Marketing a new product means understanding the basic principles and getting them right first to ensure success. Anyone launching a new business with a product, be it handmade, imported or totally original should know about the four ‘P’s of Marketing before making their first step.
When an old friend called me the other day excited to be involved with a new selling opportunity, he felt overwhelmed with the number of ideas and where to start. Despite completing my Marketing degree in 2000, I was pleasantly surprised how quickly it was to explain the basics to my friend. It was these basic principles that helped shape my 7-page proposal to him and give him a structure for his new business.
Marketing by 4 ‘P’s
It would be impossible to squeeze in three years of my Marketing degree into a single blog post and no doubt there’s further detail that can be expanded from these following points. The proposal I prepared was split by the basic principles of Product Marketing of which there are the four ‘P’s (there’s 7 if you’re talking about marketing Services like a new restaurant, holiday rental or plumbing business but that’ll be another blog post). These 4 P’s are:
Before committing to creating, inventing or importing a new product, here are some essential questions you need to ask yourself about the product and to research the competition:
- What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?
- Why would someone buy the product?
- What benefits does it have?
- What will it do to enhance someone’s life?
Let’s simplify with the example of the banana. There was a time when the UK had never seen or knew about bananas. Imagine a greengrocer now trying to sell a new fruit to customers who are used to orchard fruits like apples and pears. With such a different taste and texture, its nutritional value plus the unique way to open the fruit, it would be easy to answer the above questions about bananas.
Another essential question: are you planning to sell the product at a price that a customer would be prepared to pay? If the product is a premium item then the price should reflect the quality.
Entering a new or established market might mean being competitive to get your ‘foot in the door’. This could be a long-term strategy to build your market then increase prices as your brand becomes established, production methods become cheaper and profits margin increases.
By understanding your product’s USP, quality and benefits you’ll be able to set your price competitively to earn an acceptable profit.
Back to our banana marketing challenge! You could argue that being unique, a banana seller could ask for a premium price especially with the cost to import the fruit. Alternatively, customers wary of new tastes may appreciate a trial price. We also need to consider what other greengrocers are charging.
This basically means where a customer can buy the product. If you can’t sell through a UK retailer, shop or distributor then consider setting up your own website or eBay shop. Look into the setup, storage and shipping costs then ensure the final price is competitive enough. Perhaps it’s cheaper to have a UK distributor or friend who’s willing to store them and handle the sale, packaging and postage. Selling directly could be more profitable in the long run but research what others do and match the service offered.
If you’re contacting online (or offline, physical) stores they might want exclusivity but also a low price if bought in bulk as well as a returns service. Get to know your breakthrough for profit first then calculate from there. Consider the raw materials involved too. Could you buy more in bulk to make the final product cheaper?
Considering where to sell our bananas and we have to factor the freshness factor – fruit does not last more than days or weeks (only by refrigeration can we extend the product lifespan). Just by placing the product where customers go to buy their food in an actual market (on a stall) or shop will mean your fruit will be seen and potentially sold.
This is mainly where I have most of the skills especially online (digital communications). However, just simply providing a press release to say, a specialist magazine could win you free media coverage. In the web world, bloggers provide this opportunity at the cost of a free sample but at the risk of being criticized for the product’s performance.
There is a huge list of other promotional methods both on and offline. When it comes to digital communications and marketing then there are cost-effective and measurable ways to promote your product. Both websites and social media can offer statistics to measure passing traffic. Whereas social media can be used to create your own audience to target.
For a market trader, the promotion would simply be a handwritten sign next to the fruit, a loud voice and plenty of charm to convince the customer. Additionally, the greengrocer could have asked the town crier to announce the new fruit or distributed printed posters around the town. Oh yay!