I freakin love marketing! At least currently, I love marketing. It wasn’t always so, though. At some point (before I had an online business), I thought marketing was something unneeded and something that wasn’t necessary for the business to succeed.
How wrong was I, and now that I’ve read and studied marketing for a couple of years (on a daily basis), I can say that without marketing, your business wouldn’t even be alive.
Marketing is one of the key foundations a business should master and have. Others would be accounting and sales. These three create a solid foundation for a business to succeed online and offline.
It used to be print advertising, billboards, tv-commercials, flyers even. However, times change rapidly, and with such a pace that it’s easy to get left behind when it comes to marketing.
There used to be 4 key principles of marketing. However, as mentioned before, things have changed, and so have marketing.
Digital, online, or internet marketing, however, you want to call it, have changed the game, and now the 4 principles are not enough anymore.
There’s three more, and in this article, I will present to you the 7 marketing principles that are taking place in marketing today.
Here’s a quick rundown on the seven principles:
- Price (old)
- Product (old)
- Place (old)
- Promotion (old)
- Packaging (new)
- Positioning (new)
- People (new)
Let’s start with the good oldies!
I won’t go the very early days of commerce and how people exchanged 3-pound gold plates with each other. I think we can keep it a bit more modern here.
Price always has and will always be one of the marketing strategies for beating the competition or becoming a luxury option for the rich ones out there.
Price is a signal; it’s a signal of something being cheap or something being expensive. Cheap and expensive is always relative to the person experiencing the price.
For some buying a $297 online course is expensive; for some, it’s a bargain. There have been so many times when I’ve followed a discussion on Facebook about pricing an online course, pricing an ebook, or pricing digital products in general.
People seem to fret about the price so much, when in fact, it’s irrelevant. What’s relevant is the value and the audience you are selling your products and services to.
Price is always viewed individually. When I purchased my first online course that cost exactly that $297, I was terrified. I thought I was making a huge investment. It paid out well, and I’ve gotten the value out of the course in multiple.
Currently, I see that buying a $2,000 course is an investment, and on the other hand, paying $297 or $497 for an online course is relatively cheap.
So when you are thinking about the pricing of any product or service, think about the value it gives and what are the types of audience that you are attracting.
Selling a Ferrari to someone who can barely afford a Toyota is not the strategy to go for.
Even if you think about brands like Apple and Microsoft, the ones who purchase Apple products, are willing to pay extra only because it’s Apple, so there’s no correlation of price and tech you get.
You can get better tech at a better price, but it’s just doesn’t have the Apple flair to it.
Yet again, price is irrelevant, audience and value is the thing to go for. But wait for a second! Apple didn’t give more value, so how’s that working out.
Apple is a brand, and a brand is one that is also tied strongly to marketing, so if you have a strong brand. You can charge more because you are you, and you deliver “more” than your competitors.
Price starts to seem already like something that shouldn’t even be worried. What needs to be worried about is comparing your product with your competition and analyzing whether your product delivers more or not.
If you go the cheap road, you are essentially saying that you are not brave enough to charge more. You are going the endless road of always trying to be the cheapest option.
When you should remember that the more customers pay, the more they value the purchase.
So all in all, price is about perceived value. And that perceived value is always an individual experience.
Some might say that having a Mercedes Benz is better than having a Toyota. But in reality, both have four tires and one driving wheel. They differ only on price and in the brand.
Sure, one might be more advanced than the other, more luxurious, have more features, and whatnot. But it’s down to what you appreciate and what you are willing to pay for such things.
Value and audience, not the price, without forgetting to value the audience.
The second marketing principle is the product. What you are selling, and what is the demand for it.
I remember when I created a course called…Well, maybe it’s better left unsaid. The point is that if you create something that is not necessarily needed, you are not looking at the demand. You are creating based on your own desires.
Desire of one, versus desire of many.
That right there is possibly one of the biggest reasons why entrepreneurs fail all the time. We start creating things that we like, things that we think the world needs when we should be looking at what the world demands.
What products are needed, what customers are truly craving for?
There’s always the exception, and I wouldn’t like to go that route, so I will leave that part off.
