Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa.

This website is a compilation of Ray's 10 years on the Web.

Baker's Dozen INDEX

13 "New" Ways to Look at the Planning Process

Everyone who took a basic marketing class at school learned the 4 P's of Marketing;

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion

A decade ago I tackled this issue - and built a list of "9ine P's" (yes, spelled that way, too!). It was okay for a while ... yet, it's now time for an update and an upgrade.

In my opinion 4 was never right - and even when you added a few more there were holes. My list of only 9 was frequently challenged ... often with a sound suggestion for an addition.

So, it is time for a complete "new" list. Here it is ... The Baker's Dozen ... 13 "New" Ways to Look at the Planning Process.

P #1. People come first

It's hard to fight with this thought. Yet, People as a category has not been on any list of "P's". Instead, we "assume" the audience, the marketplace, the People who can buy what you sell, are part of the formula. The equation.

It is wrong to assume! As everyone who has been in the marketing, advertising, sales promotion, public relations or merchandising arena for a day or two knows, it is the right People who make things happen.

And no matter your media, too; mail / print / broadcast / "E" / special events ... whatever it is and in whatever combination, getting to the right People is mandatory. It is not optional - it is the key factor in marketing success.

People DO come first.

P #2. Your Product fulfills a need

In times past, products and services were created, manufactured and sold, with little effort.

Business was always good immediately following a long economic downturn. Or a war. When a "new" country is born. Anytime there is strong demand for different, new, unique - almost everything sells well.

For much of the 3 decades beginning in 1960, through most of the 1980's, marketers asked what their customers needed, and then provided it. There was very little "here it is, take it or leave it" attitude. Suppliers listened to buyers.

Then came the '90's. That decade, and early into the 21st Century, were different. The so called dot.coms, and many like them, acted as if whatever they tossed in the air would achieve bundles of success. And profit. We all know, with rare exception, that philosophy did not work.

So, what's the bottom line? The bottom line is whatever you bring to market must fulfill some need of your customer. More than a want. Or a hope or desire. It must meet a true need. And your widget must do something for the customer they can't get elsewhere.

The second P is your Product fulfills a need. It must.

P #3. Have Passion for what you offer

Other than in "R" rated movies, the word Passion isn't heard much these days. And what a shame.

When you really believe in your product, your service and what you offer to your marketplace, it will show. Passion comes across in words, content, attention to detail. It is listening to the customer. It is walking the extra mile. Upping the offer, faster delivery, ultimate value. It is all a part of customer service.

And it is attitude. What customers hear and see in the people of your organization.

Express honest Passion and you will increase your business. As it will show you truly care about people.

P #4. What is the Purpose?

Purpose is a good question. What IS the purpose of your product, your service? What does it do that your customer just can't live without?

Ask - listen - learn ... and when you know the Purpose as your customers see it, you're ready to market ... to sell. Based on what you now understand, ask and answer a few Purpose questions;

... why would anyone need what I offer?

... how is my product really used?

... what objective / solution does it fulfill?

Purpose is a good place to do a features / benefits analysis. As people do not buy red buttons -- they buy what happens when you push red buttons. They buy results.

Know what Purpose you bring to the marketplace is P #4.

P #5. ... and level of Performance?

Comparing what you offer to others in the marketplace is what your customer will do. You might as well do it - first.

Performance is relative. There is a place for the finest quality ... a mid-range ... a less than wonderful.

So, just as you must know the purpose, you must also know the Performance levels you bring to market. This relates back to people - where your Performance fits in the mix of options available. What needs are fulfilled.

What your Performance standards are is not nearly as important as making them clear to your buyer. So there are no surprises - no disappointments. Every expectation your customer has must be met. With total satisfaction.

Know your level of Performance - make sure your customer knows, too.

P #6. Your Potential affects your marketing

Marketing is a numbers business. Potential is all about numbers.

No one has too much business. They may have too much business at the end of the month. Or beginning of the quarter. Or on Tuesday. Or between 5pm and 7pm each week-day. Yet, there is no such thing as "too much business."

And, no one has infinite Potential, either. As, no matter your product, not everyone is going to need it. Marketing success is measured by numbers. Thus, you need to get a thorough understanding of a few. Numbers such as . . .

... how many customers do you have today

... what do they buy from you

... what could they buy from you

... what is the Life Time Value of your best customers

... what will it take to make more of your customers "best" customers

... how many prospects are in your marketplace

... what are they buying from others they could buy from you

... what will it take to convert these prospects to your customers,

and a host more. You get the idea.

Before you set marketing and sales objectives you must have an idea about Potential. Ask and answer this laundry list of questions - and you're well on your way to achievement.

P #7. The Place affects your marketing

Place is convenience. It is geography. It is options on how to do business with you.

How can your customer buy from you? What options do you offer? Can they order over the telephone? By sending a fax? Or an E-mail? Off your web site? Maybe by traditional direct mail - a mail-order operation?

Must they come to a store location? Or a boutique within a box story? How about at a trade show? Or other special event ... a seminar or industry happening? Will you hit the road and visit 1:1 with your customer in their Place - not only yours?

Place is also 24 / 7 / 365 ... anywhere at anytime.

Place can be very important for some people - not so for others. Place can be a factor for certain types of exchanges, and not for others.

Place does affect your marketing. Know that. Address it.

P #8. Yes, Price is always a consideration

Price has always been an issue. It always will be an issue. Yet, it is rarely, if ever!, THE issue. It is just another consideration in the collection of considerations the buyer makes.

