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Successful Marketers Go Through This Model Every Time When Making Decisions

Successful Marketers Go Through This Model Every Time When Making Decisions
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If you are new to the term marketing mix, this refers to a foundation concept that determines how brands target customers and achieve their sales objectives. It includes the so-called 4Ps (product, price, promotion and place), which cover broad levels of marketing decision-making and strategy.

What Are the Origins of the Marketing Mix?

The basic premise of marketing has existed for more than 1000 years, but more advanced theories began to emerge in the early 20th century. As a growing number of businesses formed and competition was intensified across multiple markets, however, the need for more strategic thinking emerged and it was in 1960 that the contemporary marketing mix was first published.

This provided a framework for marketing management decisions, while the 4Ps established guidelines that could help to increase efficiency and ROI. This is best applied to product marketing, and it is interesting to note that an expanded version has been developed for brands that are bringing services to market. This includes 7Ps, with the original four complimented by process, people and physical evidence.

The 4Ps Explored

To understand the application and importance of the 4Ps, we need to look at each one in detail. For example:

Product

The focal point of your marketing efforts, product refers to an item or range that meets an existing consumer need or gap in the market. This will drive a number of core marketing decisions, particularly those pertaining to design, packaging, labeling, returns and the management of your product’s life-cycle. These represent strategic elements of your marketing campaign, as they will dictate costs, drive sales and establish your profit margin per unit sale.

The importance of your product cannot be underestimated, while it is crucial that it is designed with a clear focus and to fulfill a specific purpose. As Seth Godin once said [1]; “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers,” and this underlines the process that you should follow when defining your product’s proposition.

Here are some questions to consider when conceiving your product and bringing it to market:

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  • Does it Meet a Need or Fill a Gap in the Market?
  • Does it Solve a Pertinent Consumer Problem?
  • Can it Be Made and Sold for a Profit?

Price

Price usually refers to the amount that a customer pays for your product, while during the concept stage it can be applied to the amount consumers are prepared to sacrifice to for a specific type of product. This is important as it dictates the value proposition of your product and the amount that you should spend on developing it, as it offers a clear insight into how it is perceived in a real-time market.

The retail price that you can sell at will ultimately determine the ROI of your marketing campaigns, while it also underlines the basic purpose of marketing products in the first place. According to Alex Way, the managing director of travel specialists Justflybusiness.co.uk, “brands must also be more savvy and flexible on their pricing structure, while focusing their attention on providing as much tangible and intangible value to their customers”.

Here are some questions to consider when appraising the price of your product:

  • What Profit Margin Does Your Price Allow For?
  • Can the Market Bear Your Proposed Price Point?
  • Do you Have a Tiered Strategy that Includes Wholesale and Retail Prices?
  • Have You Included Rebates for Distributors?
  • How Will Consumers Will be Able to Pay for Your Products?

Promotion

Promotion refers to your core marketing communications, comprising elements such as PR, advertising, direct marketing and sales promotions. It drives decisions relating to the precise nature of each campaign, as you look to create a balanced and integrated campaign that effectively targets specific customer segments and utilizes relevant messaging. Obviously, there is a greater focus on digital marketing in the modern age, but traditional channels such as print and billboard advertising also remain relevant.

Ultimately, it is not the channel that determines the success of your marketing efforts, but the content that drives them. This is a thought echoed by marketing guru David Ogilvy [2], who reinforces the idea that while it is important to target customers through relevant channels you must focus primarily on the messaging used to engage audiences.

Here are some questions to consider when driving individual promotions:

  • What Marketing Channels Do Your Target Audience Use?
  • How Can You Use These Channels to Effectively Showcase Your Product?
  • What is the Core Message That You Want to Communicate?
  • How Often Should You Communicate on Each Platform?

Place

Place refers to the access that customers have to your product, and drives decisions pertaining to distribution. These include the primary delivery method of your product, and the options that will create a seamless and convenient journey for consumers. This is the aspect of marketing that has changed the most in the digital age, with an increasing number of products now sold online and across a global consumer network.

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So while the 4Ps are more important than ever and traditional concepts like selective distribution remain key, the notion of place has evolved to include online stores, social media platforms and even influencer blogs.