When we think about products, we should keep in mind the audience (like I mentioned previously on the price part) we are creating our product to.
Target audience, market demand, creates the basis for success. And while we can’t clearly set boundaries for what are marketing principles and what are business principles.
We shouldn’t forget that in the end, it’s customers who make the purchase decision. And not even customers but another human being, just like you and me.
We often forget in marketing that we are selling our products to people.
But to secure that you are creating a product strong enough to survive in the market, you need to make sure there’s a significant problem that you are solving.
Your product or service is creating a bigger impact; the better it can address the market problem.
Demand is a problem unsolved!
You also have to check whether the problem is rare or frequent. Are people looking for a solution to it daily, or now and then. Is the impact of the problem big or small?
Make sure that your product or service is hitting an upward trend. A good place to start is typing your product, service, customer problem, or other keywords related to your product on Google Trends.
Google trends quickly showcase you, whether you are hitting a market that is growing or declining.
If the cost of getting the solution (product or service) is more than the benefit gained, there won’t be a sale, and the product will be a lost cause.
That also means that if getting results after giving the money is bad, there won’t be a sale, meaning that getting those results takes more time than is suitable. It’s a lost cause.
This is especially relevant in online courses. An 8-week program takes a lot of time, and that time is never given back, so you have to be very wary of taking someone’s time.
So instead of just losing time, you also lose money, which will hinder your life immensely. By selling a product that makes the person lose money and time, you can be sure to lose a future customer forever.
So pack your product and service in such a way that takes minimal effort and time from the person buying the experience.
Third of the four old marketing principles. The place is related to the physical or digital entity where you are selling your solutions from.
Thinking about Amazon, Amazon sells products online but houses physical locations all over the world.
Online businesses can have physical locations, but the main business revenue is generated through online sales.
McDonald’s is all about being in the center of people and having physical locations almost in every corner of the world, is a must. Not too many online sales, so physical location and store placement are crucial for success.
Same with Starbucks, the key is to be in the areas where either trendy people live or where coffee is seen as a way of life.
Starbucks brand message: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
One neighborhood at a time. Place and physical location are imperative for success, and Starbucks has given it a place in their brand statement, while not forgetting us humans in the meantime.
That’s for the physical part, but what about digital or other places.
Magazines, newspapers, radio, television, social media, internet are all places too. While we think about the place, the first thing that comes to mind is, of course, physical place.
The marketing is shifting to digital (or more like has already shifted), and that opens up a whole new discussion on the place. Where do you want your product to be sold at or from?
Would you like your product to be listed on Amazon, or would you like to keep your products behind your own marketplace?
How about advertising? Do you want your products to be seen in a magazine or on the radio?
What about the internet? Are there certain websites, social media channels, YouTube channels, or apps you would like to be seen in.
Before, we had only the physical stores available to us. Now, we have the world in our hands. We can promote our products in any market imaginable.
You can sell your product from multiple online stores, and you can also create multiple online stores.
When it comes to digital products, there are no limits to where you can sell your products.
Some of the online stores that come to mind are Gumroad, SendOwl, and Shopify, of course.
Related: Gumroad review
The last of the 4 old marketing principles we’ve had previously. Or back in the old days.
Promotion is all about raising awareness. We have brand awareness (which is pretty hard to measure but what is super important) and product and service awareness.
What is your message, what is it that you want your brand to be about? What are the thoughts a person should have when they see, hear, or experience your company?
Where are you seen? Why should the outside world listen to you? What is so important about your company that people will stop and pay attention?
Noise is everywhere, and differentiating yourself from the noise is nearly impossible today. Yet, good marketing is precisely that. It’s noise reduction, attention-grabbing, pattern-breaking.
All of the mentioned are one of the same things, promotion. You are promoting your products over your competition. Making yourself the number one or making you belong to the same line like everyone else.
Advertising channels and getting that attention is harder and more expensive by the day. However, one of the best ways for a new company is to seek approval rather than forcing solutions to people.
Approval for connecting and opening discussion is not so much talked about or even practiced, except by the best. Because you didn’t even see them coming, and that’s why they excel.
