You may have heard people use a phrase like “I am marketing our product online” when they actually mean “I am advertising our product online”.
So, what is the difference?
Advertising is one element of the marketing mix, which includes many other elements.
Traditionally, the marketing mix was referred to as the “4 P’s of marketing”:
- Place (distribution, such as online, via a distributor, or a retail store, for example)
- Promotion (advertising, public relations, personal selling, brochures, corporate gifts, and so on).
Today, depending on who you speak to, there can be up to 9 or 10 P’s of marketing.
Interestingly, some more enlightened marketers have dropped “product” and substituted “positioning”.
The reasoning behind this is that marketing is customer-focussed, whilst sales is product-focussed. Positioning is about the benefit to customers. As such, it is the essence of the marketing principle.
The elements of the modern marketing mix, as they are relevant to a home-based business are:
Products and services have features, advantages and benefits (FAB). Features are the physical attributes, advantages are aspects that are unique and different, and benefits are how the advantages are applied to the end user. The homepage of this website has an example of this principle:
- Features: Our scope.
- Advantages: What’s different?
- Benefits: What’s in it for you.
How you plan to distribute your product or service. This could be directly, using a drop shipper, via the mail or a courier, through a wholesaler or distributor, via a retailer or online.
This refers to your price positioning. Is your opportunity based on a quality product positioned at a premium price, or is it to be priced at parity or at a discount to the competition? Do you have an overhead cost structure that allows you to sell cheaper than your competitors? Will a discount pricing policy cheapen your brand image?
This encompasses all the types of home-based business promotion covered in more detail in the page on advertising.
One of the most effective ways of getting noticed quickly is via public relations. Most media owners are starved for content that is novel and interesting. By packaging your business story well, even a small home-based business has a good chance of getting media publicity.
In a nutshell, this is about your ability to deliver what you have promised. It requires that you think through the details of how to respond quickly and accurately to customer needs. It includes everything from shipping to procedures for handling returns.
Even if you are going to be a solopreneur, you will probably be reliant on others are some point. Your choice of partners, outsourcers or suppliers will reflect on you and your brand.
7. Physical Environment.
In modern marketing the phrase “consumer touchpoints” or “points of contact” refers to the physical circumstances in which consumers experience your product or service. This has given rise to a new area in marketing called “Experiential Marketing”. In summary, the physical environment has a great influence on how a consumer or customer perceives your product or service.
You can think of the marketing mix as the recipe for growing your business. It shouldn’t be a rigid set of rules. It is important that you taste and adjust the elements to achieve the best result.
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