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Strategic Marketing Planning Made Simple – The 4P Business Thinking System

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[Editor’s note: Niche marketers – especially those who own or mange smaller businesses – tend to overlook the value of strategic and market planning. Part of the reason is lack of resources (e.g. time, personnel, etc.) and part of the reason is that the process can become overly complex.

The following article describes a simplified methodology for developing a strategic plan for the smaller niche business. Let me know what you think. Have you ever developed a strategic or marketing  plan for your business? If so, how did the process work out for you?  ~Scott]

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By Gogo Erekosima

An effective strategic marketing planning framework is a must-have element for any small business that wants to become a big business “when it grows up”. Unfortunately, many small business owners have as much interest in strategic marketing planning as a turkey has for thanksgiving. They avoid it.

Part of the reason why they avoid this very important process is because consultants and MBAs have conspired to make it a topic that only egg heads could love.

In working with my consulting clients, I have developed a simple framework for helping the every day business owner articulate a plan for strategic engagement with the marketplace. I call it the 4P Business Thinking framework.

The 4P Business Thinking Framework is a robust system for matching your solution to the needs of a marketplace, and then communicating that match in a way that results in sales and profits. Here is a brief overview of the 4Ps of the 4P framework.

1. People (or Profile)

For you or your business to exploit a market opportunity or overcome an industry challenge, you must have a very clear definition of the target customer. In the B2B (business-to-business) space that customer may be an organization, but the approach must still be crafted with individual decision makers in mind. In a B2C (business-to-consumer) context, you may have to define the demographic, psychographic or geographic profiles of your target prospects.

2. Problem

You must clearly define the problem your marketplace is desperate to solve for which you have an answer. In business, many ships have crashed on the rocks of market indifference because a company manufactured a solution for which the market had no problem. The time proven approach to value innovation in business is to deeply examine the clearly identified challenges of the customer.

3. Process (or Product)

What is your particular way of solving the market’s challenge that differentiates you from every other competitor?

This 3rd P in the framework is where you have a chance to stand out from the crowd of competitors for solving the problem of your chosen target market. Your process or product must be meaningfully different.

4. Passion (or Personality) and Proof

This last element is often flubbed badly by small businesses who blindly emulate the sanitized and often colorless communications of much larger firms. One of the embedded advantages a small business has is the ability to be “personal” and to communicate passion to the marketplace.

One large company that successfully communicates passion and personality in marketing is Southwest airlines. As a result of their commitment to personality in business, they continue to be rewarded with some of the highest customer approval ratings in the domestic airline industry.

If you manage a manufacturer of colorless widgets, or a buttoned-down professional service firm, you cannot afford to pass up the power of personality, passion and social proof in your marketing.

Some simple things you can do include digging through early stories of your company for narratives that may resonate, or capturing the experiences of your staff, clients and managers for your marketing campaigns.

Conclusion

Whether you’re planning for a new product or service, approaching a new target market or writing a direct mail sales letter, the 4P framework can be used to create tremendous value in your marketing planning process.

Gogo Erekosima, The Small Business Digital Coach is the CEO and Lead strategist at Idea Age Consulting – a Denver Business Consulting firm that promises to grow your small business by 24% or more in 24 weeks or less using their customized Business Growth Action MAPS.

Sign up today for a Marketing SWOT Analysis. This consulting module uncovers strategic marketing and business growth opportunities. This Consulting Package is valued at over $1500 dollars.

Article Source: Strategic Marketing Planning Made Simple – The 4P Business Thinking System

 

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