Understanding the basics of marketing is essential in getting your name out and gaining clientele. If people don’t know your products exist, how it will benefit them and where to get them, how will they buy?
As Shannon Cherry of Be Heard Solutions puts it:
Marketing is not just advertising and it's not a bunch of used-car sales techniques. It is the study of:
- Why your clients buy your services
- What services they buy, when and how they make buying decisions
- What they are willing to pay for those services
- What would make them buy more
- What other products or services they want from you
- What causes them to defect and what causes them to stay with you.
In short, it is the essential understanding of why and how your cash register rings.
Most companies typically defer to a marketing/advertising agency or consultant to help them get started. This is definitely the best option, but if budget is an issue while you are starting out, you may have to take the reins yourself. Don’t forget, just like most things, agency help is also something that can be negotiated, if you find an agency or consultant you like there are many ways to cultivate a working relationship.
There are many ways to create a marketing strategy. Some are very complex, while some are very simple. The 4 P’s are a cornerstone of marketing and are always a good place to start. The 4 P’s were coined by E. Jerome McCarthy in 1960 and are still taught in marketing classes today.
Product - Do you have an amazing product? What are the benefits? What is the value? Why is it better than its competitors?
Price - Do you have a fair price? Is it better than your competitors? If not, how do you get your price point down or how do you add non-monetary value to it? (Perhaps better customer service, better terms?)
Place - Is your product in a place that is easily accessible for your customer? Do they have enough inventory to support your customers needs? Can your customer find it in a brick and mortar store, online, or both?
Promotion - Have you created an attractive promotion to get customers to try your products? How about a loyalty program to keep them buying? Buy one get one free? Trial period?
You can see from the diagram above that the 4 P’s should be centered around your Target Market. After you create a customer profile of your target market, you should be able to tailor the 4 P’s just for them. Let’s use our handmade jewelry business:
Target Market Profile:
Female: Ages 22-40.
Median Income: $45,000 per year
Region: Southern California, San Diego.
Buying Behaviors: Likes to shop in boutiques as well as malls. Typically likes to shop with other women in groups.
Monetary: These women have expendable income and like to purchase and wear jewelry.
Value: Good quality is important to these women they don’t want cheap jewelry, but want trendy, cute pieces at affordable prices.
Product: Does my product appeal to females ages 22-40? Yes. They are the biggest purchaser of this type of jewelry.
Price: Will my target market pay this price for a similar piece of jewelry? Yes, it is selling for $35 per and through my research I’ve discovered that women are paying between $25 and $40 for similar items in my region.
Place: Is my jewelry in a place where my target market can see and buy it easily? Yes, I have my jewelry in boutiques with the same target market in and around San Diego county. I have a booth at some of the local farmers markets who’s majority customers are females 18-56 and I’ve created a website that women can purchase my products online.
Promotion: Do I have promotions that appeal to this target market? Yes, I am running a buy 2 get 1 free promotion at the farmer's market and boutiques to appeal to groups of women shopping together. I send out regular email blasts with 15% off coupons to order online. I have an online referral contest every month where five women win a free necklace for referring ten of her friends to my website.