"Marketing is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is, from the customer's point of view. Concern and responsibility for marketing must therefore permeate all areas of the enterprise." -Peter Drucker
The major reason for business success is invariably the ability of an entrepreneur to move his or her product to the customer in an efficient, cost-effective manner. The major reasons for business failure are poor marketing, lack of sales ability and lack of momentum in the sales department. In almost every troubled company I have consulted for, ineffective marketing-leading to poor sales-has been the major problem or cause of slipping revenues and financial problems.
How successful is your marketing plan? To find out, take a look at your marketing mix-especially the four major areas discussed in greater detail below. Whether you are thinking of setting up, starting or expanding your business, or selling any product or service, these four elements should be top-of-mind all the time:
1. The product: Exactly what product or service are you going to sell to this market? Define it in terms of what it does for your customer. How does it help your customer to achieve, avoid or preserve something? You must be clear about the benefit you offer and how the customer's life or work will be improved if he or she buys what you sell.
2. The price: Exactly how much are you going to charge for your product or service, and on what basis? How are you going to price it to sell at retail? How are you going to sell it at wholesale? How are you going to charge for volume discounts? Is your price correct based on your costs and the prices of your competitors?
3. The place: Where are you going to sell this product at this price? Are you going to sell directly from your own company or through wholesalers, retailers, direct mail, catalogs or the Internet?
4. The promotion: Promotion includes every aspect of advertising, brochures, packaging, salespeople and sales methodology. How are you going to promote, advertise and sell this product at this price at this location? What will be the process from the first contact with a prospect through to the completed sale?
Creative marketing comes from continually questioning the existing situation and looking for ways to change this marketing mix-the product, price, place and promotion. Creative marketing often involves adding new products or services or modifying existing ones. It may require changes in pricing, place of sale or promotional methods. Sometimes, marketing requires that you delete existing products or services, sell them at different prices, offer them in different places or promote them differently.
You can change any one of these elements and then test to determine whether this change improves sales or profitability. Sometimes you may have to change several factors at once to achieve a quantum leap upward in sales results. But in any case, your marketing mix should be a dynamic combination of elements that is always changing.
Brian Tracy is the "Success Secrets" coach at Entrepreneur.comand one of America's leading authoritieson entrepreneurial development. He's produced more than 300 audio and video learning programs that cover the entire spectrum of human and corporate performance through his company, Brian Tracy International.