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It might seem like a contradiction—having killer marketing while not doing any sort of actual advertising—but it’s perfectly possible, happens all the time and ultimately opens up a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to thinking about marketing, says our content marketing whizz Hayden Shearman.
In my first week of university, my Marketing 101 paper at business school introduced us to marketing’s four Ps, they are:
The first P tends to dominate the spotlight when it comes to our marketing efforts—boiling it down to just advertising. But marketing should take us deeper into the realm of truly understanding our target customers and the market we’re operating within. This means that, beyond just thinking about spreading the word, we’re also looking to present the right product, at the right place and time, at the right price.
With this wholistic view of marketing, we can quickly see how nailing our products, placements and pricing can multiply our efforts in advertising … or even do away with it entirely.
Here are some examples …
The New York bakery that famously invented the cronut developed a product that negated the need for any advertising. The irresistible genius blend of croissant and donut was so remarkable that customers told everyone about it, so much so that it broke the internet several times over.
Asking yourself how remarkable your product is a great litmus test for how on-point your product marketing efforts are. Think of Apple, Tesla, Chanel … all are products that people love and, more importantly, that they love to tell others about. A remarkable product is a marketable product.
A cafe on a busy street corner will most likely never have to pay for an advert (assuming their espresso is better than my hack attempts on the office coffee machine!). So, too, a hip bar or whiskey lounge down a maze-like urban alleyway may not receive much in the way of foot traffic but scores very highly on the remarkable-scale because of the exclusivity that the hidden location creates. Similarly a chewing gum brand or handy car phone charger positioned at supermarket or petrol station checkouts has all the marketing it needs, being right in front of the waiting customer.
Is your product a convenience or luxury item? If convenience, then focus on securing those convenient distribution outlets that coffee and chewing gum require. If luxury, then make your distribution approach luxurious as well.
Here are some other placement questions to consider: Can your product be sold online? If you’re in the service industry, how can you use placement to improve the experience of your clients and further encourage purchase (e.g. a physiotherapist who does home visits for those who can’t make to the clinic)? Could that busy corner cafe also have a coffee cart at markets and sporting events to cover the quiet weekends when workers are not around the cafe? Are deliveries an option?
Kiwis are more responsive to sales and discounts than any other consumers on the planet. We love a good Boxing Day Sale or end of season clear out and primetime advertising is naggingly full “must go” promotions. But here’s the catch with price marketing: the reduction of margins means we need a lot more feet through the door, which in turn demands the need to promote the sale. So, it’s difficult for a price promotion, on its own, to cut above the noise of all the other price cuts around to have the uplift in profit that we’re looking for. But there are examples of price marketing strategies working on their own …
The one I love is the five-cent-accountant in the States. The story goes that a junior accountant lost his job at a larger practice and decided to out on his own. His marketing approach was to offer a one-hour, obligation-free financial consult to new clients for only five cents. The media got wind of this ingenious offer and he was featured on CNN and other mainstream US media. Business boomed with many of the five-cent consults turning into full paying, long-term clients.
The same model is adopted by many online platforms and apps that offer 30-day free trials or starter packages before diving into full membership. This gets people in the door, demonstrates the product or service, builds trust and value, and eventually wins a customer over to open their wallet. Rather than trying to buy credibility within your target market through hopefully persuasive advertising, you’re winning that credibility through a generous initial offer that may not actually cost you that much (particularly compared to the advertising dollars you’ve just saved).
So, there you have it, marketing should go well beyond buying some newspaper ads and throwing money blindly at Google or Facebook ads. Wholistic marketing is a mindset that considers all aspects of your business and tailors the whole package to the customer. It starts with understanding you customer creating a product that they truly value, offering it at the right location and price, and, only once all of these are in place, letting them know about it through good advertising.
Want to brainstorm your marketing strategy?
Sick of expensive advertising not converting?
And I’ll go one better than the five cent accountant … coffee’s on me!