Marketing mix for small businesses and home businesses
The 4Ps marketing mix concept (also known as the 4ps of marketing) was introduced by Jerome McCarthy in his book: “Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach”. It refers to the thoughtfully designed blend of strategies and practices a company uses to drive business and successful product promotion. Initially 4, these elements were product, price, place and promotion, which were later expanded by including people, packaging and process. These are now considered to be the “7 Ps” mix elements. This article has published on the Mailchimp blog.
What are the 7 Ps of Marketing?
It can be difficult for a small business owner or marketing manager to know how to establish a unique selling proposition or to reach the right customers, especially on new platforms like the internet, with digital marketing.
Fortunately, the 7 Ps of marketing give you a framework to use in your marketing planning and essential strategy to effectively promote to your target market.
You can also take into consideration elements of the mix in your day to day marketing decision making process with the goal to attract the right audience to successfully market to through your marketing campaigns.
The 7 elements of the marketing mix include the following:
1. Product (or Service)
Your customer only cares about one thing: what your product or service can do for them. Because of this, prioritize making your product the best it can be and optimize your product lines accordingly. This approach is called “product-led marketing.” In a marketing mix, product considerations involve every aspect of what you’re trying to sell. This includes:
- Market positioning
There are five components to successful product-led marketing that are important for product marketers to take into consideration::
- Get out of the way. Let your product or service sell itself. Focus your marketing efforts on getting consumers to try what you have to offer so they can learn its value for themselves.
- Be an expert (on your customers). Know your customer’s needs and use that knowledge to help communicate your product’s value.
- Always be helping. Position yourself as an ally by creating informative content that meets your target customers’ needs, and they’ll be more likely to buy from you. (This is also called content marketing.)
- Share authentic stories. Encourage happy customers to share their experiences and tell others why they appreciate your brand.
- Grow a product mindset. Focus on your product before you consider how to sell it. Invest in development, and the product quality will take care of the rest.
Many factors go into a pricing model. Brands may:
- Price a product higher than competitors to create the impression of a higher-quality offering.
- Price a product similar to competitors, then draw attention to features or benefits other brands lack.
- Price a product lower than competitors to break into a crowded market or attract value-conscious consumers.
- Plan to raise the price after the brand is established or lower it to highlight the value of an updated model.
- Set the base price higher to make bundling or promotions more appealing.
Consider what you’re trying to achieve with your pricing strategy and how the price will work with the rest of your marketing strategy. Some questions to ask yourself when selling products:
- Will you be offering higher-end versions at an additional cost?
- Do you need to cover costs right away, or can you set a lower price and consider it an investment in growth?
- Will you offer sales promotions?
- How low can you go without people questioning your quality?
- How high can you go before customers think you’re overpriced?
- Are you perceived as a value brand or a premium brand?
Promotion is the part of the marketing mix that the public notices most. It includes television and print advertising, content marketing, coupons or scheduled discounts, social media strategies, email marketing, display ads, digital strategies, marketing communication, search engine marketing, public relations and more.
All these promotional channels tie the whole marketing mix together into an omnichannel strategy that creates a unified experience for the customer base. For example:
- A customer sees an in-store promotion and uses their phone to check prices and read reviews.
- They view the brand’s website, which focuses on a unique feature of the product.
- The brand has solicited reviews addressing that feature. Those reviews appear on high-ranking review sites.
- The customer buys the product and you’ve sent a thank you email using marketing automation.
Here are the ways you can use these channels together:
- Make sure you know all the channels available and make the most of them reach your target audience.
- Embrace the move toward personalized marketing.
- Segment your promotional efforts based on your customers’ behavior.
- Test responses to different promotions and adjust your marketing spend accordingly.
- Remember that promotion isn’t a one-way street. Customers expect you to pay attention to their interests and offer them solutions when they need them.
Where will you sell your product? The same market research that informed your product and price decisions will inform your placement as well, which goes beyond physical locations. Here are some considerations when it comes to place:
- Where will people be looking for your product?
- Will they need to hold it in their hands?
- Will you get more sales by marketing directly to customers from your own e-commerce website, or will buyers be looking for you on third-party marketplaces?
- Do you want to converse directly with your customers as they purchase, or do you want a third party to solve customer service issues?
People refer to anyone who comes in contact with your customer, even indirectly, so make sure you’re recruiting the best talent at all levels—not just in customer service and sales force.
Here’s what you can do to ensure your people are making the right impact on your customers:
- Develop your marketers’ skills so they can carry out your marketing mix strategy
- Think about company culture and brand personality.
- Hire professionals to design and develop your products or services.
- Focus on customer relationship management, or CRM, which creates genuine connections and inspires loyalty on a personal level.
A company’s packaging catches the attention of new buyers in a crowded marketplace and reinforces value to returning customers. Here are some ways to make your packaging work harder for you:
- Design for differentiation. A good design helps people recognize your brand at a glance, and can also highlight particular features of your product. For example, if you’re a shampoo company, you can use different colors on the packaging to labeling different hair types.
- Provide valuable information. Your packaging is the perfect place for product education or brand reinforcement. Include clear instructions or an unexpected element to surprise and delight your customers.
- Add more value. Exceed expectations for your customers and give them well-designed, branded extras they can use, like a free toothbrush from their dentist, a free estimate from a roofer, or a freestyling guide from their hairdresser.
Prioritize processes that overlap with the customer experience. The more specific and seamless your processes are, the more smoothly your staff can carry them out. If your staff isn’t focused on navigating procedures, they have more attention available for customers—translating directly to personal and exceptional customer experiences.
Some processes to consider:
- Are the logistics in your main distribution channel cost-efficient?
- How are your scheduling and delivery logistics?
- Will your third-party retailers run out of product at critical times?
- Do you have enough staff to cover busy times?
- Do items ship reliably from your website?
If you get more than one customer complaint about any process, pinpoint what’s going wrong and figure out how to fix it.
Develop your marketing mix and integrate it into your marketing essentials. As you develop your marketing mix, consider how each element affects the rest to create a unified brand experience for your consumers, from the user experience to the perceived value of your product. Think about how a product’s price changes its promotion strategy, how specifications will contribute to pricing, and how your people carry out processes. Ensure that your people and the tools they use can communicate with each other, and use the right tools to reach the right people.