Rethinking your Small Business Marketing Mix
Much is made these days about the digital nature of marketing your small business – an amazing website, being found online with good SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and allocating a portion of your marketing spend to Google Ads. While these are all valid ways to grow your small business, many business owners tend to overlook the broader scope of the marketing mix. As you may have seen in our previous articles, great marketing isn’t a set-and-forget task. It takes considered planning and strategy, consistent execution, reporting and data analysis, and re-evaluation. So, when it’s time to revisit your marketing strategy, think about the different ways you can put your business in front of potential customers, and how you can generate a steady stream of quality leads.
Small Business Marketing Mix – A Quick Overview
Before we dive in too far, let’s define what marketing mix means for those unfamiliar. An easy way to remember the different aspects of the marketing mix is the four P’s – Product, Price, Place, Promotion. These four sections make up the set of actions and factors that influence a business’ actions in promoting a brand or product. Here’s a quick definition for each:
- Product: What the business sells (product or service). This includes the features, benefits, design, packaging, and even guarantees or warranties of what you sell.
- Price: Decisions regarding list pricing, special offers, credit payments, or credit terms. This captures both the financial outlay for your customer, as well as other incidental costs (e.g. their time spent buying the product)
- Place: Where the product is available for purchase (e.g. retail store, online store, logistical channels)
- Promotion: The marketing communications involved in reaching customers and persuading them to purchase or find out more about your product or business (e.g. online advertising, public relations, direct selling, sales promotions)
Small Business Marketing Mix – Evaluating your Current State
In order to make informed decisions about where to allocate your marketing budget, you first need to understand what your strategy is now and evaluate its success. If you aren’t currently undertaking any form of marketing, then this part is pretty easy. However, if you are advertising your business, there is some important data you can gather to accurately evaluate your present state. First of all, look at how much you’re spending on the different areas of your marketing mix. Following that, evaluate the percentage of qualified incoming leads each part of the mix generates for you, as well as the value of those leads. With this information you should have a relatively accurate idea of your current return on investment (ROI) for each part of your marketing strategy. Then, when it comes to deciding where to apportion spending in the future, you’ll be able to maximise your ROI by finding prospective customers in the right place, and in the right manner.
Small Business Marketing Mix – Finding your Audience
This part draws predominantly on Place and Promotion in your marketing mix. In order to increase the number of qualified leads you get for your business, you need to advertise and position your products in a way that appeals to your target market. For instance, if you run a Lamborghini dealership, putting up flyers in the recreation room of your local nursing home probably won’t gain you many customers. However, sponsoring a corporate event like a charity ball likely to be attended by wealthy businesspeople has a much greater chance of turning into a sale or two. While a slightly absurd example, it should highlight how different forms of promotion in different places influences the ROI of your marketing strategy.
For your business, consider where your customers are likely to be, and how they might find your products or services. You could create a customer profile based on your experience dealing with customers in your business, or perhaps simply ask customers where they found you (this works best when incorporated into the pre-sales or after-sales process). Most importantly, do this research for yourself – just because other businesses in your industry are promoting themselves in a certain manner or location, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best way to go about it. You may even stumble upon an innovative way of marketing your business that puts you at a tremendous advantage over your competition.
Promotion – Sticking or Twisting
Looking closer now at the Promotion aspect of your marketing mix, an important thing to remember is that modern, digital advertising isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of marketing in the 21st century. While online advertising and SEO are fantastic lead generators, and having a great website is a must for just about all businesses, sometimes the older-style methods of putting your name out there are forgotten. These include flyer and newsletter production, trade shows, networking events, outdoor advertising (billboards, street signage etc.) and much more. Drawing on some of the notes above, to execute a great marketing strategy you need to find customers where they are.
The following real-life case study of a McKinley Plowman client is a great example of how repositioning the methods by which advertising was undertaken yielded excellent results. For a long time, this client advertised sporadically on Facebook, with minimal success and a slow stream of largely unqualified leads. Based on these results, the money put into advertising online wasn’t resulting in any return on investment, and a change of thinking was required. We stepped in and developed a suite of flyers and business card fridge magnets, which were then dropped into a few thousand letterboxes around the client’s local area. Within a few weeks, this initial outlay of a few hundred dollars resulted in over $10,000 worth of business being generated – all because we changed tact and switched up our methods of advertising.
While we’re only scratching the surface here, this hopefully demonstrates the importance of focusing in on each individual part of your business’ marketing mix and ensuring that you have the reporting and measurement tools in place to calculate your ROI. Once you’ve built this into your marketing strategy, you’ll be in a fantastic position to increase qualified leads and grow your business.
If you’re ready to take your business’ marketing to the next level, but don’t know where to start, get in touch with the Brand Plus team at McKinley Plowman today for a free initial consultation – you can reach us on 08 9301 2200 (Joondalup), 08 9361 2200 (Victoria Park), or via our website.
Graphic courtesy of Promo Gallery
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