PHUKET: The dictionary definition of marketing is ‘the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising’.
Through the next series of articles, we will discuss the concept of ‘marketing mix’ and the ‘4 Ps’, particularly as they apply to small businesses. These are product, price, place and promotion.
Any freshman marketing student will have studied the ‘4 Ps’, first coined by American academic Neil H Borden, and then refined by Edmund Jerome McCarthy in 1960.
Let’s take a look at the first one: product.
The product (or service) is what you’re selling to your customers. Let’s discuss this with the example of a small bakery.
The product is the fresh bread, pastries, jam, scones, tarts… basically everything on the menu. But the concept of product doesn’t end there. It includes the packaging, ambience of the store, politeness of the store manager or clerk, and the overall experience of shopping.
To market a product, business owners have to understand the need that the product satisfies. A product is essentially a ‘solution’ made up of dozens of complex factors, even something seemingly as simple as a loaf of bread.
It should taste great, smell appetizing, be available in different sizes, have a desirable texture, be produced with eco-friendly, locally sourced ingredients… the list goes on.
This is where small businesses can create a niche for themselves. The personalized service, attention and care that customers receive at a small business is something they value and come back for.
A corner-shop bakery owner can, for instance, capitalize on the fact that he or she uses a treasured family recipe, because that is the experience customers come to expect at such an establishment.
Small businesses should play to their strengths, which is the element of differentiation, rather than standardization.
Zohaib Sikander is the Business Editor at the Phuket Gazette. He has a degree in entrepreneurship and operations management. Send questions or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Zohaib Sikander
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