The Missing Ps of Marketing Strategy
Starting a business is easy. Growing a successful business on the other hand, is hard.
Growth. As founders we chase it, especially in the early days. Each month and quarter is defined by financial growth. No matter your product or service, saleability and growth is crucial.
But how do you feed that growth? How can you fuel your pipeline and create meaningful conversations with your customers?
The answer: through your marketing.
In a bid to hit the ground running and scale quickly, SME start-ups can fall into the trap of jumping right to the end of their marketing strategy. But a pretty logo and social media plan won’t stand the test of time or deliver the long term growth you require.
And marketing is more than the seven Ps (product, price, promotion, place, people, process, physical evidence). In fact, I believe there are two crucial Ps missing from the list:
Before you get anywhere near a tactical marketing plan, you must define your position in the market place. This will feed your brand, look and feel, how you talk about your business, and all of your marketing and communications (the promotion P).
There are many models you can use to define your positioning, but we like to follow Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle.
As a business owner you almost certainly understand your what. This is the products and services you create and sell. For the lucky few, their ‘what’ is truly unique, one-of-a-kind. But the reality is, most of us operate in saturated markets where our customers have almost unlimited choice.
Most organisations can articulate how they deliver those products and services (this covers most of the remaining seven marketing Ps). Your 'how' can become your unique selling point. A faster production line, a cheaper solution, a safer model, superior quality, or in depth knowledge of an industry. This is how you add value to the products and services you sell.
It's crucial to understand and articulate how you deliver your what.
Very few businesses know why they do what they do (and making a profit doesn’t count… that's a result). Your ‘why’ is your purpose, your reason for being, the challenge you solve. Why did you set up this particular business and not another one?
Developing a strong value proposition and uncovering your ‘why’ is a careful balancing act made all the more tricky when you’re leading the business day-to-day. You need to understand a range of factors to help you build a compelling and authentic brand positioning.
Defining your organisational ‘why’ through the lens of purpose is more important than ever. Increasingly, customers are demanding purpose led businesses both from a sustainability stand point and in terms of softer values or emotions. And while for some SMEs their ‘why’ has an altruistic foundation or is aligned to the values of the founder, for others, it can be more functional or fun.
However, if your business isn’t built on a strong purpose led ‘why’ it can feel elusive to uncover, let alone articulate in a way that resonates. Your 'why' and purpose cannot be fabricated. It must be truly authentic to the business you are and the aspirations you have.
Consider these four ways to uncover your ‘why’.
Develop a deeper understanding of your:
Ways of working, processes and ‘how’ what you deliver is different or unique
Values and motivations of the leadership team or founders – these are often entwined with the businesses
Competitive set to see where there is whitespace and opportunity to say and do something different.
Customers. Why did they choose you and continue to buy your brand?
Uncovering a businesses' ‘why’ is one of the hardest but most fulfilling elements to a marketing strategy. Without an authentic brand positioning and value proposition, developing messaging, content and campaigns is futile. You will be adding to the noise, creating even more clutter. A strong, defined and unique positioning will help you cut through and create lasting growth.
Claire Hutchings' is an award winning marketing consultant and Founder of Chime Agency.