Small Business Markeing 15A misconception that we run into quite a bit while working with businesses is the belief that marketing is synonymous with advertising.  The problem being that this misunderstanding often results in an incomplete marketing strategy and results in significant inefficiencies.  Advertising is a subset of a subset of marketing.  “Marketing” technically encompasses the largest portion of a business’s activities and means for generating income.  Remember the “4 P’s” of marketing (hint: none of them start with the letter “A”).

While identified as separate components, a strategic marketing plan takes into account all 4 and creates synergy as the 4 P’s are intertwined to produce a successful overall strategy.

Product – Part of a marketing plan includes the products and or services that are being offered.  Identification of the goods or services to be sold is not a simple process.  Further determining which components, features, and additional services that the target market wants is crucial.  Market research, including customer surveying is compiled.  Potential suppliers and other operational considerations are made.  Production processes further intertwine operational concerns.  Is the product good enough to compete?  Is it possible to produce and deliver in a profitable fashion?  How will you manage the lifecycle?  Obviously, as you can see, there is significant overlap within the 4 P’s.

Place – (also known as distribution… but “3 P’s and 1 D” is not nearly as sexy as the “4 P’s”).  Where is the target market?  How will we deliver our goods and services to the target market?  Where do we distribute from?  The “place” component draws in a number of operational considerations.  Once the product is determined, much more work is involved to determine supply chain management, distribution methods, and coordination of efficiencies throughout the delivery process.

Price – Strategically, pricing is huge!  Based on the product costs, distribution model, and profit expectations, a breakeven point needs to be determined.  Furthermore, what price has to be charged to meet profit expectations?  Much consideration is given to the competition and determining your products’ advantages and disadvantages.  Branding is leveraged to determine extra profit opportunities.  Maybe most importantly, determining what price “says” about your product is important.  The pricing of the product will often times determine how it is promoted, which suppliers can be used based on the model, and will have impact on the target market.  Is the price too high?  Is the price too low?  Are we a prestige product?  Are we a low-cost producer?  Worst of all, are we in the middle with no identity trying to play the “kind of good/kind of cheap” game (horrible strategic position…fyi)?  What is the price elasticity?  What is the target market’s perceived value?  Price is a huge component of marketing and has far reaching ramifications if mismanaged.

Promotion – Now we come to advertising…sort of.  Advertising is a subset of Promotion (remember “subset of a subset”)?  Promotion is better thought of as “communication”.  All communication about the product or service falls into this aspect of marketing.  Packaging, social media, press releases, traditional “bullhorn advertising”, sales strategy, sales literature, tradeshows, website promotion, personal selling, endorsements, etc. are all components of promotion.  As you can see, while advertising is listed as a component, it is still not the only component.  Traditional, what we refer to as “bullhorn” advertising, is not necessarily the best tactic for our clients to use – although more often than not, this is the concept that is most prominent in their mind when the term “marketing” is mentioned.  Traditional advertising (billboards, commercials, print ads, etc.) can be effective in certain instances.  It can also be an incredibly inefficient use of monetary resources, if the target market does not respond to this tactic.  Our role in the promotion of any product is to determine the best way to reach a client’s target market and apply the budget in the most efficient way possible.  As you can imagine, there is a vast number of options available.  Having an expert partner to help navigate these options will not only produce better results, but will also likely be less expensive in the long run.  That’s not to say Iconic Digital Agency doesn’t love advertising.  Let’s be honest, it’s our sexiest product line.  It simply means that we love results more than traditional advertising.

The 4Ps are critical in determining your marketing mix.  Each has important ramifications to applying the most effective and efficient marketing strategy.  To dismiss marketing as simply advertising will likely result in poor results, inefficient uses of monetary resources, and a chance for missed profit opportunities.  Iconic is well positioned to help with a complete plan.  However, if you simply want an advertising campaign, we promise to bring sexy back!