Marketing Strategy and Business Planning

Marketing Strategy and Business Planning

Marketing is defined as putting the right product in the right place, at the right time, for the right price. Although this sounds easy enough, a lot of hard work and research usually goes into making this a reality. And if even one element is off the mark, a promising product or service can fail completely and end up costing the company much time and treasure.

The use of what is known as a marketing mix is an excellent, tried and true way to help ensure that your product hits the market running. The marketing mix is a crucial tool to understanding what the product or service can offer and how to plan for a successful product offering. The marketing mix is most commonly executed through the 4 P’s of marketing: Price, Product, Promotion, and Place. These have been extensively added to and expanded through additional P’s and even a 4C concept. But the 4Ps serve as a great place to start the business planning process for the product or even to evaluate an existing product offering.

The product is either a tangible good or an intangible service that is made to meet a specific customer need or demand. All products follow a life cycle and it is vital for marketers to understand the business planning process for the various stages. It is key to understand those problems that the product is attempting to solve. The benefits offered by the product and all its features need to be fully understood and the potential buyers of the product need to be identified and researched.

Price covers the actual amount the end user is expected to pay for a product. How a product is priced will directly affect how it sells. This is directly associated to what the perceived value of the product is to the customer. If a product is priced higher or lower than its perceived value, then it will not sell. This is why it is imperative to understand how a customer sees what you are selling. Price may also be affected by distribution plans and how competitors price a rival product.

The marketing communication strategies and techniques all fall under the promotion banner. These may include advertising, sales, special offers and public relations. Whatever the technique used, it is necessary for it to be suitable for the product, the price and the end user it is being marketed to. It is important to differentiate between marketing and promotion. Promotion is just the communication aspect of the entire marketing function. Marketing encompasses all four Ps.

Place or placement has to do with how the product will be provided to the customer. Distribution is a key element of placement. The placement strategy will help assess what channel is the most suited to a product. How a product is accessed by the end user also needs to compliment the rest of the product strategy. Don’t try selling a 400 dollar pair of shoes at a discount shoe mart. 

The 4P’s were developed over the years by experts to help businesses with the creation and implementation of a successful marketing strategy business plan. Through its’ use, the effort is placed on trying to satisfy both the customer and the seller. When properly understood and utilized, this mix has proven to be a key factor in a product’s success.  An effective marketing mix can mean the difference between a here today and gone tomorrow product or one that is bound to become a time honored classic.