If you own a small business you are probably passionate about the product or service you are offering. No one starts a small business doing something they hate! However, many small business owners are less enthusiastic about the marketing side of their business and some find it downright daunting. So what can you do to ensure that you have maximized your chances of getting your product or service in front of your customers?
Marketing Mix Explained: The marketing mix is simply a combination of elements that go into making your business work. The trick is to understand the importance of each one and its relevance to your particular product or service and then act accordingly.
Any small business begins with a product or service that customers want. It is the ground level platform of the business and is something the business owner is likely passionate about. It is also the element likely to get the most attention from the owner or manager – sometimes to the detriment of the other elements.
What is the purpose of your product or service? Why will your customers want to buy or use it? Understanding how the product will enable the customer to meet a need or achieve a goal enables the owner or manager to market the product or service in a way that addresses customer needs.
Another aspect of marketing your product or service is to understand its place in the market. How does it compare with the competition? Does it stand out in some way from other products or services available? Finding a way to maximize your product’s uniqueness is an important part of a successful marketing mix.
Many small business owners place a lot of emphasis on the price of their product or service, and to be fair, it is an important element in the marketing mix. However, price is often not the reason that customers will buy or avoid a product or service.
When it comes to price, make sure that your pricing strategy is realistic. If it’s too high customers will be scared off. If it’s too low customers may perceive your product or service as being cheap or unreliable and your profit margin may be unsustainable. Also be sure that it accurately reflects the quality of the product; for example, avoid charging premium prices for a product made out of low-cost ingredients. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes – how much would you pay for the product or service you are offering?
Find ways to vary your price point or add perceived value. You might be able to create value in a customer’s eyes by combining products or altering your sales terms without incurring a large cost to your business.
Many people think of promotion as the one and only aspect of marketing, but it is only one element in the marketing mix. It encompasses an infinite variety of ways to get your product in front of your customers and get them engaging with your brand. It includes advertising, face to face sales, packaging, competitions and giveaways.
Successful promotion can mean the difference between a thriving business and a struggling one. It is the element in the marketing mix that is most easily tweaked for success, but it is also the one that needs to be the most adaptable to the changing marketplace. No promotional strategy will be successful forever and owners and managers need to be in touch with changes in the market and adapt accordingly.
This is where the customer comes in contact with the product or service. It might be a physical retail outlet, a website or through a catalogue. Place is where the salesperson or their substitute (a website or catalogue) puts the opportunity to buy in front of the customer.
People are an important part of the marketing mix. Your customer’s impression of your business is often formed around their experience of the people they come into contact with. A satisfied customer is one who has received excellent customer service or an efficient and enjoyable buying experience. It might also be the reason your customer comes back to you rather than buying a similar product from your competition. Quality people who deliver exceptional customer service are a great asset to any small business.
There Is No One Size Fits All Approach.
Your business is unique. There is no one size fits all approach to a successful marketing mix and the most successful small businesses are those that are prepared to experiment and innovate to figure out what works best for them.
Owners and managers who are prepared to spend time on the marketing side of their business generally find that results follow proportionately. Review your business goals, get your marketing plan in place to achieve your them, tweak your marketing mix if necessary, and reap the rewards of your hard work!
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