Are You Missing the 8th "P" of Marketing?
February 23, 2011
Posted in Guest Blogs by SBIers
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Guest Blogs by SBIers
When I was a student of business economics, one of the first things I learned about marketing was the 4 P's of the marketing mix. Coined in 1953 by Neil Borden, the marketing mix talked about 4 instruments or ingredients (Product, Price, Place, and Promotion) that a marketer could "mix 'n match."
While the 4 P's made a lot of sense to me, the concept still seemed incomplete, and not quite on the mark. Sure enough, at a later date, the marketing mix expanded to include 3 more P's... People, Process and Physical Evidence.
Many business owners I know focused on those 7 P's, building a marketing mix in ways that made sense to them. Some outcomes were wildly successful, while others were abysmal failures.
What happened to the latter group? Why did a particular marketing mix fly and not the next one? What essential ingredient was missing in the formula?
Another P, of course...
After evaluating a variety of successful businesses, it was easy to see that they all shared a common desire and drive to "do better." As a result, their overall marketing efforts were stronger than their competition's in almost every part of the mix...
Much better products. More user-friendly.
Better price. (Or delivered more value for the price.)
Better, more polished, thought-through promotions.
Easier processes that worked smoothly for both customers and company staff.
It all boiled down to performance. The businesses that always pushed to do better did better. The end result was not surprising. Customers noticed and responded in droves.
All successful businesses reinforce the same lesson...
In order to stand out from the crowd and get people's attention, your business must strive to outperform everything else in your field. Being just 0.03% better is not enough, though. Your customers deserve the best.
Scrutinize all aspects of your business. Make a massive difference wherever and whenever you can. Create a competitive advantage that leaves you so far ahead that no other business can overtake yours. Yes, it's hard work, but going the extra mile quickly differentiates you from those who don't want to make the effort.
Today, performance is more important than ever. Why? Social media. It shines a bright light on your performance. It's naked marketing.
How naked? Let me illustrate with this example...
A few months ago, in the Netherlands, a well-known stand-up comedian was offended by the atrocious customer service at his mobile phone company. So he tweeted about it, starting a storm of "me too" protests in record time. A group of people even published a one-off glossy called "HELP," exposing the "help desk hell."
Social media (such as Facebook and Twitter) definitely level the playing field for customers. People can point out which companies are performing, and which ones aren't. And their observations, positive or negative, can spread like wildfire.
This new reality is nothing to fear. It offers your business a great opportunity to stand out. Work on your performance, and turn it into a competitive advantage. Never before are the voices of customers heard so clearly.
Make a difference.