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7 P's of a Positive Marketing Strategy

Posted by Production Productive IT on Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Once you've developed your marketing strategy, there is a "Seven P Formula" you should use to continually evaluate and reevaluate your business activities. These seven are: product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning and people. As products, markets, customers and needs change rapidly, you must continually revisit these seven Ps to make sure you're on track and achieving the maximum results possible for you in today's marketplace.


To begin with, develop the habit of looking at your product as though you were an outside marketing consultant brought in to help your company decide whether or not it's in the right business at this time. Ask critical questions such as, "Is your current product or service, or mix of products and services, appropriate and suitable for the market and the customers of today?"

Whenever you're having difficulty selling as much of your products or services as you'd like, you need to develop the habit of assessing your business honestly and asking, "Are these the right products or services for our customers today?"

Is there any product or service you're offering today that, knowing what you now know, you would not bring out again today? Compared to your competitors, is your product or service superior in some significant way to anything else available? If so, what is it? If not, could you develop an area of superiority? Should you be offering this product or service at all in the current marketplace?


The second P in the formula is price. Develop the habit of continually examining and reexamining the prices of the products and services you sell to make sure they're still appropriate to the realities of the current market. Sometimes you need to lower your prices. At other times, it may be appropriate to raise your prices. Many companies have found that the profitability of certain products or services doesn't justify the amount of effort and resources that go into producing them. By raising their prices, they may lose a percentage of their customers, but the remaining percentage generates a profit on every sale. Could this be appropriate for you?

Sometimes you need to change your terms and conditions of sale. Sometimes, by spreading your price over a series of months or years, you can sell far more than you are today, and the interest you can charge will more than make up for the delay in cash receipts. Sometimes you can combine products and services together with special offers and special promotions. Sometimes you can include free additional items that cost you very little to produce but make your prices appear far more attractive to your customers.

In business, as in nature, whenever you experience resistance or frustration in any part of your sales or marketing plan, be open to revisiting that area. Be open to the possibility that your current pricing structure is not ideal for the current market. Be open to the need to revise your prices, if necessary, to remain competitive, to survive and thrive in a fast-changing marketplace.


The third habit in marketing and sales is to think in terms of promotion all the time. Promotion includes all the ways you tell your customers about your products or services and how you then market and sell to them.

Small changes in the way you promote and sell your products can lead to dramatic changes in your results. Even small changes in your advertising can lead immediately to higher sales. Experienced copywriters can often increase the response rate from advertising by 500 percent by simply changing the headline on an advertisement.

Large and small companies in every industry continually experiment with different ways of advertising, promoting, and selling their products and services. And here is the rule: Whatever method of marketing and sales you're using today will, sooner or later, stop working. Sometimes it will stop working for reasons you know, and sometimes it will be for reasons you don't know. In either case, your methods of marketing and sales will eventually stop working, and you'll have to develop new sales, marketing and advertising approaches, offerings, and strategies.


The fourth P in the marketing mix is the place where your product or service is actually sold. Develop the habit of reviewing and reflecting upon the exact location where the customer meets the salesperson. Sometimes a change in place can lead to a rapid increase in sales.

You can sell your product in many different places. Some companies use direct selling, sending their salespeople out to personally meet and talk with the prospect. Some sell by telemarketing. Some sell through catalogs or mail order. Some sell at trade shows or in retail establishments. Some sell in joint ventures with other similar products or services. Some companies use manufacturers' representatives or distributors. Many companies use a combination of one or more of these methods.

In each case, the entrepreneur must make the right choice about the very best location or place for the customer to receive essential buying information on the product or service needed to make a buying decision. What is yours? In what way should you change it? Where else could you offer your products or services?


The fifth element in the marketing mix is the packaging. Develop the habit of standing back and looking at every visual element in the packaging of your product or service through the eyes of a critical prospect. Remember, people form their first impression about you within the first 30 seconds of seeing you or some element of your company. Small improvements in the packaging or external appearance of your product or service can often lead to completely different reactions from your customers.

With regard to the packaging of your company, your product or service, you should think in terms of everything that the customer sees from the first moment of contact with your company all the way through the purchasing process.

Packaging refers to the way your product or service appears from the outside. Packaging also refers to your people and how they dress and groom. It refers to your offices, your waiting rooms, your brochures, your correspondence and every single visual element about your company. Everything counts. Everything helps or hurts. Everything affects your customer's confidence about dealing with you.

When IBM started under the guidance of Thomas J. Watson, Sr., he very early concluded that fully 99 percent of the visual contact a customer would have with his company, at least initially, would be represented by IBM salespeople. Because IBM was selling relatively sophisticated high-tech equipment, Watson knew customers would have to have a high level of confidence in the credibility of the salesperson. He therefore instituted a dress and grooming code that became an inflexible set of rules and regulations within IBM.

As a result, every salesperson was required to look like a professional in every respect. Every element of their clothing-including dark suits, dark ties, white shirts, conservative hairstyles, shined shoes, clean fingernails-and every other feature gave off the message of professionalism and competence. One of the highest compliments a person could receive was, "You look like someone from IBM."