Did the person ask for your advertising, did the person invite you to give them a solution to their problem. Or did you perhaps made the assumption that your product and service fix their problem?
An invitation can be set with Facebook ads, but retargeting already creates a force that might not always be needed. An ad itself is already a distraction and not the best invitation to your world. So try to make it the best you can, so the ad would feel like a welcome, rather than a push.
Marketing, promotions, advertising is a combination of art and science, and we should keep that in mind.
The first of the new marketing principles. Way back, when we didn’t have so many choices, and when the economy wasn’t so thriving, we tend to pick the cheapest or the one that looked ok.
The packaging didn’t matter so much because there were fewer choices. The packaging didn’t matter because there wasn’t so much competition.
Obviously, things have changed, and now you have to make sure your product and service stand out in the crowded market. We didn’t have this “problem” before, because markets were smaller.
There were more locality, and not so many options to choose from. Currently, the packaging is one that you have to nail down. You have to make sure your product gets selected, even if it were almost the same product your competition is selling.
The packaging is also related to perceived value and pricing. It’s funny and almost ridiculous, but you can sell the same soap with twice the price if you only have it packaged luxuriously. Presentation!
Soap is soap after all, but in marketing, soap can be anything. This part of marketing is one of the reasons I love it so much. Marketing is almost never about the product or service you are selling. It’s about perceived value.
And packaging plays a big role in it. Perceived value is entirely based on what the customer sees, and experiences before buying your product, how the product feels, how it looks, how is it served, or packaged.
Have you noticed how even as ordinary as pasta packages in grocery stores have changed? Now they have all these luxurious ribbons and whatnot in them. And it’s “just” pasta. I had to use “” to not offend pasta lovers here.
But that is precisely the reason you see those ribbons, to evoke the emotion of better, higher quality, more refined, thoughts, and feelings inside you.
And it’s all because of packaging, nothing else. Those small fine details that make the difference between is it perceived as higher quality or lower quality product even if it were “just” soap.
People buy experiences, and they buy solutions, they buy enhancements to their lives and future-self images.
But how do you differentiate yourself from the crowd?
The packaging was already one thing, promotion, price, maybe even the quality of your product, but you need more, and that’s where positioning comes in.
Positioning defines how you are viewed as a brand. And building a brand is something you should focus on. Anyone can build a business, but building a brand is another thing and something that the weak businesses will never achieve.
While it would be nice to say that you or I have a brand, it’s not so simple. Brands are made by you and the people who interact with your business and brand.
What would you like to hear about your business from outsiders? Do they share the same feeling about your business as you do, or is there a gap.
With a strong brand, strong business model, strong solutions, you are carving yourself a market where you can be victorious.
That is positioning, positioning your business in a way where your competition is not any more competition but businesses that try to catch up to you.
Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Tesla, Starbucks, Disney, Coca-Cola, these are all HUGE brands. They also have a competitive advantage that can not be taken away too easily. They have positioned themselves so that they almost have immunity against the competition.
The bigger the brand, the bigger the gap between you and the competition. And the better positioning. Build a brand, not a business. But build it with time, not with haste.
You, your co-workers, your employees, and the people around you all affect the success of your business.
It’s not just you, even if you were a solopreneur, you are still interacting with people through your business.
If you go the big route and hire employees to work with you and to help you grow your business, it’s critical to hire people that are the best of the best in their area of expertise.
Hiring the “wrong” people will hinder your business immensely and in the worst case, can even make it collapse.
Always hire people that are better than the last recruitment you made. Always aim higher and higher. It’s no wonder that Google is the company they are today. Do you think they’ve hired people that are somewhat good?
Great companies hire great people. Don’t be an exception.
When the employee side is in check, next is the audience, and making sure your product is aligned perfectly with your ideal client. Your business can’t serve everyone on the planet, so don’t try to make your product suitable for every single one of us.
Who is your target audience, who are the people you want to talk with? Who do you want to make a connection with?
We are humans with emotions, feelings, thoughts, and needs. Better said, we have desires, fears, hopes, and dreams. Connecting with these four emotions will enable you to market your business better than ever.