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The basics of Marketing

Marketing is multifaceted. For those just starting out, it can seem as though you are trying to piece together a complex puzzle with limited pieces. Luckily, once broken down, marketing reduces to just 7 principles. If you master these principles, you will have mastered the basics of marketing.

The 7 principles are known as the 7 Ps of marketing. They are a set of globally recognised marketing principles that you can use in any combination to market your product or service. The 7 Ps are merely tactics you can use to engage with and satisfy your target market. Using them in different combinations to meet your audience’s needs is known as using a “tactical marketing mix.”  

The 7 Ps, in no particular order of importance, are:

  • Product 
  • Price 
  • Promotion 
  • Place 
  • Packaging 
  • Positioning 
  • People 

Product is the first P and refers to what you are selling, including all the features, advantages, disadvantages and benefits that your customers will enjoy from using your product or service.  All of these are important considerations when planning out your marketing strategy. You should critically assess your product and ask questions such as: “Is my product suitable for the market of today?” and “Does my product have a superior point or function compared to my competitors?” If not, why not? If yes, then explain what those selling points are. 

Price is the second P and refers to the pricing of your product and services. It is important to develop a habit of continually re-examining whether the prices of your products are still appropriate to the current market and its economic realities.

Promotion is the third P and includes all the ways in which you can tell your audience about your product or service. It also includes how you then market and sell to your audience through advertising, sales tactics, promotions and direct marketing. Making the smallest changes in how you promote your product can have dramatic effects on your business’ growth. The key is to experiment with how you market to your audience, as eventually whatever tactic you use will no longer work and you will need to find new avenues to explore.

The fourth P is straightforward. Place refers to where your product or service is made, sold or distributed. Customers’ access to your products is important, as customers need to find you to use your product or service.

Packaging is the fifth P. How your product or service looks is important, as visuals are usually the first thing your customers will notice when purchasing. Studies have shown that people make up their mind within the first 30 seconds of engaging with your company. Consider what your customers will see from the first moment they interact with your product or service. Packaging is all about what others see looking from the outside in. A critical eye for small details will go a long way in building your brand’s reputation as high-quality and desirable.

Positioning is the sixth P. This is all about how you are positioned within the market and in your customers’ minds. How do people think of your business?  How do they talk about your business when you aren’t present? These are all the questions you should consider when thinking about your current position and the position you want to fill. 

The final P is People. People refers to all staff who work for your business, including yourself. Many business owners will meticulously craft a marketing strategy and completely forget that every single policy and decision is ultimately executed by a specific person or team of people. Hiring the right people and making them happy will not only keep your business running smoothly; it will also translate to the experiences your staff have with your customers.