Our marketing classes in college taught us about 4 Ps of Marketing – the guiding tenets of Product, Place, Pricing and Promotions – to help create our marketing strategies and plans.
But the world – and marketing – has changed and that list now needs to be expanded to encompass new ways of thinking about and planning for marketing. The four newest Ps include:
People: Thinking about your employees is more than just your marketing team’s talent and your salespeople’s selling skills, though those two groups are vitally important. Any employee who ‘touches’ a client or prospective client falls into this category. Are they prepared to talk to clients about your firm and its services? Do they understand the process for handling client interactions? Do they have the communication skills to be effective? Is there any training required to make them better? Are they empowered to act on the company’s behalf? Do they live the brand?
Process: Do your marketing personnel have a process to follow? Are they strategic? Are they proactive? Do they create and follow a plan and budget… and then report against it? Are they measuring their efforts? Same goes for your sales team… do they have a plan? Do they prioritize their clients? Are they recording/tracking their efforts? Is there a plan for generating and nurturing leads? Is there a clear territory and commission plan in place?
Permission: It used to be that between advertising and direct mail, you could almost beat a prospective buyer into submission and turn them into a client. But starting with the advent of email, followed by spamming rules and now with social media, interacting with a prospective buyer requires getting permission to communicate with them. Do you have a process for doing that? Are you actively inviting clients to ‘sign on?’ Is it easy for new clients to get ‘on the list?’ Do you safeguard client data and not share it? How do you handle clients that want off your list (hint: it should be as easy to get off as it was to get on)?
Positioning: Maybe the most important of these additional Ps, positioning relates to your brand in the marketplace and specifically, defining and communicating that one thing that sets your firm apart from your competition. In Sales parlance, it’s been called the USP – Unique Selling Proposition. This is not a catchy marketing slogan or promotional campaign that changes regularly, but gets to the core of who you are, what you do and what your clients should expect when working with you. Do you have a unique position? Do you know what it is? Do you know what your clients believe it is? Do you aspire to a position you don’t yet have… and have a plan for getting there?
As you go about setting your marketing strategy, use the 8 Ps as sort of a checklist… to make sure you take the time to think through all facets of your business before making your final decisions.