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Product - What is your offering?
The product is what you are trying to sell. It can be a physical product or a service. For service businesses, I mostly refer to this concept as packaging, because many times with service businesses, process is nice but how you package it will make the difference between someone buying your services or thinking they don't really need them.
If you are selling a physical product, other decisions include function, warranty, appearance, physical packaging, and service.
Price - How much will you charge for it?
Pricing is a balancing act between what you want to charge, what your competitors are charging and what your prospects will pay for your products or services. Keep in mind that what you charge should match the value your prospect is putting on the product or service. Under pricing can lead to people thinking you are lower quality - remember you get what you pay for. However, charging too much will result in people thinking you are out of line. Really assess the market factors and develop a pricing strategy that gives you your fair share of revenue while providing real value for your customers.
Place - How will your customers acquire it?
Place is bringing your products and/or services together with your target audience. Place is about distribution and convenience. You may choose to sell your product through established retailers or wholesalers or you might sell by direct mail, direct marketing (on the telephone) or through your website. The Internet does not eliminate this factor in your overall marketing plan. It just adds another choice.
Promotion - How will your customers learn about it?
Promotion is all the ways you can reach and educate your prospects. Review the top of the VistaPlan diagram for all the promotional choices available to you. However, before you leap into promotional activities, be sure that the other 3 Ps are in place first. Get this right and then think about how to get your message across using the best programs to reach your target market.
The key to getting your marketing mix right is to understand your customers, know your competition, be aware of your market, review your offering on a regular basis and get your business known and trusted by customers and potential customers in your target market.
Debra Murphy is founder of Masterful Marketing, a marketing coaching firm that empowers small business owners and independent professionals to take control of their marketing to get better results. She helps you change how you think about your business and put activities into motion that attract your ideal client. She started Masterful Marketing to ensure small business owners had access to the knowledge available to larger companies so they could live their dreams and build a business around their passions. Although her knowledge of marketing covers all the traditional channels, she specializes in online and social media marketing to make sense of it all to those who want to use it to effectively market their businesses.
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