The five key variables to successful marketing – called the marketing mix – are people, products, services, price, promotion and distribution. In marketing textbooks these are called the five P’s of Marketing.
- People: Your customers and prospects drive the marketing plan. You should analyze these people before you do anything else in your business.
- Products and Services: Effective product strategies can vary greatly. They include concentrating on a narrow, specialized product line or providing a large selection of products. Your strategy may be to provide a high level of customer service or low cost products with minimal service. Different products and services will meet the needs of different customers.
- Price: Determining the price level and pricing policies are a major factor affecting total revenue. Higher prices mean lower sales volume, whereas lower prices may reduce profitability. While a small business can frequently command higher prices because of the personalized services it offers, many customers will still shop based on price alone.
- Promotion: This marketing area includes advertising, sales, public relations, publicity, events and other promotional tools. Since every employee is part of the marketing process, keeping a focus on customer service is a necessity to grow sales. High quality sales will also aid sales growth. This includes consultative selling techniques.
- Product Distribution: You must identify the best method for product distribution. Manufacturers can distribute their own products or utilize established distributors or manufacturer’s agents. Small retailers must give careful consideration to cost and traffic flow when determining site location. Advertising and rent are usually reciprocal. In other words, low cost rent usually means low traffic. As a result you must spend more on advertising to build traffic.
You will utilize the 5 P’s of marketing when you develop a marketing plan. Before you start the plan however, you must do market research.