The Marketing Muddle

July 24, 2012

Whenever I conduct a marketing training event, I enjoy asking the question: “What is marketing?

After a short pause while participants collect their thoughts, the responses begin.

Invariably advertising, promotion and sales are among the first answers. The come terms like networking, direct contact, referrals, and keeping in touch. Internet-savvy participants offer up website, email, blog and social media.

A little prodding helps generate concepts like research and communications.

My pleasure comes when I advise the group that all of the answers are correct…but they all are also wrong.

All of the responses are correct in that each is an element of marketing.

However, they are all wrong because marketing is more than the sum of its parts.

As a planned activity, marketing was initially developed to help dairy farmers sell more cheese.

Since then it has become the tool of choice for virtually everyone from the neighbor staging a yard sale to the world’s largest business and non-business organizations.

Along with the information explosion generated by computer and Internet technology, there has also been what might be called the marketing muddle.

To learn more, see I Am A Professional!

First, there were 4 Ps in the marketing mix:

  1. Product: what you sell which paradoxically includes professional services
  2. Price: how much you charge for your product
  3. Place: where you sell your product
  4. Promotion: how you promote your product

The 5th P of Marketing

Then some one added a 5th P: People

This addition makes sense. People are the most important element of marketing.

It is after all people who plan, prepare and implement marketing activities.

From the client perspective, from individuals to large impersonal organizations, it is people who are sufficiently motivated by the marketing process to make the decision to purchase professional service from us.

3 More Ps

In an already crowded marketing mix, we can now add 3 more Ps: Pull, Push & Permission Marketing

Basically, pull marketing involves posting an ad with the purpose of pulling or drawing prospects to you. Typically applied to online advertisements, this concept can also apply to offline advertising.

The purpose of your website or blog is to pull prospects to you, to qualify them as prospects and identify how you can help them.

Push marketing on the other hand is about pushing your message directly to the prospects, usually by email. Newsletters and special promotions push your message at prospects, clients and network contacts. Hopefully they will like what you are telling them enough to contact you for further information.

For those of us who hate SPAM, permission marketing is the brightest light on the horizon. The basic concept of this approach is that you can only email electronic e-mail to those people who have agreed to let you do so. I only wish the same provisions were applicable and enforceable for telemarketers and door-to-door canvassers.

8 Ps In The Marketing Pot

So with all of these Ps in the marketing pot, what does it all mean for those of us who just want more clients for our professional services?

It seems to me that if we stick to the basics, the issues swirling in a pot of Ps will sort themselves out.

If for example, we consider the basic purpose of marketing to be attracting more and better clients, (which includes repeat clients), the Ps will take care of themselves.

If we offer a product, that people…including corporate types…are prepared to buy at our suggested price, we are almost halfway there.

In order to promote the benefits of our product, we must go to the online or offline places where we can connect with prospective clients. Some promotional initiatives will be intended to pull prospective clients to us, while others will be intended to push our message at prospective clients and referral sources, provided of course, we have their permission to send our messages to them.

There you have it…the 8 Ps of attracting more and better clients.









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