There are now 8 P’s of marketing a start-up business: No longer can we rely on the status quo in starting a new business. You’ve been taught or have read that there are 4 P’s for marketing a business – Price, Promotion, Place and Product. The 4 P’s have helped many companies keep their marketing focused and targeted considering some of the most important components of selling their products and services successfully. But now, times have changed. With new social media networking trends and rapidly changing competitive environments, there is more to consider. Think about adding a few new concepts to the list: People, Passion, Personalization and Profitability.

  1. First, let’s examine people. In order to differentiate your company from the rest, you need to have a people strategy. This entails developing an environment where people are free to act (decision-makers), free to think (innovators) and are able to contribute to the overall vision of the company (committed). Too many companies are too structured; making them less reactive to changing environments. As a new business, you have an opportunity to be less rigid than your counterparts. Let’s face it, being responsive and innovative are the driving factors to success. Sometimes big businesses make it difficult for their ‘people’ to be able to respond quickly to change and do not encourage out-of the box thinking leaving a huge window of opportunity for small businesses. Successful business owners know how to match the right people, to the right position. As you begin to grow your business, consider adopting people strategies that will set you apart from your competitors.
  2. Second is passion. One of the reasons so many people start a new business in the first place is because of passion. Make sure to carry the passion throughout everything you do. Marketing strategists call this branding. What is branding exactly? Branding can best be described as ‘everything you do’. With passion comes an emotional connection to consumers. Make sure your brand tells a story and demonstrates passion consistently. Because new businesses have the opportunity to be flexible and are small enough to create unique experiences for consumers quickly, passion will drive your success.
  3. Third, consider personalization. Social media has brought personalization to the forefront and is a growing trend in marketing businesses. Personalization can be defined as the personal connection that your client experiences from your products and services. Personalization strategies can be considered in several ways. By using social networks you can stay connected instantly with your followers while creating interest and buzz around your business. Email marketing is another way you can personalize your marketing. Most email systems that are used today on Web sites or by entering new clients into the system will allow you to put them into specific buckets. Meaning, you can better define your target and tailor your marketing messages. Let’s not forget that most small businesses are not as complex at this point. Why not put a label on the package with the consumers initial. Personalizing your product or service to fit the consumer is a fast growing movement in marketing. If you intend on staying competitive – you should have a personalization strategy that sets you apart.
  4. Lastly, profitability is essential. Profit can be analyzed through direct profitability, life-cycle profitability, market-based profitability, category management, life-time value and/ or profit acceleration. Why should we focus on profitability? Because it’s important for us as small business marketers to compete in today’s competitive marketplace and in order to do that we should classify products as high, medium or low performers helps managers to focus promotional strategies and activities around those products and services that bring in the most profits to the least.

What can you do now?

  • Design a people strategy to include a personal development plan (PDP). This plan will allow new employees and potential staff to offer insight on the type of work they like to do that creates passion and excitement for them at work. Development areas can include training, short-term and long-term objectives, starting position and target position as well as timeframes.
  • Make sure your brand tells a story. Consumers recognize passion and can relate to your brand if you have passion. To encourage passion, develop a brand story and a brand promise. Refer to John Deere, a brand that has been around for 150 years, to see how a strong brand promise can build a passionate environment.
  • Start a personalization strategy by brainstorming with your partners, staff or even friends. Come up with something unique and different. You can use social media, email or packaging to create an interesting, personal experience for consumers.
  • Identify your products and services and label as high, medium or low performers to examine profitability so that you know where to focus your efforts.
  • Develop your 8 P’s marketing strategy around product, price, promotion, place, people, passion, personalization and profitability.
  • Exercise scenario planning (what if planning) to see what you can do to optimize your promotion strategies while thinking through what if scenarios.
  • Research and stay abreast of accountability measures such as direct profitability, life-cycle profitability, market-based profitability, category management, life-time value and/ or profit acceleration then decide which approach is best for your company.
  • Take a Managerial Accounting class at your local Small Business Administration office or local community college.

The fact is the new concept of eight (8) P’s is a great way to focus your marketing and promotions around the ‘entire’ strategic focus of the company; taking a holistic approach to marketing. Exploring the concept of profit as an eighth ‘P’ will help marketers to hone in on not only marketability but accountability. The key here is competitive advantage and making sure that small businesses have the same exposure to marketing trends that fortune 500’s employ every day.