Positioning Your Market Offering: Doing it Right
What is marketing?
The definition below aids marketing strategy: Putting the right product in the right place, at the right price, at the right time.
It’s simple! You just need to create a product that a particular group of people want, put it on sale some place that those same people visit regularly, and price it at a level which matches the value they feel they get out of it; and do all that at a time they want to buy. Then you’ve got it made!
There’s a lot of truth in this idea. However, a lot of hard work needs to go into finding out what customers want, and identifying where they do their shopping. Then you need to figure out how to produce the item at a price that represents value to them, and get it all to come together at the critical time. But if you get just one element wrong, you won’t get the desired result.
The 4Ps are:
- Product (or Service).
A good way to understand the 4Ps is by the questions that you need to ask to define your marketing mix. Here are some questions that will help you understand and define each of the four elements:
- What does the customer want from the product/service? What needs does it satisfy?
- What features does it have to meet these needs?
- Are there any features you’ve missed out?
- Are you including costly features that the customer won’t actually use?
- How will the customer use it?
- What does it look like?
- What size(s), color(s), and so on, should it be?
- What will it be called?
- How is it branded?
- How is it differentiated from your competitors?
- What is the most it can cost to provide, and still be sold sufficiently profitably?
- Where do buyers look for your product or service?
- If they look in a store, what kind? A specialist boutique or in a supermarket, or both? Or online? Or direct, via a catalogue?
- How can you access the right distribution channels?
- Do you need to use a sales force? Or attend trade fairs? Or make online submissions? Or send samples to catalogue companies?
- What do your competitors do, and how can you learn from that and differentiate yours?
- What is the value of the product or service to the buyer?
- Are there established price points for products or services in this area?
- Is the customer price sensitive? Will a small decrease in price gain you extra market share? Or will a small increase be indiscernible, and so gain extra profit margin?
- What discounts should be offered to trade customers, or to other specific segments of your market?
- How will your price compare with your competitors?
- Where and when can you get across your marketing messages to your target market?
- Will you reach your audience by advertising online, in the press, or on TV, or radio, or on billboards? By using direct marketing mailshot? Through PR? On the Internet?
- When is the best time to promote? Is there seasonality in the market? Are there any wider environmental issues that suggest or dictate the timing of your market launch, or the timing of subsequent promotions?
- How do your competitors do their promotions? And how does that influence your choice of promotional activity?
Another approach is Lauterborn’s 4Cs, which presents the elements of the marketing mix from the buyer’s, rather than the seller’s, perspective. It is made up of Customer needs and wants (the equivalent of product), Cost (price), Convenience (place) and Communication (promotion). The marketing mix helps you define the marketing elements for successfully positioning your market offer.
One of the best known models is the 4Ps of Marketing, which helps you define your marketing options in terms of product, place, price and promotion. Use the model when you are planning a new venture, or evaluating an existing offer, to optimize the impact with your target market.