer great, you can focus your efforts on selling to more people like them.
Promotion is the sexy bit that people normally think of when they think of marketing. It’s the advertising, the branding, the message etc. Again, it all needs to align. Are you really telling people what they want to know, are you getting the message out in ways that will appeal to them, are you getting the message out in places where they’ll even see it? Think hard about your target market and what will appeal to them. It might be something completely different from what will appeal to you.
If you’ve got a team, does everyone in your team know who your target market is, what problem your product or service is solving, or what need it’s fulfilling, and how you want your customers treated? Having people in your team who are not on board with what you’re trying to achieve can have devastating effects on your business.
Processes can be a business’ best friend. Just look at McDonalds. There is no job that someone has to do within a McDonalds franchise that doesn’t have a process written up for it. It makes it easier for staff to do things in the right way, but it makes it a better experience for customers too. They know what to expect, no-one forget the little extra details that make all the difference, and it can significantly cut the amount of time it takes to do things, which can make a huge difference to your profits.
The thing that the customer ends up with is so important – be it a car or a report, they want to see that they’ve got what they expected, at a minimum. It has to be right. If someone’s expecting a no frills product for a no frills price, that’s fine. Think Ryan Air. Conversely, if price isn’t the only thing that someone’s basing their purchase decision on, adding in an bit of added value (that doesn’t cost so much it takes your profit margin away) is a great way of exceeding expectations and increasing the likelihood they’ll come back and buy from you again.
If you’re finding it difficult to align everything, take another step back. Look at the end goal you have for your target customer – do you want them to buy from you again and again? Do you want them to tell all their friends to come and buy from you? Do you want them to come in for one thing and go away with something much more expensive?
Whatever you want them to do, think about how each of the 7Ps will lead them to take that action. If the way you’re doing it currently isn’t working, then what parts of each P could do with a tweak? Alternatively, do you need to rethink your target market? Could you just be trying to sell to the wrong crowd?
Zoe Russell, ZHR Marketing
Zoe is a member of the Woman Who Achieves Academy
Join us on Monday 7th June at 9.30am for the Woman Who Inspires Online Network where we’ll be chatting about all things Marketing with guest speakers Abbi Head and Dawn Owen and a women in business panel chatting about the Woman Who Achieves Awards.