You are probably familiar with the Five P’s of Marketing: product, price, place, people, and promotion. These areas exist in any business and are the building blocks for your brand and marketing strategies. But have you heard about the other Five P’s?
While positioning, publicity, process, personnel, and personality are components of the original Five P’s, they are important, and sometimes overlooked or underestimated, components that deserve special attention and careful planning in and of themselves.
Positioning: Positioning is how your target market thinks about your business, product, or brand in comparison to your competitors. For instance, do they think of you as the option with the most convenience, largest selection, or best customer service? The funny thing about positioning is that it’s going to happen whether you strategically plan it or not. Regardless of what you do, your target market is going to compare you to your competitors, either consciously or subconsciously, and form a perception of you. So, if it’s going to happen anyway, why not control it as much as possible? Decide how you want to be perceived in your industry and then actively work toward creating that perception in your target market’s minds by adjusting your product, price, distribution channels, and promotion efforts to drive your desired position in the marketplace.
Publicity: Publicity is a part of your overall promotion efforts, but sometimes gets lost in the marketing shuffle. Two great aspects of publicity are that it is almost always free and it can carry more weight in the minds of your target market than the most expensive paid advertising. Publicity can come by way of press releases written by your company or by third-party sources, such as news outlets, word of mouth, or business partners, touting your company. Of course, for either to work, you must be doing something newsworthy or value-driven! Did you raise a notable amount of money for a charity? Did you open a new office, making it more convenient for customers to do business with you? Are you planning an event that will interest the general public? Are you participating in a community event? While the event itself might cost you, the publicity showcasing the event doesn’t have to. Why does it carry more weight than other forms of advertising? When your target market sees news stories about you, rather than paid advertising, it comes across as an honest and reliable review of your company and creates a positive perception in their minds.
Process: You may have the best products and prices, highly visible distribution channels, and great promotion strategies, but if your processes are cumbersome or time-consuming, you will not gain, or even retain, as many customers as you could if you streamline your processes. For instance, most furniture stores offer financing right in the store rather than sending you down the street to get your loan first and then requiring you to come back with the money. Another example would be banks or credit unions offering online account opening versus requiring customers/members to drive to a brick and mortar branch. It’s worth taking some time to review all processes used in your business, from customer-facing to back office, to make sure they are as streamlined and competitive as possible.
Personnel: Personnel falls under the People category of the Five P’s and is extremely important to your business’ success. Hiring the right people has many ramifications. First of all, careful hiring reduces expensive employee turnover. Second, retaining great employees means your customers will be served extremely well and your business will be run well because long-term employees naturally know more about your product, business, and customers. Third, make sure your employees match your value proposition and desired positioning in the marketplace. If part of your positioning is to be the king of customer service (not just lip service but a true strategic plan), then don’t hire grumpy, unfriendly people, even if they have the most experience – knowledge is important, but a true fit with your organization and brand will go farther in the long run.
Personality: Just like people, every business has a personality and your brand should reflect that personality. If it doesn’t, you don’t have a true brand, which will hurt your chances for long-term success. If you were to hire a marketing consultant to help you develop a brand strategy, one of the first things he or she would do is identify the personality of your business. Even if you haven’t identified it in an obvious way, it exists. The consultant may ask you and your management team seemingly silly questions, like “If you were an animal, what animal would you be?” or “If this business was a car, what kind of car would it be?” in an effort to identify the personality of the business. If the brand identity you try to promote doesn’t match the true personality of the business, it won’t be successful. It’s hard to be something you really aren’t for any length of time and customers’ experiences won’t match the brand promise, which will in turn, form a disconnect and a loss in clientele. A strong brand that builds on your innate personality, on the other hand, will create loyalty, trust, and customers who are also fans and ambassadors for your business.