Bringing Business In

 Dear M & M:

I think I have a great product and give good service but it doesn’t seem to be enough. Help!

– Bob

Dear Bob:

In 1960, E. Jerome McCarthy proposed a four Ps classification segmenting four key areas which has since been used by marketers throughout the world. One should look at using the best combinations of these four P’s (Product, Price, Place and Promotion) to develop a plan. Looking at each piece of this marketing plan individually one will see how each of the four P’s work together. They call using the four P’s the marketing mix. The first P to look at is product. Is there a demand and how do you differentiate from the crowd? Understanding your unique selling position is essential.

The best marketing plan is to have something people want to buy so you’re not spending time and money constantly cramming it down their throats. Remember, service before, during and after the sale is everyone’s goal no matter what you are selling. Pricing is the second area to look at. What will the market bear, what is your break-even point and what is the perceived value? What is your pricing strategy; (High, low, cost plus, psychological pricing, or something else)? Mix it up. Pricing isn’t forever. Expenses, production, shipping, and storage costs, seasonal demands, maintenance, returns, exchanges, and competitive pricing are just some of the things that will affect your pricing.

The bottom line is you must offer a price people are willing to pay and still be able to make a profit. The third P is promotion. Your name, your logo, your tagline, your packaging, your printed material, your marketing message, your web site, your image all come into play. Trends in marketing are continually changing. Today it seems it is more about entertaining an audience with something that will catch their attention and they will be pulled to you. Innovation, creativity, and going viral go a long way in turning consumers into customers. There are many tools used in promoting ones product. Direct mail, television, radio, magazines, newspapers, internet, merchandising, billboards, and word of mouth are just some of the tools used to communicate your marketing messages to a desired audience.

Each tool has distinct characteristics that work differently depending on your message and audience. A video would be hard to do in a magazine; a coupon that can be cut out and redeemed so you can track effectiveness might be a great idea for a newspaper. Remember is your audience reading that paper or listening to that radio station. The last P is place. How is your customer going to get your product? Are you selling online, storefront, consignment, wholesaling, or maybe through a mobile vehicle traveling where your customer might be?  Everyone has heard the term location, location, location. Everyone has heard you’ll pay every day for a bad location. Every business is unique.

It is all about reaching your customers. There is a trade off in expensive locations vs. hard to find cheaper space. Remember it is all part of a marketing mix. Can I sell from that location and still offer a price people are willing to pay? Am I a destination driven location (meaning they will seek me out, my location does not matter)? All four parts of the marketing mix (Price, Product, Place and Promotion) need to be considered. It isn’t easy. They also have 3 other P’s some people include (Packaging, People, Positioning). One can see how all four are complementary. You need to be promoting the right products at the right price at the right place to be successful. Source: Karen Couto, “Your Place in the Marketplace”, Newground Publications, 04/12/04.

– M&M 

To ask your questions: Call the Small Business Development Center(SBDC) at Cochise College (520)-515-5478 or email schmittm@cochise.edu or contact the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation (EDF) at 520-458-6948 or email  hollism@svedf.org .

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