You’re a Genius but now You Need to Learn How to be Great
People who start companies tend to be geniuses in their area of expertise. This special genius comprises of curiousity, focused expert knowledge and tenacity. The foundation of the ‘entrepreneur’s genius’ is their specialized knowledge usually gained either by studying at a university, through training courses or by teaching themselves how to be the best. This is true for all the founder’s out there from culinary arts to computer science.
Beause entrepreneurs are busy crafting their special talent, most don’t study marketing. That’s okay because you’re all busy prefecting your genius. What is not okay is when a lack of marketing knowledge costs an entrepreneur his or her business. For example, a common error I see too much is when a company askes me to help them with press but it quickly becomes clear they haven’t laid down any proper marketing foundation — they are unsure of the target market or perhaps haven’t set their pricing strategy yet. Press is part of promotion and promotional activities are an element of the marketing mix, but press coverage is the last thing any company should do — not the first.
We’ve seen too many businesses struggle or fail because the founders weren’t clear who their customers were or which marketing channels were the best to reach them. Let’s fix this. This is how the full marketing mix will help your business grow.
Customers vs Consumers:
Before we examine popular marketing frameworks, let’s remind ourselves of the difference between customers and consumers. Customers are the people who buy a product from you. Consumers are the people who use that product. Customers therefore many not be the person that consumes your product. For example, in a Business to Business (B2B) transaction a corporate professional buyer may handle the transaction for other employees to then use your product.
Similarly, in a Business to Customer (B2C) environment a parent may buy a toy for their child to play with. The parent is the customer and the child is the consumer. However, many times the customer is also the consumer. Another example, every time you go to the coffee shop to get your morning cup, you are both a customer and a consumer.
Origins of the Mix:
Prior to the 1960s there was no standard agreement on the components that made-up marketing. In 1960 Dr Edmund Jerome McCarthy proposed a framework that made sense to both professionals and academics. McCarthy defined the ‘marketing mix’ as having four Ps: product, price, place and promotion. His textbook Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach published in 1960 and has had several editions published over the decades since it released becoming one of the most popular books used to teach marketing.
However, some marketing practitioners believed that by the late 1970s, the 4P framework by McCarthy was very good for the making and marketing of physical products but that it wasn’t sufficient for service products and service products were becoming increasingly popular. So in 1981 Booms and Bitner suggested a 7P framework that added additional Ps: People, Process and Physical Evidence.
Helicopter view of the 7Ps of Marketing:
What does all this mean in practical terms? Let’s look at a brief definition for each of the 7Ps of marketing.
Product: this item should fit the task customers want or need it for and should be what customers are expecting to get. It should also work properly.
Place: this is where your target customer shops. It could be online, from a store or through mail order catalogues.
Price: your products and services should always represent good value for money regardless of the actual sticker price.
Promotion: uses tools to put across a company’s message to the customer in a way that the customer would most like to get that information. These tools include PR, advertising, websites, social media and personal selling.
People: all the individuals in your team that in some way interact with a customer.
Process: this is how a service is delivered to a customer and is important because the service is part of what the customer is paying for. Examples include selling haircuts, subscription computer software, tax and legal advice and restaurants.
Physical Evidence: many services include some physical elements even if most of what the customer pays for is intangible. For example, an insurance company gives their customer some sort of printed policy document to explain coverage. Even if this printed policy document arrives as a PDF, the customer is still getting a ‘physical product’.
Many entrepreneurs want to start with promotional activies but its hard to have impact when you haven’t sorted out the other mix elements. Promotional activities should not be the first thing you do. It’s critical to have a clear idea of your product, the market you want to target and how much you’ll charge for it first.
There is a lot to consider when putting your marketing plans together but stronger marketing plans that will achieve growth goals weave all these elements together. Deploying the full marketing mix helps you attract customers, get them to buy and keep them coming back to you for more. With the cash from sales rolling-in, your business can grow. You can fund more R&D, hire more people, open more offices, offer more products or services and repay business loans or investors.
If you’ve sorted out your marketing mix and you’re looking to get press you can read more on how to get coverage for your company in my article “7 Tips for Getting Startup Press from an Ex-Journalist”.
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Cambridge MBA | Marketing Consultant | Speaker | Writer | Ghostwriter