Here are some questions to consider when leveraging place in your campaigns:

  • Have You Afforded Your Products as Much Market Coverage as Possible?
  • Have you Considered All Potential Channels Where Your Product Can be Referenced and Sold?
  • Have you Determined a Viable Strategy in Relation to Inventory?
  • How Will You Ship Online Products Once They Have Been Sold?

The Extend 7Ps: How Does This Change the Landscape?

Aside from the changing nature of place, the 4Ps have remained fairly consistent over time. As you can see, however, they are not necessarily suited to the marketing or sale of products, which is why Booms and Bitner proposed extending this model to 7Ps in 1981 [3]and including process, people and physical evidence as part of the mix. There has been further proposals for extension of the model since this time, but the majority of service providers continue to persist with the 7P strategy.

So, let’s explore this in closer detail and determine how these impact on your strategy:

Process

While process has direct links to place, it refers specifically to how your service is delivered from the back-office perspective to the point of sale. This differs from place in that the delivery of your service is usually performed in the presence of the customer, so there must be a keen focus on the quality of service, the speed of delivery and the nature of the interaction that your representatives have with customers.

Here are some questions to consider when considering process:

  • Which Areas of Your Service Involve Human Interaction?
  • Can the Speed of Your Service be Improved by Automation Without Impacting on its Quality?
  • Have You Strived to Simplify the Customer Journey?

People

This is arguably one of the most important elements of your marketing campaigns, whether you are selling products direct to consumers or delivering a professional service. People buy from people after all, so the success of your venture relies on the recruitment and retention of the right people in your marketing and sales departments. This applies to all levels of the businesses infrastructure, from field operatives to strategic managers.

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Here are some questions to consider when managing the people in your marketing teams:

  • Do you Have a Profile of the Type of Marketer You Want to Recruit?
  • Do You Have Your People in the Right Positions?
  • Can You Leverage the Personality of Your Staff to Enhance Your Marketing Efforts?

Physical Evidence

Finally, we have physical evidence, which relates to the corporeal elements that are included in the service that the consumer pays for. This applies even if the bulk of what the consumer purchases is intangible, and it may include examples such as beauty treatments, virtual documents (sent through email) and a haircut. These manifestations are evidence of the service provided, while they can also be used to drive future campaigns and support the quality of your brand as a whole.

Here are some questions to consider when managing the physical evidence and the manifestation of your service:

  • Is Your Service Designed to Deliver the Best Possible Outcome?
  • Have You Factored in Intangible Elements When Costing Your Service?
  • Do You Leverage the Physical Evidence of Your Service to Drive Your Marketing Drives?

In Summary: What Are the 4Cs and How Do They Relate?

As you can see, these principles create separate frameworks that can help brands to successfully market both products and services. You may also have heard about the 4Cs, however, which has provided an alternative outlook for brands and one that has particular relevance in an age where customers have more influence than ever before.

In simple terms, the 4Cs force you to change your perspective as a marketer, as you adopt a consumer-centric outlook and consider your campaigns through the eyes of consumers. This provides a stark contrast to the business-focused nature of the 4Ps, and many experts believe that exploring both simultaneously helps you to create more rounded and effective marketing campaigns.

Here is a breakdown of the 4Cs :

Clients

The alternative to product, client asks you to consider a specific consumer need or demand that exists in the market. This insight then drives the design of your product, which serves as the solution to the issues that you strategically identified.

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Costs

Similar to price, costs relates to the financial development of your product and the impact that this has on customers. The most important aspect of this is appraising the total cost to the consumer, and whether or not this delivers the requisite value.

Communication

This refers to all interactions between your brand and its customers, and more specifically the way in which primary, secondary and tertiary messaging is perceived. The idea of this is to determine how clearly your core message comes across, and whether or not you are effectively engaging target segments.

Convenience

This relates directly to place, as it refers to how and where customers want to purchase your products. Once again, there is heavy focus online here, particularly as customers continue to gravitate towards virtual shopping and fluid e-commerce model (experts estimate that global online sales will reach a staggering $1.915 trillion [4] by the end of 2017).

Clearly, there is a strong relation between the 4Ps and the 4Cs, with the latter simply considering similar marketing elements and decisions from a consumer-centric viewpoint. The difference between the two concepts is defined by the outlook of marketers, of course, with one driving business-focused decisions and the other executing strategies based on the needs of customers.

Given the consumer-centric nature of marketing in 2017, however, it makes sense to apply both while making balanced decisions that optimise savings and increase your ROI simultaneously.

Reference

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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