Using the 7 P’s of marketing to plan for 2024

January has the feeling of a fresh start and a new beginning. With many of us making resolutions or setting intentions to be different or make changes, it is an ideal time of year for many small business owners to plan for the year ahead. I talk alot about marketing strategy planning because it is the start point of any marketing activity. In this blog I wanted to share a different framework that we can use to help us gather our thoughts and craft impactful marketing campaigns that will engage with our customers.

Philip Kotler, is considered to be the father of modern marketing and one of the key theories that he developed was the 4 P’s of marketing which were Price, Product, Place and Promotion. He presented the idea that by using this framework we can effectively create our marketing strategy and then ultimately our campaigns. With a move of many organisations from product based businesses to service based industries, combined with the development of technology, this theory has been developed to include other elements. For the purpose of this blog, I am going to consider the 7 P’s of marketing framework, let me explain further.

1. Products or Services

This is the start point for any small business owner, they must first decide what product or service they are going to provide to the market. In some cases such as a car garage, they may provide both to their customers, by car sales and servicing. A key place to start is by conducting market research so that you understand the gaps in the market and identify your customer’s needs in that space. This would also include a competitor analysis to understand what others are already doing and where the point of difference (USP) may be.

Once you are clear on your product or service it is important to define your goals or intentions for the business. Depending upon your personality type there are different ways we might do this, but one of the most common ways is to set your SMART (Specific, Measured, Achievable, Relevant and Timed) objectives. By also including a little financial forecasting as part of this process, will really help you to have total clarity and focus on what you are trying to achive and define what success looks like.

Q – You might ask, who are my key competitors?

Q – You might also ask, where are the gaps in the market for this product or service?

2. Price

I was in a network meeting recently and the topic of pricing came up. With the rising costs of living impacting many businesses it caused quite a debate. Pricing is a key element to any organisation because a business must make a profit whilst at the same time providing financial value to their customers. There are several factors which need to be taken into consideration when setting your price:

  • Profit margin, consideration needs to be given if there is enough profit made on each sale enough to recoup any costs incurred.
  • Competitor pricing, gaining an understanding of what your competitors charge is useful, if you price too highly then you will not sell any products or services, to low and you will not make a profit.
  • Customer behaviour and perception can also influence the final price of the product or service, it might be that you provide different prices for different customers or markets.
  • Offers, you may wish to consider when and if you discount your pricing across the year and build this into your profit margins eg: % discount, buy one get one free, etc.

It is worth taking some time to plan out your pricing approach when you first establish your business and regularly review it against your ambitions, objectives set and competitors, every quarter.

Q – You might ask, what are my costs and the profit margin I need to make?

3. Place

How your customers are able to purchase your product or service is a consideration, with the world moving to a more digital place it is a website where things are more commonly found vs a retail store. If you have a physical premises considering product placement within the store should form this part of the strategy. If you are using a website to promote your product or service, considering SEO or Google Ad campaigns is important, depending upon budget levels.

Q – You might ask, what functionality does my website need?

(If working on your website project this year, click here to check out one of our blogs to get you started).

4. Promotion

Communicating your product and the benefits is an important part of your marketing strategy, this part would form the basis of your marketing plan. There are many different ways you can take your product or service to market in today’s digital world, by first identifying your target audience and how to connect with them, you then have a wide range of tools to choose from. Options might include:

  • PR.
  • Advertising in newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, etc.
  • Digital advertising eg: online, SEO, Google Ad words, etc.
  • Email marketing.
  • Social media, choosing the right channel to connect with your audience will be key.
  • Point of sale if you have a physical premises.
  • Partnerships with businesses that compliment your product or service.
  • Loyalty programmes to help create customer loyalty and brand ambassadors.

Whilst the media selection is just one part of the puzzle, creating engaging and striking creative that will attract customer attention and cut through in what is now a busy marketplace will also be key.

Q – What do I need to include a marketing plan? (Click here to find out)

5. People

There are two parts to the people element of this framework, internal and external customers. Your internal customers might include your key stakeholders, owners, shareholders, leaders and employees within an organisation. The second, external customers are your target audience and who you are trying to engage with to purchase your product or service. It sounds simple but taking time to clearly define who your target audience is, really underpins all of your marketing activity.

Q – You might ask what problem or challenges do I solve for my target audience?

(To read more about how to define your target audience click here).

6. Presentation

This part focuses on the product or service’s appearance and how the customer perceives it. For a physical product this is slightly easier as it may include branding and packaging. For a service this will need to be displayed on the website and through client testimonials or case studies. With highly competitive sectors in many industries impactful branding, clear messaging and presentation has never been more important. Getting these three elements right will help to ensure that your product or service will stand out.

Q – You might ask, what are my brand values, messaging and USPs? (To find out more about branding, click here).

7. Processes

This is the final element that I wanted to cover. Many small business owners often share that one of the biggest marketing challenges they face is how to manage it as they have limited time to focus on marketing. It can be so easy to get completely lost in social media and lose hours before you realise, without actually achieving anything. By setting up:

  • A clear customer journey to share relevant information about your product or service, helping the customer with their purchase decision.
  • Creating a CRM system for managing new business development opportunities.
  • Sending regular emails to keep your brand forefront of mind.
  • Sharing relevant content across the social media channels.
  • Create a customer community.

We are lucky that in today’s digital age there are many tools out there that will help us to set up some of these processes to make our lives easier and facilitate better connection with our customers. However, a note of caution to always keep the customer at the heart of what we do and remember that the personal touch, to make someone feel really special will go a long way.

Q – What processes do I currently have in place? What else do I need?

There is a lot to think about here and not all of the above will be relevant for every business or sector. If you would like some help in building your 2024 marketing strategy by using the 7 P’s of marketing framework, please get in touch to arrange your no-obligation discovery call.

Sophie Comas

A highly successful self-motivated and results driven, senior marketing professional. My passion lies within developing and delivering marketing solutions which make a difference in today's complex digital market place. A marketeer with a strong academic background and broad ranging level of experience working with small businesses and in the travel and hospitality sector, across the Thames Valley, I love a challenge!

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