The next P is positioning. You should develop the habit of thinking continually about how you are positioned in the hearts and minds of your customers. How do people think and talk about you when you're not present? How do people think and talk about your company? What positioning do you have in your market, in terms of the specific words people use when they describe you and your offerings to others?

In the famous book by Al Reis and Jack Trout, Positioning, the authors point out that how you are seen and thought about by your customers is the critical determinant of your success in a competitive marketplace. Attribution theory says that most customers think of you in terms of a single attribute, either positive or negative. Sometimes it's "service." Sometimes it's "excellence." Sometimes it's "quality engineering," as with Mercedes Benz. Sometimes it's "the ultimate driving machine," as with BMW. In every case, how deeply entrenched that attribute is in the minds of your customers and prospective customers determines how readily they'll buy your product or service and how much they'll pay.

Develop the habit of thinking about how you could improve your positioning. Begin by determining the position you'd like to have. If you could create the ideal impression in the hearts and minds of your customers, what would it be? What would you have to do in every customer interaction to get your customers to think and talk about in that specific way? What changes do you need to make in the way interact with customers today in order to be seen as the very best choice for your customers of tomorrow?


The final P of the marketing mix is people. Develop the habit of thinking in terms of the people inside and outside of your business who are responsible for every element of your sales, marketing strategies, and activities.

It's amazing how many entrepreneurs and business people will work extremely hard to think through every element of the marketing strategy and the marketing mix, and then pay little attention to the fact that every single decision and policy has to be carried out by a specific person, in a specific way. Your ability to select, recruit, hire and retain the proper people, with the skills and abilities to do the job you need to have done, is more important than everything else put together.

In his best-selling book, Good to Great, Jim Collins discovered the most important factor applied by the best companies was that they first of all "got the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off the bus." Once these companies had hired the right people, the second step was to "get the right people in the right seats on the bus."

To be successful in business, you must develop the habit of thinking in terms of exactly who is going to carry out each task and responsibility. In many cases, it's not possible to move forward until you can attract and put the right person into the right position. Many of the best business plans ever developed sit on shelves today because the [people who created them] could not find the key people who could execute those plans.

Excerpted from Million Dollar Habits


QR CODES: What are They and How Do They Work?

Posted by on Tuesday, August 23, 2011

QR Codes

You may have noticed a tiny, weird looking square popping up more and more on the things you buy, in the restaurants where you eat and especially in the magazines that you read. These squares, known as QR (quick response) codes, are increasingly becoming a larger part of print marketing in the past few years as smartphones (such as an iPhone or Android) have become more popular.

The codes, which require a smartphone to work, are designed to transmit information such as a text-based message, a link, or multimedia content such as images (logo) and video (sponsored message). Most often, however, QR codes are used to promote community-wide contests or special vendor discounts. There are even services that can track and provide analytics for these codes so that you can manage your marketing even better.

Another way in which QR codes are effective is for social networking on-the-go such as sending out a tweet to your followers or “liking” a place or thing on Facebook, just by scanning the code. Google Places even offers a way in which to link a QR code to your business’ Place Page where visitors can read reviews or find special offers—all from their mobile phone.

The verdict among marketers regarding the effectiveness of these codes is still up for debate, but the trend among magazine publishers and retailers is growing. According to this QR Code Infographic by Lab42, there’s still potential for those who know how to use them to the advantage of their audience to make ads more “interactive, faster and easier.”

Have you ever scanned a QR code? Are you considering using QR codes as part of your marketing strategy? Let us know and leave a comment below.


What is a Brand? Going Beyond the Logo

Posted by on Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Best Buy Brand

In today's world of touch-and-go media marketing it's important to seize every opportunity you can to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Traditionally, companies have been able to come up with a logo, perhaps a "clever" strapline, and plaster it on their advertisements while calling it a day. Not so anymore.

While a logo is often considered to be a company's most visually recognizable brand element, it should never be to be-all-end-all of your branding efforts. A logo, as paraphrased by Wikipedia, is a "supporting device that maintains visual continuity and brand recognition across all physical manifestations of the brand." In short, a logo is only one part of your brand (albeit an important one).

More than Just a Logo

Beyond the logo a brand is an abstract concept that describes the overall experience that customers receive through a variety of elements (logo, color, typefaces, strapline, and marketing). The most significant step in achieving a strong brand is to keep everything consistent- set boundaries on what can and cannot be done. This means defining how your logo can or cannot be displayed, where you choose to place your ads, and what specific colors should be used at all times.

"A brand is an abstract concept that describes the overall experience that customers receive through a variety of elements (logo, color, typefaces, strapline, and marketing)."

Who would your product or service appeal to the most: a 4 year olds or a 24 year old? Are you marketing to other businesses or to individuals? What's the typical behavior of your target audience, are they always mobile (iPhone, Twitter, YouTube) or do they spend more time reading (magazine, newspapers)? Understanding the right channels to use (Facebook vs LinkedIn) will make a huge difference in positioning your brand better than your competition.

