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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 January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

Reference

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