In every entry level marketing class the 4 P’s of the marketing mix are always mentioned.
(Say it with me: Product, Price, Place and Promotion.)
However, I’ve found that the 4M’s of marketing make more sense in many business and organization’s marketing plans:
Market, Message, Media and Measurement
- A well defined target market that your sales people know and love, your copywriter can picture and anyone who refers your products and services can recognize in an instant.
- The well defined message statement describing why your potential customer wants to do business with your company in a repeatable, memorable, compelling way
- A cost-effective way to communicate the message statement to the target market — communication media doesn’t have to be TV or newspapers. Although TV advertising will always be the perfect example of TV marketing as it has stood the test of time and changing media, it doesn’t have to be your only choice nowadays. What about social media, signage, table tents, postcards or shopping cart ads? There are probably 2,000 different choices.
- Knowledge is power when you know your marketing is effective. How do you know? By measuring the results over time, against prior results.
I was reminded of the 4 M’s this morning as I read business advice in the New York Times intended for small business owners about the 10 steps they should take to Diagnose What’s Wrong With Your Business. They only had 3 of my 4 M’s and mixed up the order, but there it was.
1. Targeting. Do you have a strategy to reach your best potential customers with your sales and marketing efforts? As there are many ways to get your message across to a specific target audience, you need to think about what method will be best for the needs of your business, but most importantly, your audience. From direct mail marketing to improve brand awareness, to digital marketing, it is important to remember that there are ways of achieving your business goals.
A shotgun approach is too expensive and inefficient for any company, especially a small one. What percentage of the people you approach actually buy a product or service like yours?
2. Advertising and Public Relations. There are many choices for where to place an ad and how to execute a public relations campaign. The problem with many small businesses is that their marketing activities are driven primarily by which salespeople happen to call on them. Ineffective advertising or public relations can be not only a tremendous waste of money but a tremendous waste of opportunity. If you are doing things the same way you did them 10 years ago, you are probably getting less response.
3. The Message. Lots of companies still use this line: “We will exceed your expectations.” I even saw it on the back of an ambulance. (I don’t know about you, but I have pretty high expectations when I call an ambulance! Are the technicians going to give me a haircut after they bring me back to life?) It was a good line when someone first thought of it. Now, it is old. It is tired. It needs to retire. You need to exceed people’s expectations by coming up with your own line. Maybe it is not a line at all. Maybe it is a message. Whatever it is, it should say something about your company that means something to potential customers.
I’ve talked about the 4 M’s for a long time in Branding & Marketing, but I think it holds true today.
Do you agree? Leave a comment below.