The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines marketing as “the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.” And the American Marketing Association defines marketing as “the process involved with creating, communicating and delivering values to customers in a way that benefits the organisation.” Both of which manage to make marketing sound far more complicated than it needs to be! To put it simply, it is all about understanding the customer’s needs and delivering a profitable product or service – something that requires very careful planning.
Once you’ve learned the basics, marketing will no longer be a subject you fear. So, where shall we start? Let’s introduce the 4 P’s – you will probably know this as the marketing mix. These have been added to and expanded, but I think the 4 P’s are a good starting point to begin with. I call it the marketing ‘recipe’. So, before you begin marketing, use this mix to ask yourself these questions:
Is it a tangible good or an intangible service that you are marketing, for example the Apple Iphone or Tony and Guy hairdressers? Where does the product sit within the product life cycle and what are the challenges faced at this stage? For example, is the product quite new and growing or is it quite old and declining? Once identified, think to yourself, how can I solve these problems? What is your unique selling point? I believe that this is the key to success; is it a specific feature and is there really a gap in the market for it?
What amount are you planning to charge your end-user? What amount are your competitors charging? You need to think carefully, what is the perceived value to your customers? Are you opting for a high quality product or a more affordable product with, perhaps, lower quality? So, the key thing here to ask yourself is, does the price you are charging reflect the value of your product? Once your answer is ‘yes’ and only ‘yes’, your product will generate sales. Not forgetting, what are your other costs involved – will your product or service generate a profit?
What is your communication strategy going to be? This question may scare you, but think about possible advertisements, promotions, special offers or public relations that could be used. Is the channel suitable for your product, price and customers? Once you’ve selected one or multiple communication methods, ask yourself: does it convey the right message?
How will the product be provided to the customer? It might help if we think about it in a simpler way: where can your product be purchased? Thinking carefully about your product and your customers, what channel is most suitable? Is it the internet, a retailer, a distributor or a wholesaler? All it comes down to is getting your product in the right place at the right time.