While there are many innovative and creative ways to market your business and products, many companies stick to the foundational principles of marketing to sell their goods. There are around seven generally agreed-upon marketing principles, though some would tell you that there are just four. Understanding what these principles are and how to use them to shift more products is essential as it not only sets you up for short-term success but equips you with a long-term plan that can sustain your success over time – one of the hardest things to do in business.
What are the principles of marketing?
Conveniently, all the marketing principles – whether you believe that there are four or seven – begin with the letter ‘p’.
This makes it exceptionally easy to remember, so the next time you’re in a marketing strategy meeting, you can quickly bring to mind the various principles.
Now let’s take a closer look on the 7 principles of marketing:
The number one factor to consider for any marketing strategy is, of course, the product.
After all, it’s what will be at the center of your marketing campaign, so you need to pay special attention to it.
So, what can we ascertain about products that will help drive sales and lead to company growth?
For a start, we need to consider if the product is suitable for the market.
Not only does that mean you will need to conduct thorough market research to see if there’s space for it, but it also means that you need to consider consumer purchase trends and factors such as climate change or pandemics that wreak havoc on some markets while boosting others.
The kind of research you should do should revolve mainly around what you perceive your closest competition to be. You want to see which keywords they rank for, and how you can differentiate your product from theirs based on what their customers say about cost-effectiveness, quality, and what needs it satisfies.
You also need to be brutally honest and audit your existing products to see if they are still viable in today’s market. For example, if your product is jostling for position in an overcrowded market and doesn’t necessarily have a strong USP, then it might be worth considering pulling it or repositioning it in the market.
It’s hard to overestimate the effect that rebranding can have, so if you feel like your product isn’t getting the reception you’d like, then it might be time to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new, more convincing angle.
Price is another hugely influential factor in marketing.
If you overprice your product, it’s going to be a tough sell. Yet if you undervalue it, you could be short-changing yourself and unnecessarily lowering your profit margins.
It’s not as easy as settling on a price that you believe makes sense for your product, though, since you also have to consider the price points of the competition. If you come to market with a product that’s more expensive than the competition and doesn’t offer a lot more in the way of features or quality, then why should consumers choose it?
As such, you need to be adaptable. You need to know when it’s right to raise your prices and when you should lower them. You should also consider sales and promotions since this can draw in a lot of extra sales – especially when timed well around holidays or other important times throughout the year such as payday.
If you notice that your sales figures aren’t hitting your expectations, it might not be the product that’s the problem, but the price.
How can you tell?
Customer reviews are a reliable resource for honest feedback on product pricing, so head to a popular review platform and from there find your product and search user reviews for words such as ‘price,’ ‘cost,’ and ‘expensive.’
Place refers to how/where your product is sold.
These days, it’s increasingly common to sell products through eCommerce stores online, but brick-and-mortar stores are still, of course, still alive and kicking too and capitalize on the footfall in towns and cities.
If you’re unsatisfied with your current sales figures, could it be that you’re simply selling it in the wrong place?
Imagine you own a tech products store and you sell gadgets and gizmos at a store in the city, but you notice a sharp drop in sales. Could it be that consumers have found an easier way to buy the same products online? Or that through unforeseen circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic they are forced to buy online?
It’s always worth considering opening up an eCommerce store to increase sales, but there are other options too. Consider heading to trade shows, telemarketing, or listing your products in catalogs to increase visibility and hopefully spark further interest which lead to sales.
Promotion is a word that some customers loathe, since it encapsulates everything a company does to get their product or services seen. That often includes offensive marketing that’s hard to ignore, such as those adverts on TV you can’t get out of your head, or those promotional emails that promise you the world.
As such, if you’re trying to improve your marketing efforts, promotion is important yet tricky to get right. You don’t want to come across as desperate or pushy with aggressive in-your-face sales techniques.
So what should you do to promote your products?
Try hiring a copywriter to deliver a well-crafted message to your existing customer base via an email newsletter. Or maybe renting out a billboard in a busy part of the city could be best for getting the word out there.
Think outside the box, and rather than resorting to the most obvious ways to promote your services, try to reach existing and new customers with novel approaches.
Consumers are people, not numbers.
While it’s easy to think of your customers as statistics and data that you can use to boost sales, at the end of the day they are your neighbor, your doctor, and your local bus driver.
As such, your marketing efforts need to resonate and strike a chord with people in a human way.
Popular marketing company HubSpot refers to an ‘ideal buyer persona’ that is a useful idea for companies who are looking to humanize their marketing attempts. To get this persona, you want to imagine who your average customer is in excruciating detail. Use existing sales data to figure out what their buying habits are, how they think, and what kind of questions they want answers to or problems they want solved.
Create a vivid picture of your target audience and this can shape the direction of your marketing. Maybe your marketing isn’t quite hitting the mark because you are thinking too much about the words you use and not enough about the person that’s going to read or hear them.
6. Physical Environment
The physical environment or evidence refers to what your customers see regarding your business and products.
For example, how you package your products and how you present your store whether it’s physical or an online eCommerce website.
How you present yourself to your customers counts for a lot in business, so you need to make sure you get it right.
Again, this comes back to your ‘ideal buyer persona’, as you need to make sure that you have your audience in mind whenever you are developing your company/brand image.
Is your website easy to navigate? Does the copy convince the reader to invest in one of your products or services? Can a customer walk into your store and easily find what they’re looking for?
These are questions you need to answer if you want to enhance your sales and improve your perception in the eyes of the all-important consumers.
The process generally refers to how you do business.
If you sell a physical product, how do you store and deliver that product to the customer? Do you have a brick-and-mortar store with sales staff or do you have an online store where customers can browse and buy products conveniently from home?
If you want your marketing efforts to hit home, you need to optimize the process as much as humanly possible.
For example, if you pride yourself on sustainability and offer eco-friendly products, then you need your process to reflect that. This way, you will guarantee social proof for your product since customers will see that your process aligns with your marketing surrounding the product. Nobody wants to buy a product only to feel as if they’ve been tricked with (false) clever marketing.