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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

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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Last Updated on December 5, 2018

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

How do they do it?

By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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3. Demand Learning from Your Team

CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

“The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

“We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

  • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
  • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
  • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
  • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
  • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
  • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

  • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
  • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
  • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
  • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
  • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

    “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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  • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
  • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
  • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
  • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

10. Empower Your Employees

Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

11. Nurture Your Company Culture

Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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