Because Price is a quickly measurable item, many tend to focus on it. As you can "see" the Price. It appears high, or low, or just right. It includes extra value, or not. It is more, or less, than last year. Compared to others it is _____ , fill in the blank. It is something to the buyer.

Price affects your marketing, too. If your product is high-end, your marketing must be high-end. If you're at the other end of the spectrum, then your marketing must reflect what you are. If you're Rolex or Ferrari your marketing had better look rich. If you're the Salvation Army or Dollar Stores, you'll do better looking poor.

Yes, Price IS always a consideration.

P #9. And Promotion will affect results, too

How your Promotion reaches your audience will affect your results. Meaning, how you tell your story to your marketplace will make a difference.

In many cases your choice of Promotion is easy to determine. If you sell B-2-B and have only a few hundred or thousand customers or prospects, you will quickly eliminate broadcast, national magazines and newspapers.

Instead you'll look at E-Mail Marketing, selected specific newsletters, maybe a regional industry trade show, and targeted direct mail. Each to drive your market to your WWW site. You may follow-up all response with a fax message and a telemarketing chase.

No matter your media selection, your Promotion must include 2 key factors;

#1). a multi-effort, a series of contacts to the same audience, with the same message and offer, and
# 2). a multi-media campaign ... a mix of media, each carrying your same message and offer to the same audience.

Repetition builds your reputation. Your selection of Promotion will affect your results.

P #10. Enjoy the added value of Pass-A-Long

Word of mouth, around since Adam and Eve, may still be the best "advertising". Where someone suggests to another they try what you offer. We call it Pass-A-Long.

In the multi-media world of today, "word of mouth" recommendations are back. Pass-A-Long is a fact. If the concept died during the mass-media rush of the last half of the 20th Century, it is alive and very well today. Especially with E-Mail and the Web.

In fact, Pass-A-Long is so "alive", some are dying from it. What do I mean? With the advantages of the Web come instant communication. Which simply means, screw-up, do damage, perceived or real, to a customer or prospect, friend or foe - and there is a good chance the "world" will know about. Frequently before you do.

How's that? It's easy; chat rooms, message boards, web sites, E-Mail are quick. And whatever you've done, or not, can be news circling the globe before you say "Jack be nimble, Jack be quick".

A standard for direct marketing has been - and still is - case history stories. Where you tell a story to make a point. To support your case. And testimonials. Where others say nice things about you that you share with your potential marketplace. Both - cases and testimonials - are a version of Pass-A-Long. Use them.

And get involved in the "E" world, too. Pass-A-Long your own added value story through all channels available. Remember, word of mouth is again a strong form of marketing.

P #11. Your Position in the marketplace is important

Some feel Position is only for the big boys. Not so.

Your size is not important to your Position. You could be a single location dry cleaners and hold the leading Position in your city. You could be a collection of mid-price range family restaurants, and known through-out your region. You may be a small company, providing a niche business market a unique service. Not available from other companies much larger than you. In each instance you have "the" Position.

Position is many things ... including image and awareness. How you are "seen" by your audience. Are you at the top of the ladder - - in the middle - - toward the bottom?

Know, for a fact, you are somewhere. Like it or not, you have a Position. Because your audience put you there. "Where" you are is not nearly as important as you recognize where you are. And act and perform like you belong where you are.

What if you don't like your Position, and wish to change it - can you do it? Sure. Although it will take resources, the many resources of time, money, people. As most often you have truly "earned" your Position. You don't adopt a Position - you earn it. Over time. To change it will take time, too.

Your Position in your marketplace may make the difference between making it, or not. Know your Position.

P #12. PRACTICE - Practice - practice ... TEST, Test, test

Something nearly out of fashion is Practice. The word for the collection of thoughts covering testing and measuring.

Okay, let's cut to the quick; why Practice? Because you will learn what your audience expects. You will learn how to reach your marketplace with the best offer. You will experience "live" examples with real customers making decisions. In real time. You will know, not guess, what gets you a buyer, and what loses you an order.

Let's define Practice. Let's start off with what it's not; it's not another way of marketing. And when you are not successful, it is not failure. Instead, when you Practice you learn a lesson. You understand, even thou you may have thought otherwise, your buyers are thinking "this way". Or "that way".

To Practice is to WOW your marketplace. Because most of your competition is not. They are not asking, listening, understanding, responding. You are. Others are just "doing". From the gut. Instead, you are testing, measuring, and going back to market with what you know. Because your audience told you.

PRACTICE - Practice - practice.

P #13. The final measure is Profit!

The real bottom line is Profit. Did you make it - or did you not.

Eventually, you must make a Profit. This is not an option. It is mandatory. Period. PERIOD! Without Profit you can't support the local Boys Club. Or contribute to the hospital. Or make a donation to United Way. Or Save the Whales. It may not be "sexy", yet without Profit not much of anything happens.

Marketing is hard work. Fun ... still, work. To have it work to the max - to work hand in glove with sales - takes resources. It takes time to think. To plan. To organize yourself for marketing success.

And there is no short cut to the final measure ... Profit. It takes the dozen points noted here, all working together, to give you Profit. Know that. Do it. All of it.

That's it. Let's close with a fast summary. As you go through the process of planning your marketing programs, and then as you revise, revise, revise them (as you will!), think the 13 "New" Ways to Look at the Planning Process;

  • P #1. People
  • P #2. Product
  • P #3. Passion
  • P #4. Purpose
  • P #5. Performance
  • P #6. Potential
  • P #7. Place
  • P #8. Price
  • P #9. Promotion
  • P #10. Pass-A-Long
  • P #11. Position
  • P #12. Practice
  • P #13. Profit

My best marketing wishes to you.

Baker's Dozen INDEX

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