The ability to market products and services determines the success or failure of any business. The growth of any small business depends on the profits or revenues generated from sales.
Today’s business environment is a highly competitive one, and to survive in it you need an appropriate sales and marketing strategy. An effective sales strategy will be two-pronged: overcoming the intense competition and increasing sales of products and services.
Managing revenue involves using analytics to predict consumer behavior as well as to sell the right product or service at the right price, at the right time, and through the right channels.
Marketing has been around for millennia, ever since people have had something to sell or to trade. Marketing theory, however, emerged in the early twentieth century; 1948, to be exact, when a Harvard University professor, James Culliton, described marketers in an article as “mixers of ingredients.”
What is a Marketing Mix?
The four Ps of Marketing is also known as a marketing mix. A foundational model for business, the marketing mix has historically been centered around product, price, place, and promotion. It is essentially a set of tactics that a company uses to market or promote its product or brand in the marketplace.
All elements in a marketing mix affect and influence each other, and together they make up a company’s business plan. The current marketing mix, or the four Ps, was first published in 1960 and has become one of the most enduring and widely accepted frameworks for marketing management decisions.
The Four Ps:
The four Ps effectively sums up the four pillars of the business cycle, and include:
Each of the four Ps builds upon and interact with each other and are governed by both internal and external factors within the business itself, and our ever-changing marketplace. Their primary purpose is to help us consider potential roadblocks to widespread product use and ongoing success.
A company’s ability or lack thereof to understand and implement the four Ps can make the difference between thriving and failing as a business.
Product refers to the item that is being sold. It can be a physical product or a service, but it must meet consumer demand or interest. It must also deliver a minimum level of performance as well as meet specific criteria.
Price is more than the cost people pay for a product. It’s the end result of determining the cost at which your products and services will be sold. This includes base costs such as manufacturing, materials, and shipping, plus expenses like office supplies or rent. While you should always look at your competition, a successful business will accurately determine what people will actually pay for your quality product or service.
Out of all the four Ps, pricing is of primary importance. Pricing not only determines profitability but also influences promotions and the product itself. Pricing your product or service involves research and careful planning. The selling price will only turn a profit if all incurred expenses are covered by a large margin.
Place refers to determining the location where the product will be sold. Location is key. Your product needs to be in a place easy to see and easy to get to, making it easy to buy. That old saying about the three most important criteria in real estate is still true: “location, location, location.”
That includes a physical location such as a store, as well as advertisements on a website, in a blog, a newspaper, or on radio or tv.
Promotion is a communication tool that refers to all the activities and strategies involved that make the product or service known to the potential customer. It unites the three other Ps by placing the right product in the right place, at the right price, and at the right time.
Promotion covers many areas, including:
- press reports
- direct marketing
- word of mouth
Promotion is much more than marketing, however. There are other ways to promote your product or service, such as:
A lack of honest enthusiasm about your product can kill any sale. Being over-enthusiastic is not good, either, but experts claim that for every sale lost to an over-enthusiastic salesperson, the company may lose a hundred more by not being enthusiastic enough.
Companies use celebrities on commercials to provide testimonials as often as possible to increase sales. Reputation management services can be a huge help in this area. People value the opinions of those they respect; they feel they “know” these celebrities in a sense and can trust their recommendations.
However, getting a celebrity to endorse and promote your product isn’t necessary. Securing honest testimonials from people who have actually purchased and used your product or service can be every bit as effective in the public’s eye.
A successful marketing team will be committed to doing whatever is necessary to represent and present the product. They will often work long hours, yet they must have the energy to remain relaxed and alert during presentations. They will also need to do whatever it takes to conceal any stress they may be feeling from clients or any other source during the process.
Always show respect to the client. Even if there is no possibility of the sale going through, being respectful will pay off in the long run. It shows you and your company have integrity and leaves the door open for a possible sale in the future. It pays to be courteous. Always.
Making a Successful Mix
In the current highly competitive business market, you need an effective sales strategy that focuses on the correct arrangement of marketing mix to succeed.
At BizIQ, we do exactly that. From logo and website design, branding, SEO, media management, content, and social media marketing, we cover all the bases for you so that you can focus on what you do best: running your business. We’ve helped over 20,000 small businesses get found online through our affordable and smart local marketing solutions.