Between email spam, pop-up ad’s, and phishing attacks, it feels like the days of genuine marketing are long gone. On the internet, it seems as if marketers have taken an “anything goes” approach to getting their product in your face. These unfortunate by-products of our mass exodus to online immersion have given marketers a bad name. What many don’t realize is, the websites and brands online that you love and trust have simply mastered the basics of Marketing 101.
The 4 P’s
The four p’s of marketing are the pillars of what a good marketing strategy should built on. They stand for: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Good marketing realizes the essence of each of these concepts at their core, and applies them to their unique contexts. As we rapidly evolve into an internet centric culture it’s important that we understand fundamental concepts as these in our online contexts.
There is no marketing without product. Many understand the product side of the marketing equation, but it isn’t as one dimensional as it is often demonstrated to be. Clearly stated: your product is either some physical thing that you are selling, or a service that you offer. Understanding that you need a product before you go to market is trivial, what isn’t obvious is the effort that is required to substantiate yourself from your competition. Your product is the foundation and the cornerstone of your business; it’s what your business is built on, and what holds it together.
So many internet start-ups today launch a product or service really quickly, and then bust their asses trying to market themselves to everyone and anyone thinking that just the right mix of magical marketing is going to get them “there”. Marketing is important, but marketing, sales, exposure, nothing can help you if you don’t spend enough time making your product great.
The majority of your time, money, and focus should always be spent on developing, improving, and expanding your product. Companies that have longevity in the marketplace are notorious for improving their product, expanding their offering, and developing new products. There is no other way.
In the world online, it seems like things are either free, or way over-priced. We seem to have lost the science and psychology of pricing as marketers. We either are making things free so people will like us and spread our free products around to as many people as virtually possible, or we are overtly greedy with our over-pricing and thoughts of how rich we might get.
There has to be a happy medium. Ever wonder why almost everything you buy ends in .95 or .99? Because it works! The simple side to pricing is figuring out how much it cost you to make your product, and figuring out a price point that allows you to remain profitable and in business. But taking it further, how much exactly will your customers pay? How much is too much? Are you making too little a profit?
Just like you test metrics on your websites to determine what buttons work better, what copy performs better, you should test your pricing models as well.
Before the era of internet marketing, the “Place” part of the equation meant finding stores that would carry your product, where your product was located on the shelf and getting your product to be physically visible. Today, most of us have our one niche of online marketing that we are comfortable with, and we push our products there. We are good at this, and have success. But there are SO many avenues online to expand your visibility it’s hard to keep up.
People tend to stick to their comfort zone, but if you’re looking to expand and grow your business it’s time to look in a different place. Why continue to stick to SEO, PPC, and Social Media? What about display advertising, lead gen, or email marketing? Most online businesses are only in one or two “places” to moderate success, why not go somewhere new and expand? God forbid we actually get our product into a physical store.
As marketers, we are all very familiar with the promotion part of the equation. What I find interesting about the 4 P’s is, promotion is listed last. I think the ease with which we can promote things these days gets us over excited about the process. To the point where we even begin promotion before we have the product.
Promotion is obviously an important and critical step, not to be diminished. But as marketers, I think we need to be reminded not how to promote, but how not to promote. Our over-zealousness tends to lead us to do things that are downright annoying when it comes to the promotion process. Maybe it’s because we just get so excited about our products that we want to do everything we can to get them out there, maybe it’s because we’re marketers and it’s in our blood.
The thing to remember is, over-zealous, cheap promotion isn’t helpful, and isn’t making your product look good. Promotion is about looking good and making your product look good. Auto-tweets, spam emails, phishing attacks, and begging people doesn’t make you or your product look good.
There are many places, and many ways to promote your products; just be sure that you look good when you’re doing it. Stay Classy.