If you took a basic marketing class, you may remember the Four P’s of Marketing. But have you thought about applying them in your business today? Let’s do an introduction to the Four P’s, and see if you come up with any new ideas for your business.
You can think of marketing as everything except making your product, or doing your service work. The Four P’s of Marketing are Price, Place, Promotion, and Product.
“But you just said marketing was everything except the product!” It’s everything except making the product. Marketing includes your choice of products and services, and how you decide what to offer.
Have you talked with your customers lately to see what product they want? How can you help them solve their problems?
Setting price in a small business is something of an arcane art form. I’ve found standard formulas for setting prices, but they require a lot of data that many small businesses don’t have or don’t track. That means you fall back on doing your own thinking. Do you want to be the most expensive? Can you beat everyone else’s price? Do you want to? Would raising your price help raise customers’ perceptions of your value?
Eric Granata shared his story with raising prices.
The raising prices trick can work. I used to keep prices low on one of my CafePress shops because I figured I’d sell more if the prices were reasonable. Once I raised prices, sales increased AND I made more from each sale.
I’m not saying it works in every case, but it’s worth considering.
You are targeting people within certain geographic bounds. That may be your local area, defined by a rough circle on the map. It may be people in towns of a certain size, spread all over the map. (If you are targeting everyone, everywhere, then you aren’t targeting!)
It may be international. If you have personal contacts around the world, you may be able to do some global business. I have several clients from outside the USA. That started because I traveled abroad, and made friends. You might start the same way.
Here’s where you get the word out. Promotion includes your paid advertising, but also a lot more. Do you have a website? Are you active on any online networking or social sites? Do you participate in local events? Are you handing out coupons or stickers? Do you offer a loyalty club? Publish a newsletter? Hand out pens or keychains with your name on them? Speak at the Rotary Club?
Promotion is everything you do to reach out to new people and make them aware of your business. If you have the other three P’s lined out, spend most of your marketing time on Promotion, finding ways to connect with more people.
Chris Penn compared it to marketing pizza.
They thought that making a quality product was marketing and wondered why their stores were empty day after day after day. “But we have an awesome product!” “Maybe we need a new color palette for the inside of the store!” “Maybe we should move the register closer to the door!”
They’re rearranging toppings on the pizza instead of figuring out how to get people in front of the pizza to at least take a bite. They’re staring at the pizza, wondering why no one is buying it and eating it.
Growing with the Four P’s
For more about how the Four P’s can spark growth, read my article this week at US News Outside Voices.
This article is part of the Small Biz 100, a series of 100 practical hands-on posts for small business people and solo entrepreneurs. If you have small business questions you’d like us to address, leave a comment. This is a community project! Get the whole series by subscribing to Small Biz Survival.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.