by Sarah Mayer, Shift partner + owner
I think one of the hardest things for companies to figure out is where they should be marketing their product or service these days. Indeed there an overwhelming amount of channels to send your messages through.
I say, begin by identifying the right marketing mix. The original 4 P’s of the marketing mix are – product (or service), price, promotion, and place. The updated, contemporary version adds on three more P words – people, process, physical evidence. Take the time to work through each of these areas. This will ensure your marketing dollars are being put towards the right things.
Take your average small business owner, let’s say an auto repair shop. They have for the most part probably driven leads by traditional methods – word of mouth, signage, print advertising, maybe radio, or outdoor. Well, these days word of mouth has turned social and people are making decisions based on what their friends and family recommend, how informative a website is, how easy it is to get and receive information online, and whether or not the business has invested time in their social media. So, the auto repair shop owner is realizing the lack of digital strategies in their marketing mix.
Marketing Mix Example
Coincidentally, we met with an auto repair shop owner who has been in business for over 20 years on a busy highway. They have in their favor a great location, quality service to stand behind, competitive pricing, and a large (yet aging) customer base. The biggest concern for them is that they are spending money on traditional methods like print advertising that are not working as well as they used to. They also have a very large customer database that is gathering dust.
We recommend investing in a more content-rich website to drive up visibility in search engines, increasing social media presence perhaps sharing tips on car care to establish credibility, marketing to their database through mail such as sending reminders when it’s time for an oil change, emailing them a coupon for the annual inspection or asking them to review their experience, and lastly developing a referral program to reward loyal customers. These suggestions would create a diverse marketing plan that addresses the 7 Ps.
Marketing Strategy Tips
There are no cookie-cutter marketing plans. You have to do the work to get to the right strategy in place and then consistently evaluate that strategy. By measuring what’s working and adjust what’s not, you’ll eventually get a refined set of tactics that work.
- Find out everything about your customers, after all they are purchasing your product or service. It’s much more cost effective to market to your current customers and so your marketing mix should include tactics aimed at driving repeat purchases.
- Diversify your marketing channels in order to reach your targeted audience. The plan should include tactics in both digital and offline spaces. How many digital versus traditional tactics you include depends on your target audience. See first bullet point…know thy customer and that will help you find similar customers.
- Look for opportunities to have a genuine connection with your customers. People have less and less time these days, but a good story will compel people to engage. Consider the type of content that would interest a current or new customer and test the waters. Draft a case study or shoot a video with a current customer willing to share their experience. Distribute the content directly to the target audience and see how it does. Did it produce any immediate action? Did you receive comments or feedback that they enjoyed the content? If so, you’re on the right track.
- Engage with customers either by listening and talking, or just listening. Use the knowledge gained to improve your product or to inform your content strategy.
- Set up realistic and clear success measures for each tactic in your marketing strategy. You can measure digital marketing efforts very closely, but there are lots of ways to track performance of traditional tactics as well. Measure results and then adjust as you go because marketing is always evolving.
Looking for a new perspective on your marketing mix? We can certainly help you with that—give us a shout.