Positioning your business to come out the other side stronger.
One of the earliest business models I personally learned about (in the late 80's) was the Marketing Mix 5 Ps. Originally known as the 4Ps developed by Edmond Jerome McCarthy, a professor in Marketing at the University of Notre Dam, and proposed in his book Basic Marketing in 1960.
The 5Ps are five key business attributes to promote your wares and influence on how your business brand is perceived and yes, within your control. With some research, planning and action through effort, if you position your business correctly in the market, this will result in how successful your product, service, brand reputation and company becomes too.
The 5Ps are;
Product – Price – Placement (Place) - Promotion - People
As a business owner and leader, you need to focus on, invest and develop these functional areas, certainly if you wish to differentiate from the competition and continue to stay ahead.
However, in a post pandemic world and as we look forward to the remainder of 2021 and towards 2022, I wonder;
1. Are the 5Ps model still relevant today? (The model has been adapted to the 7Ps with Process and Physical Evidence added)
And if the 5Ps are still relevant,
2. Which of the 5Ps as a business, do you fall short on, need to focus on and potentially improve to make a positive difference?
For instance, I've recently been carrying out a market audit and some competitive market research for a client by looking into the different market sectors they operate in. Learning who their competitors are and how they go to market. The interesting thing, many of their competitors look to have spent some significant money on their branding, websites and social media presentation in the past few years. But many of the websites lack or have the ability to get across, what specifically it is they do, concisely and well, and there seems to be minimal recent online activity or updates, possibly this is due to the impact of Covid-19 on their business sector. However even those businesses who have shared new posts and recent updates, there seems to be no clear plan and their promotion is kind of random and reactive at best!
That's got me thinking, from a 5Ps perspective, has "Promotion", online in particular had its day as the #1 route to market or is it necessary, as business owners, for us now to refocus our efforts post pandemic on what will likely be a new normal?
Some recent online statistics;
- There's over 370 million worldwide registered domain names.
- Approx 2 billion websites, however less than 400 million active, i.e. many are static or dated sites.
- There's 4.2 billion different web pages
- Over 500 million new blogs from 19 million bloggers each day.
- Oh and I "Google'd" these stats and to add there's 5.6 billion Google searches each day!
So, there's a lot of noise out there online and as a small or medium sized business, it's expensive investing in the resource and capabilities to keep your brand on top Promotion wise, what with continual activity to keep your feeds ranked highly by search engines and adapting to the ever-changing algorithms.
Therefore, as business owners where are we with promotion? Have we just lost the direction, focus or even got tired of all the constant effort business promotion takes. Alternatively if you outsource these services, how do we ensure we are getting a decent Return On our Investment (ROI) to obtain that high level of promotion we aspire too and our business products and services deserve.
I'm not going to answer these questions in this blog, but feel free to get in touch with your experience and thoughts on future business Promotion. In a recent blog I shared some thoughts on how to get "bang for your buck" when it comes to marketing.
Taking the other 4 Ps one at a time;
Products. If you sell tangible goods, do you fully understand how your customers use these products? Do you obtain feedback or survey customers regularly? How's it packaged, how's it stored when not in use? What's the longevity of your product? Single use or lifetime? Have you compared your product to the competition and even reverse engineered your main competitors products?
Unless you gather this information and have a clear Product Strategy, you'll be left to one of the other 4 Ps to differentiate in your market and ultimately not be known for your product being market leading.
This takes us to Price, is your product or service, priced as budget or high end? Who, whom, what, where is your target market? If you can't share the added value with your potential clients through your marketing and PR and why your product or service is different, to the end user, you'll end up competing on Price. Understanding your target market and how value is attained can be key. If you price too low, perception can be it's cheap, low quality, and you can just become a busy fool. And if you price too high, you may not be able to sell enough volume to make the business viable.
Take time to understand the different external influencing factors causing peak demands and falls and how seasonal trends impact and upset pricing strategies. So, market price drivers are one area you will need to keep close too and check on often. Look into what your competitors are selling for, how they package, bundle and price lead and promote their offerings. What can you learn? How can you adapt your pricing strategy so you don't lose out on sales or miss extra margin opportunities when there's higher demand?
Traditionally Place/Placement differentiation from a marketing strategy was often where your product is displayed or service available, i.e. bricks and mortar location and being where your target footfall is. Think of the sandwich and coffee shops in and around busy railway stations, shopping centers, business industrial estates etc.
Whilst it may be important to be in the right place, at the right time, and for the right quantity or service, place today can be associated with online click and collect too, such as, ease of access and ensuring a smooth and seamless customer journey into acquiring, owning and using your product or service. So, place includes the distribution supply chain, right up to the customers door. Often when I'm working with client's, I'll ask them to walk me through the customer process from inquiry to sale and then through order to delivery and invoice. All the customer touch points can be associated with place and it's a worthwhile exercise for you and your team to go through. Pretend to be a client and learn and adapt from your customers experience.
The final P is People a 5th P added to the original model. This is about you, your staff, or any subcontractors within the supply chain whom have a customer point of contact, and how they impact the buying process.
Customers will assess and remember how your people respond, react and support them, your clients, to buy and experience the products or services you sell. Ultimately the businesses reputation is only as good as its weakest link. I believe if you get the people element right, maintaining high customer service levels, delivering on SLA's and building long term relationships with your clients by learning and adapting to customer feedback, this will result in repeat business and referrals. Your business will then sustain a good level of trading and should be around for years to come.
But like everything in life, nothing stands still and to get the People piece right you'll have to make the time and invest in your employees and their personal development. Focus on the process, develop their individual skills and knowledge and improve the teams' collective capabilities. Communicate clearly and regularly and instill empowerment and decision making to ensure the customer can get their questions and queries answered easily and quickly on the front line. i.e at the point of sale or delivery
In summary, I haven't gone into any real depth in sharing the value of focusing on the 5 Ps. As for each business, and each market it can be very different and an in depth process. My purpose was just to share some high-level thoughts on what may be changing market dynamics wise and how that impacts your business promotion planning today and in the future.
If you're not sure or haven't had the time to focus on how to differentiate and how to position your business going forward, I am willing to meet, discuss and go through a diagnostic process, ask a few questions and do a high-level market audit on your business. Whilst an initial consultation, I don't charge for this and would follow up with some thoughts and suggestions, "Take Away's", and also share how I can potentially support you and your business achieve your goals and potential in the future.
Interested or should you require any further information please do contact me on;
Mobile; 07966 686112