The Real 5 P’s of Marketing
In 1960, E. Jerome McCarthy introduced the 4 P’s of Marketing as
a way to describe the mix of factors required to successfully
market a product. McCarthy labeled the 4 P’s as Product, Price,
Place (distribution), and Promotion. The idea was that if you
could identify the right combination of these elements, your
marketing would succeed. Since then, many have proposed that
there are really 5 P’s, suggesting Positioning, Packaging, or
People as additions to the mix.
For consultants, coaches, and other professionals marketing
their own services, I don’t find that the classic 4 P’s provide
much guidance in making the right choices about marketing. Here
are a different sort of 5 P’s for the typical independent
professional, who is both the product and the one marketing it
at the same time.
In order to market effectively, people are an essential part of
the equation. Some marketing experts have suggested that the
“people” component represents the people who deliver the service
you are marketing — a critical factor for a service business.
But I think there are two other types of people important to
your marketing: the people you are marketing to, and the people
who help you spread the word about your business.
To make realistic decisions about marketing, you need to have a
clear definition of your target market and understand their
needs. Only then can you know who you should be delivering your
marketing messages to, and what you need to communicate. With a
solid definition of your target market and a well-defined
message in hand, you can reach out directly to the people who
might become your clients, and ask other people to pass your
message along to those they know.
Your marketplace is crowded with competitors, and your prospects
are besieged with marketing messages. For your message to find
its way through all this noise, it must be exactly on target. In
any professional field, it’s not enough to simply describe what
you do. You must be able to tell your prospects exactly how your
work helps them solve problems and reach goals, and the benefits
and results they can expect to see from it.
What this targeted messaging requires is that you become very
specific about not only who your offer is for, but what it will
help them do, and why your solution is the right one for them.
You must position your business in the mind of your prospective
clients as the best possible choice for exactly what they need.
Broadcasting a muddy or generic marketing message won’t be
enough. Your clients need to understand “what’s in it for me?”
3. Personal credibility
A professional service isn’t like a pie or a pair of shoes. It
can’t be tasted or tried on before the customer decides to buy.
Clients are wary — and justifiably so — of committing to spend
hundreds or thousands of dollars on something they haven’t been
able to experience in advance. Without tangible evidence to go
by, they base their decision on how much they trust you. A
significant portion of your marketing activities should be aimed
at increasing your personal credibility.
Writing articles, giving talks, media interviews, and
volunteering in your professional association or community will
all contribute to your credibility. But one of the best ways to
build trust is also the simplest. Allow clients to get to know
you better before pushing for a sale. Casual phone or email
conversations, having lunch or coffee, meeting at business or
social events, and connecting at networking meetings will
contribute to the know, like, and trust factor that makes people
4. Push plus pull
In the classic marketing formula, the emphasis was on
promotion — pushing your message out to the world at large. But
that’s only one piece of the puzzle. You also need to include
attraction — pulling toward you exactly those clients you want.
For an independent professional, push-style marketing includes
cold calling, unsolicited mail or email, paid advertising
(online and off), promotional events like trade shows, and some
forms of PR, like blasting out press releases.
Pull marketing, on the other hand, is focused on building
affinity and connections. To attract clients in your niche, you
might develop referral partnerships, become visible at
networking events, get booked as a public speaker, have your
articles published, land media interviews, or build a
content-rich website. You’ll find it much easier to make a sale
when clients contact you as the result of hearing about you from
someone else, or after sampling your expertise for free.
The final element every professional needs in his or her
marketing mix is persistence. Without this component, your best
intentions with the other four will fail.
You have to connect with people over and over again before they
will remember your message. Your positioning will only be
established when prospects hear about you more than once.
Building your personal credibility depends on different types of
exposure over a period of time. And both push marketing and pull
marketing require repeat contacts in order to pay off.
Try putting these 5 P’s together into a personal marketing mix
of your own. As an independent professional, I think you’ll find
them much more pertinent, persuasive, and powerful then the
Copyright © 2007, C.J. Hayden
C.J. Hayden is the author of Get Clients Now! Thousands of business owners and independent professionals have used her simple sales and marketing system to double or triple their income. Get a free copy of “Five Secrets to Finding All the Clients You’ll Ever Need” at www.getclientsnow.com