Product (or service), Place (distribution), Price, and Promotion: Historically, these elements have made up the marketing mix, the first step in crafting a marketing plan for any business selling products and services.
For both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) companies, the model has changed over time. According to the Harvard Business Review, the emphasis (especially for B2B) has shifted from products to solutions, from place to access, from price to value, and from promotion to education.
The new paradigm begins with the concept of Preference: Identifying what the customer wants and needs is essential if you plan to deliver solutions that address those needs. Understanding your market thoroughly means knowing what the customers in that market are really seeking. It’s a solutions approach versus a product approach. When Apple introduced the iPod, for example, they took a good look at what the market wanted: portable music. What Apple delivered was a solution, packaged as a product.
To understand the market and what customers in that market really want, do the research, gather the data, and analyze it. Get to know your customers. Interface with them on many levels. If you sell aircraft, for instance, research the buyers, but also the frequent (and infrequent) fliers, pilots, flight attendants, and maintenance crews. Listen to them. Learn from them. Put yourself in their shoes. Doing so demonstrates a solutions mindset and may lead to unmined opportunities.
Making the customer your main focus includes Personalization – everywhere from emails to self-service. Let your customers self-select the marketing they receive and the way they receive it. Make it a dialog, and give plenty of options. Then, use that data to customize your marketing activities as well as the products and services you promote. What you’re doing is giving customers access (in the B2C mode, it’s knows as Place). Access: Often, the same offering will fit different customers, yet make it so because they selected it as opposed to they had no choice.
Perform and deliver
Unless you can deliver, your marketing is nothing more than noise. So it’s all about Performance: Take the time and effort needed to motivate and support your product teams, operations, fulfillment, customer service, and training. And make sure the performance continues after the sale.
In the end, it’s all about collaboration between marketing and sales and development and delivery, and the superior performance becomes a robust case for the value of the solutions.
Get your message out to the target audience – every way and everywhere you can. It’s still promotion, but it’s delivered in a new way: Pervasively and incrementally . You may not have to spend much in the way of traditional marketing dollars to do so, because the internet allows you to growth hack.
Writing in Forbes, George Deeb defines growth hacking as “the intersection between marketing and technology.” It includes everything you can do and track related to website design, analytics, content creation, social posts, email and landing page templates, and search engine optimization. Using A/B testing, you can experiment and improve until you find an answer that leads to viral growth.
For content creation, consider using an approach I previously wrote about called “contextual incremental marketing:” delivering the right content, to the right people, at the right time as a way to sustain your message in digestible chunks that are more likely to sink in over time. Leverage your customers as a marketing channel, because when they’re successful, they’re your most credible spokespeople. Spend at least a portion of your marketing efforts teasing out their accolades and sharing their stories.
In addition, leverage social influencers, blogs, crowdsourcing, partners, affiliates, analysts, review sites, and local community efforts to spread your word. In other words, use your digital network to your maximum advantage.
To automate your efforts and put to work these new Four P’s of marketing, you’ll need a trusted solution that is built to be customer-centric and contextual, to personalize each interaction for the individual, can scale and perform in real-time, and pervasively promotes your products and services using a next best action approach.
Learn more about Pega Marketing.