The 4Ps of marketing – Product, Price, Promotion, and Place – were classified by E. Jerome McCarthy, a marketing professor from Michigan State University, in 1960. But are the 4Ps still relevant and useful for small business owners?
What should your marketing focus on?
Today, customers are rarely looking for just a product – they’re looking beyond the product itself, and to solutions. It’s no longer “If you build it, they will come.” Solutions deliver, products and services don’t.
Small businesses should focus on creating solutions or products and services that bring value to their customers and not only on features or functionalities. This value – the value proposition – forces companies to move beyond the basics and express the solution that customers really want.
Price is still a major factor in a purchase, although it’s not the only one that makes a successful sale. As information becomes more and more accessible and transparent, there’s greater demand for value for money. Customers are often willing to pay a premium price for better service or faster delivery, because they consider it a value-added benefit that justifies the higher cost. Be careful of overpricing relative to the benefits of your product or service.
Promoting a product has moved on from blasting potential customers with ads and bulletins. These days, it’s all about engaging and resonating with people. Promotion also expands well beyond the traditional marketing channels. Google introduced the term Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) that shows consumers research and engage with your company before they make a decision to purchase. This means you should be there at the micro-moments when the consumers need them the most.
However today’s customers are more media-savvy and ad-weary than ever before. This means that small companies must not only focus on the primary promotional methods, but also add digital marketing techniques and build relationships with customers and potential customers. You can do this by creating engaging content or campaigns on social media platforms, or even build an online community through forums.
This category used to look at the locations and channels that were most appropriate for a potential customer to make a purchase. But now, every business competes in two worlds: a physical world (marketplace) and a digital world of information (e-commerce). We’re all connected and online, no matter where we are. Customers want ease of purchasing regardless of whether they are in a physical store or shopping online. Also, the introduction of e-commerce opens up sales opportunities worldwide, providing companies with more places to sell their products. The marketing landscape has changed dramatically thanks to e-commerce. Today’s small businesses must keep the digital space in mind when considering their marketing strategy.
Check out our GoForth Expert Rob Campbell’s advice on how to create a strong marketing plan.