21. 12. 2015Author: Alexandra John
Have you ever wondered how a product manufactured, far away from your houses, in a factory or perhaps made in some other country reaches you? There is obviously some means of delivery but how do you actually know that there is a product existing in this world that has some specific features and could satisfy your needs or desires? Although these are very simple or you might say, childish questions who anyone above the age of six could answer but many well-educated people fail to answer these questions.
From a business point of view, you need to understand the true logic behind the process of a product that is delivered from a factory to our houses. What everybody fails to mention is the concept of Marketing. It is already known that the products would travel through a car, train or delivery vans to our doorsteps or to the shelves of retailers but marketing is what truly increases our desire of a product and initiates an action that leads to a purchase.
Many women entrepreneurs, who have yet to grasp the true knowledge of operating a business or act as a true entrepreneur lack the necessary thinking ability which is needed to plan an effective marketing campaign. Small businesses usually do not have separate departments for each function of the business like accounts, sales, audit etc. and the owner multitasks to save on the startup costs associated with any business. At this point of time, the skills of an owner are tested to see if he or she has entrepreneurial capabilities.
Part of being an entrepreneur is to come up with an idea that has a unique selling point (USP) which diverts the attention of customers from other products. Then to build up on that idea, you need to formulate a plan that paints a picture of how will you finance your venture, the resources needed, how will you market it etc. Again, it all comes to the point of how will the customers know that you have come up with a product that they desire.
The concept of marketing was first taught by Neil Borden who termed it as the “Marketing Mix” which then led to E. Jerome McCarthy proposing the 4P’s of marketing in 1960. The theory defined four areas of marketing that need to be concentrated on, i.e.
What is a product? A product is an item that fulfills consumer demands. It might be a tangible good or intangible service depending on the type of business operations. A tangible product has a physical existence that is independent from the business but relates through a logo. A product offered by a specific company must have some specific features that differentiate it from other products in the market. The product will also have a lifecycle that includes a growth phase, a maturity phase and the final phase, which leads to a decline in sales. Marketers should always consider the lifecycle before launching a product to see the total return that would be generated.
Price is another important factor that plays a major role in the purchase of a product. From a company’s point of view, each product should cover all the costs of production and yield a profit. If a product is priced adequately, it promises a longer lifecycle. From a consumer’s point of view, a product must be priced in accordance with income levels of the country so that affordability is maximized. Of course, there are several pricing strategies like the penetration pricing strategy, which is effective for new entrants, price-skimming strategy, etc. that depend upon the type of product, whether it is a necessity or a luxury item.
Place is also sometimes referred to as distribution because it defines how easily a customer is able to gain access of the product it desires. Various strategies include the selective distribution strategy, intensive distribution strategy, franchising and other that a marketer uses to complement the other P’s of the marketing mix.
Promotion is what matters the most in influencing the customer to buy the product. According to some researches, promotion that includes advertising, sales promotion, public relations and sales organization is the first means of attracting a customer to the product, next comes the price. Advertising communicates through commercials, infomercials, radio, web advertisements, billboards, newspapers etc. Public relations include press releases, exhibitions, sponsorships etc. Word-of-mouth is also an important part of promotion because if the product is that effective in satisfying consumer needs then there is a common saying that word-of-mouth travels faster. Sales staff plays an important role in promoting a product.
These 4P’s of marketing help create value for the business and enable the product to be reached to the consumer. Previously, the 4P’s of marketing were used widely in the business world and every marketing strategy was formulated according to the 4P’s but now times have changed. For a product to reach the consumer, more effort is needed in planning a marketing strategy to create a demand for the product. With the fast moving world, businesses need to market their product in a more effective way that makes the customer feel incomplete without the product.
In 1990’s, a new concept, the concept of 4C’s was introduced that made its mark in the marketing world as more of a customer-driven strategy than to the 4P’s. This strategy was based on the concept suggested by Robert F. Lauterborn. It outlines the 4C’s as Consumer Solutions, Consumer Costs, Convenience & Communication.
Consumer Solutions – Here, the business will only sell the products that a consumer truly or specifically wants. Emphasis should be on the wants and needs of consumers so a better solution to the consumer’s problems can be provided. The notion that every product is a solution to a consumer’s problem is what truly makes the strategy consumer driven.
Consumer Costs – This outlines that it costs more to the consumers than just the price for example the “cost of conscience” through consumption of goods, “cost of time” spent in purchasing a good or selecting a service or the “cost of guilt” for not fulfilling the kid’s wants.
Consumer Convenience – With internet and laptops or tablets, people do not need to travel to different parts of the world to purchase and benefit from a product. Credit card facilities and phone banking has made it possible for consumers to buy products around the globe. Therefore, the concept of place is growing older and convenience is being emphasized on.
Communication – While promotion is deemed as manipulative from a seller’s perspective, communication is deemed as more “Co-operative” and effective from a buyer’s perspective. Communication promotes dialogues between consumers and sellers regarding the lifestyles and needs so a more effective solution can be provided. Advertising, after considerable communication results in a more positive result.
In the 21st century however, the concept of the 4P’s and the 4C’s of marketing have termed as Passé. Internet has changed the way businesses used to operate and have brought about simplicity as well as perfection. The 21st century has brought about the 4E’s of marketing i.e. Experience (Product), Everyplace (Place), Exchange (Price) and Evangelism (Promotion).
Experience (Website) –Customers are now more focused on the experience they will have with the product rather than the product’s features. The large amount of data available makes it easier to analyze a customer’s true needs so an experience that maximizes satisfaction, can be delivered.
Everyplace (Online) – People spend a considerable amount of time in searching for the right product that could give them an exciting experience. Businesses today should display all the information, specialist features on its website so customers can easily buy the product of their choice. They should consider their product as being everywhere because a website can be accessed from any part of the globe.
Exchange – Today, customers are more protective with their personal information. A business is not always selling a tangible asset. A website might be offering a newsletter subscription or an online report that will download after signing up. The main purpose is to build trust between the customers so that exchange of information is possible.
Evangelism – Social media has become the largest platform for interaction globally. A business has the possibility of turning their product purchasers into evangelists. However, for this a reason must exist that will induce the practice of sharing information of what you offer to others. Starting a conversation with your fans might influence them to share your business offerings to other people using the social media platforms.
The change from the 4P’s to the 4E’s of marketing has been revolutionary in the business world. Women entrepreneurs, especially those who have come up with an idea that is unique must plan on the most effective marketing strategy that will create demand for their product and turn out profitable for the business. The aim is to make customers bond on another level with the business that is not just limited to the sale and purchase of products and services.
Women Online Club constantly works on educating women entrepreneurs who have just started their business. It influences them to adopt effective strategies that will promise them a healthier business for a longer period.
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