Best Buy, a Good Example

One of the best examples of smart branding currently is electronic giant, Best Buy. Through the use of consistency, Best Buy's tech-savvy brand is unmistakable whether it's on Twitter, Facebook, magazines, flyers, or television. Best Buy even takes this a step further with the unique design of each storefront, emphasizing to customers the company's "cutting-edge" appeal.

Best Buy Website

Best Buy Twitter

Best Buy IPhone

Best Buy Store

Can you see how Best Buy uses its logo in addition to color, typefaces and layout to achieve its presence? Consistency doesn't have to mean that everything looks the same, only that they abide by the same principles you choose to define. The result is a clearly defined experience for their customers and a stronger brand presence in the marketplace. 



New Starbucks Ident Launches Today

Posted by Hanan Wilson on Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Starbucks Launch

As the official 40th anniversary of the coffee giant, Starbucks, the company has chosen to launch an all new "wordless" logo. Going a more minimalistic route, Starbucks' new duds feature an unshakable version of their infamous mermaid with all the words removed from it. A bold move to be sure, but one not so different than Nike's swoosh or McDonald's golden arches. It definitely conveys a confidence in both the brand and in the loyalty of its customer.

Starbucks Launch

The mermaid herself has also received a few nips and tucks according to Senior Creative Manager of Starbucks in-house team, Mike P, "...we enhanced her form in subtle ways, smoothing her hair, refining her facial features, weighting the scales on her tail to bring the focus to her face. We enlisted the branding firm of Lippincott to help with these refinements, and give us a better global perspective on the entire identity system."

Starbucks Launch

As a design element, this new evolution is a beautiful step in the right direction and looks simply amazing on the company's collateral materials (cups, bags, products, etc). Starbucks is probably one of the few exceptions (alongside those mentioned above) that has enough reach and recognition to pull something like this off and it's refreshing to see someone taking such a bold creative step towards creating something different.

So, what do you think? Like it? Hate it?


5 Foundations for Successful Web Design

Posted by on Monday, December 20, 2010

Foundations for Web Design

I recently read a great article on American Express' OPEN Forum site that discussed how important web design is to a person's online customer experience. These could be customers coming to your site to buy products or services or simply people looking for more information on who you are and what you do. Regardless, the importance that your website design has is no different. Both large companies and small can suffer equally from a design that is either poorly developed or amateurishly executed.

The article I read, written by Matt Silverman of Mashable, went on to discuss several samples of small business websites that professional web designers selected as not only some the better looking small business websites, but the most effective as well. Though many of the sites chosen for that article were from larger cities all across the world, it got me thinking of what fundamental elements they had in common.

Among the most referenced compliment towards these sites, each designer noted how effectively the sites' design conveyed an overall personality or "feel." More specifically, each design used a combination of "colors, typography, textures, and photography" to express it's desired appeal. This appeal could be luxury, simplicity, or simply an appreciation for customer satisfaction but the real key is that they each strike a chord with their intended target audience.

It's crucial not to overstate the importance of any one element to create this affect. As such, the following is a list of the most common elements which work together to form a strong brand message and thus a better user experience.



Although an awesome logo alone will not provide enough resonance with a visitor to create that sense of trust or entertainment, the time invested in a logo that speaks to your core audience will reassure them that they can trust you.

Header/Hero Image

Hero Image

A strong header graphic (or rotation of images) should convey a consistent brand message to customers. Think of this image (or images) as bullet points in your company's core characteristics. Each header should be indicative of a different part of your overall culture both in its imagery and any text that might be included.



Background Image

Often times, a website's background can be used to add an additional level of depth to a customer's experience. For instance, in the example above with Half Shell Oyster, we brought the restaurant's laid-back, coastal them into the background which not only created a richer experience while viewing it, but also helps to further communicate the company's culture.



Believe it or not, the style of typography (or fonts) you use both on your website and in your marketing materials can say a lot about you (whether you intend it to or not). For the most part, serif fonts (those with the little edges on them like Times New Roman) are often used by businesses to project a more authoritative position in the minds of customers. This style of font is often used by larger organizations such as law firms, investment companies, banks, etc.

Another important factor to consider when selecting fonts is size. The larger a font is depicted the more urgent and "louder" your message is perceived. Of course, no one likes to be screamed at all the time so it's best to use such devices sparingly.


Website Colors

Finally, colors have quite a large impact on a visitor's experience on a psychological level. That's not to say that there exists some magical color palette which will trick people into buying your goods and services, moreso it infers that we (as humans) have developed a sense of color-oriented instinct that provides us with certain clues in dealing with a given situation. As an example, traffic lights are all built with three different colors: green (go), yellow (caution), and red (danger). These cues are generally universal and, to some degree, also affect how a person can view your website.

Though there are exceptions to every rule, the behavioral patterns associated with color is for the most part consistent; warm colors such as red, yellow, and orange signify a fight or flight response while cool colors provide a more soothing and less urgent atmosphere. No color choice is either wrong or right, however, it should nonetheless be a deciding factor when planning you web design. 

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