In 1960, Jerome E. McCarthy came up with a revolutionary way to break up the elements of marketing -- the Four P's. He said that if you can establish these four things as you introduce and maintain the marketing of something, you'll be successful: Product, Price, Placement, Promotion. Marketing classes repeat the Four Ps over and over and over -- I did it myself a week ago...
After I presented my class last Saturday, I began to ask myself "Do the Four Ps still play today?" I think in the 20th Century marketplace with a product-oriented philosophy where you had to pound your message over a prospect's head over and over, yes. In the real world of today, not so much. The 21st Century marketplace has given the consumer power -- power to demand quality, value, a great product experience, ease of purchase and acquisition.
Let's get microscopic and look at today's consumer:
Is the Product still important? Today, I believe that the Experience the customer has with your product is the only message prospective buyers care about. You can talk all you want about the product itself, but prospective consumers are going to focus on what it does for them. Period.
Is the Price still important? If you look purely at Price as a critical piece of marketing, you are looking at it only from one direction. I believe Value is more important -- and that is a two-way transaction. Does your customer believe that they gained something that is commensurate with the price you are charging? On the other hand, does the amount it costs to make the product leave you with enough of a margin when you set your price? Consider the middlemen too. Do they bring value to your customer by getting the product where it is supposed to be without charging so much that it is impossible to make a profit?
Is Placement still important? Not so much anymore. Why? Because you have to be Everywhere your customer might be looking. Does that mean Everywhere Everywhere? No. It means you have to be where your buyer is when they want to take out the $20 to buy your book. Study the habits of your consumer and make sure your book is available in the places that make sense -- and that doesn't mean bookstores only. People buy books in all sorts of places -- retail stores, online, through groups and associations, at events, directly from you.
Is Promotion still important? Seth Godin has recoined this element as building a "Tribe." David Ogilvy calls it product Evangelism. Promotion in its purest description is an offer, delivered creatively, delivered often enough to catch the attention of the buyer, with enough of an offer to persuade the buyer to purchase. Today, it's more important to Engage your customer in an emotional experience that delivers greater value than another company's experience delivers.
Let your consumer be part of your marketing. Bring them into the pages of your story. Make your book easy to find and buy. Bring them value for their money. See, marketing is easy.