When you run a business especially a small to medium sized enterprise you wear many hats and one of them is the responsibility for marketing.
This can scare many people who believe that marketing is a dark art of spin and promotion, when in fact it is a skill every successful business owner has in their DNA. Many do it without noticing every day. The key thing is to harness this unconscious competency and ensure marketing is embedded and understood by everyone involved in manufacturing, promoting and administrating the products, solutions and service you provide clients, now and in the future.
If you Google ‘what is marketing?’ you get many replies, one of which is:
“The action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising”.
But for me that’s too narrow, I prefer a far simpler definition which is more people centric.
I firmly believe that marketing is common sense and is all about:
‘The right message, to the right people at the right time’.
The secret is understanding how to do this using the right techniques, as part of a profitable and repeatable process within your business.
There also is a dangerous misconception that marketing and selling are different. This is nonsense, all great marketing is about selling. Marketing is not just about glossy brochures it should always include face-to-face sales as well as social media, advertising, PR and any other tactic that brings in new customers or retains existing clients in your business.
Effective marketing can be extremely powerful for any business regardless of its size, what matters is the power of the message and the execution of its delivery.
What do you think of when you think of marketing, is it the dark arts of spin? Expensive and not worth the effort, or do you think of the Ps of Marketing!
Not many in the UK advisory market are fully aware of the 5Ps of marketing but if any business is to be successful in its marketing strategy then the best place to start is to understand fully their power.
This is what you sell, be it widgets, solutions, ideas, service or advice. For many your main product will be yourself. It is important to be clear what your product is, to believe in it and to sell this as creatively and passionately as you can. Always remember that the design and of the product or service you offer should be guided by an analysis and understanding of what your customers want, need and are willing to pay for. This is done through research.
Price should be whatever it costs you to produce your identified product with profit and risk built in. Too many businesses ignore profit and risk and this leads to long term unprofitability. Be clear about your worth and make this part of your marketing and sales pitch. Also, remember there is nothing wrong with offering short-term discounts to attract clients who will be profitable in the future.
This is where you present your product to clients and customers. Be it face to face, over the web, using social media or telephony. Some people call this distribution, regardless of terminology, use whatever placement chosen to maximum efficiency. Few companies use a single place for transacting business with clients. Most have an array of marketing channels through which they meet customers. The more numerous and effective these channels are, the greater the opportunities to make sales. Always consider, can your product be communicated and sold more profitably using a different medium?
Promotion describes all the possible communicative activities used to ensure that your clients and potential customers are aware off your proposition, product and services. Essentially it’s the method and messages you use to sell your product. The goal of any promotional activity is to stimulate clients and customers to buy and retain this product. For instance, is it about new service or is it to offer an existing service? Is it about attracting new clients or ensuring existing clients remain with your business?
No matter the message, promotions should be the face of your marketing effort and must provide an appealing message about you, your product and your business.
This is simply the right clients and potential customers for your proposition, products and services. This is best done by a segmentation exercise supported by a robust and up to date client database.
The best way to understand the 5Ps is to start using them every day. I would urge you all to consider these questions. What could you do to make your:
Remember marketing is fun and the great quote from the marketing expert Bryan Eisenberg:
‘Our jobs as marketers are to understand how the customer wants to buy and help them do so’.
If we can do this then success awaits.
John Joe McGinley Glassagh Consulting June 2017
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