Image courtesy of B2C
When a business owner repeats the strategies everyone else uses, they don’t give customers a reason to choose their product over competitors and will likely fail. An effective marketing campaign that’s well planned and executed, makes the difference between selling a great product successfully or being ignored by consumers even after launching an excellent product. 63% of marketers say that lead and traffic generation are very challenging. However, it is not impossible, and when you implement the following practical marketing principles, you change the trajectory of your business.
Build a better mousetrap
Conventional wisdom holds that ‘if you build a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door”. As with many such truisms, this one isn’t true. History is replete with examples of stellar products that didn’t stand the test of time. One such product is Betamax. Despite its technological superiority, the product failed because they didn’t understand practical marketing principles, such as complementarity, which says products requiring complementary products for utility don’t do well when those complementary products aren’t available or characterized by an insufficient supply.
In the case of Betamax, the utility of the home entertainment products relied on the availability of pre-recorded tapes in the Beta format. The primary problem started when Sony, the maker of the device, determined to use a closed architecture, which protected their technology but resulted in a dearth of competition. The result was a Betamax was much more costly than competitors (who chose the VHS format) that allowed competition; resulting in lower prices. Soon, the small number of Betamax devices in homes discouraged movie studios from producing movies in that format and retailers like Blockbuster dedicated smaller and smaller space to the Beta format. Without movies, sales of Betamax plummeted, further decreasing movie availability. Ultimately, Betamax failed.
Know practical marketing principles
4Ps of marketing
Understanding the four principles of marketing is also essential for the entire firm, especially for marketers. These principles include products, price, place (distribution), and promotion. Often referred to as the 4Ps of marketing, these form the foundation around which marketing is built and form the basis for market planning.
Of course, other formulations of the 4Ps exist, including the 7Ps shown below, but, from a practical standpoint, all the formations really come down to the same core marketing principles where customers are at the heart of your marketing efforts.
Products encompass the goods or services you offer to your consumers, and they go through logical life cycles just like living things do. A key feature of the product lifecycle is negative profits early in the product’s life, while profits peak once consumers choose the product over competitor products. When the product is no longer the shiny new thing and consumers choose a competitor offering a cheaper price, a more innovative product, or better messaging, profits decline again.
To break through in a competitive industry, you must provide profitable products that add value to the lives of customers. Remember, consumers buy solutions, not products. Successful marketers are those who understand consumer wants and needs, then match their products to satisfy those wants and needs.
Pricing models depend on different factors such as demographics, competition, demand, brand image, as well as production and operational costs and other factors. For example, if the cost of producing a product is $2 and shipping and marketing value hit $1, the brand must sell the product for a minimum of $3 since no firm can lose money except in the short-run, such as when they first introduce a new product. The maximum price depends on competitors’ prices and the perceived value of the product to the target market.
Place refers to both where you sell the product and how you get the product to that marketplace, something marketers call channels of distribution.
Reflect on whether you need a brick and mortar store or an e-commerce website to sell your products or maybe you plan to use both retail options. Some consumers prefer brick and mortar stores for the convenience of shopping in person and picking up products immediately. Commonly, you distribute your product through channel partners who take care of transportation and storage (among other tasks) but, especially in the early days when your distribution is primarily to your local area, you can use a 4×4 commercial truck rental near you to help move goods from one area to another without the added expense of purchasing a vehicle you don’t utilize efficiently.
An online store, on the other hand, helps increase your brand outreach to consumers outside your immediate area without the cost-sharing involved in setting up a channel structure. Newer e-commerce options involve using a virtual channel of distribution through online retailers, such as Amazon.
The promotion principle of marketing comprises sales strategies, advertising, promotion, direct sales, and public relations. Marketers must consider promotion messaging and other promotional tactics that suit their products, pricing models, as well as their consumers to ensure the message resonates with the target market to promote purchase.
If you want to learn more about the 4Ps of marketing and how to implement a sound strategy related to each element, check out this post containing a definitive guide to practical marketing principles like the 4Ps.
Know your customer
Almost nothing is a more important practical marketing principle that understanding your customer. And, that means researching customer wants and needs, as well as their hot buttons and where to reach them. Using this understanding, firms build personas that create a prototypical consumer that captures key elements of each target market.
Here’s an example of a persona in a business to business market:
Almost nothing is less appealing to consumers than stale products and marketing strategies.
Now and then, new marketing principles pop up. While being the first business to adopt and implement a new marketing strategy isn’t necessary, you may want to ensure that you adopt them early. Hence, as digital marketing moves away from the old standards like Facebook, especially for younger consumers, think about adding TikTok or other platforms where your younger demographic now hang out. Being the first person to try unproven marketing principles is scary; however, if things work, it’s very rewarding as you have the landscape to yourself until your competitors catch up. Once you realize that a new strategy is picking up steam, dive in, and leverage it to your advantage.
Gaining amazing insight into how the new platform or tactic works is another advantage of moving on to a new marketing tactic before others. Once others join you, they still face a battle to build the insights you already implement in your strategy. Plus, mistakes early in a new marketing effort don’t do the same damage as making the same mistake once it’s a standard marketing tactic.
The same goes for products. Sticking with the same product in the long-term often spells disaster as consumer tastes and/ or the environment surrounding your business changes. Always be innovative should be your mantra.
Integrate all your marketing efforts
If you want to expedite your growth, you need to see the bigger picture. From analytics that track performance, to insights from your salesforce, to market research and environmental scanning, to internal processes, keep these insights at your fingertips. Information allows you to sell, upsell, and boost your customer retention rate. Take charge of visualizing the customers’ journey through your sales funnels with an eye toward improving performance.
For B2B business owners, you may want to appoint someone as a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). This person can assist with sales and marketing operations to seamlessly integrate across these functional areas.
Sound strategies that combine practical marketing principles serve as the foundation of many successful companies. As a marketer, you must follow the learning curve to maximize your conversion rates by employing practical marketing principles.