Just a few short months ago, I was writing about the tried-and-true 4 Ps of marketing. Also known as the marketing mix, the 4 Ps: product, price, place and promotion have long been the foundation upon which marketers build strategies and execute outreach programs.
While the foundational aspects of the 4 Ps remain relevant, in a time when nothing seems normal, we need to look at things through a slightly different lens. So, for what’s been dubbed the “new normal,” we’re shifting the 4 Ps to help your business change direction and better connect with prospects and clients using 4 NEW Ps: Purpose, Pivot, Positioning and Positivity.
Now more than ever it’s time to get crystal clear about your business to connect with your customers and new prospects. As I shared in Top 5 Strategic Planning Tips for 2020, understanding “why” you’re in business is the flame that lights the fire under you, your employees and your impact in the world. A company’s purpose can be communicated in its mission statement. This shouldn’t be lofty and hard to remember. Rather, it should be your “North Star” that guides your decisions and lets others know why you do what you do.
Our mission at 5280 Accelerator is to: Bring a process-driven, professional and strategic marketing approach to small businesses, enabling their leaders to focus on growth.
As you revisit your mission or write yours from scratch start with these questions:
Who are your customers? (For us, it’s small businesses.)
What do you bring to them? (We bring a professional and strategic marketing approach.)
What does your solution enable them to do better? (We enable leaders to focus on growth.)
How are you unique? (We’re process-driven.)
Having a clearly stated mission provides a sense of direction and clarity for you and your customers.
As a standard practice, businesses should regularly review their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT). This is particularly critical during times of change. Conduct a “here-and-now SWOT” to better understand your current situation. Here’s a crash course:
INTERNAL to the Business:
Strengths are HELPFUL to achieving your goals and may be the reason you got in business in the first place. They are the foundation for what makes you stand out from the competition.
Weaknesses are HARMFUL to achieving your goals and may be some of the reasons your business is not withstanding the uncertainties in our current environment.
EXTERNAL to the Business/from the Environment:
Opportunities are HELPFUL to achieving your goals and in your here-and-now analysis, you may uncover new opportunities that may not have been options at the beginning of the year.
Threats are, of course, HARMFUL to achieving your goals and since they come from external sources, you may be facing new ones that hadn’t existed just a few months ago.
Understanding the landscape in your here-and-now SWOT can help you make decisions regarding next steps in your business, including whether a pivot in your target audience, product, service, or messaging is required in order for your business to remain viable. Check out my recorded webinar given to The Alternative Board recently about how to conduct a here-and-now SWOT and which way to pivot based on the results.
Positioning your company requires you to be clear about who your customer is, where they are finding your products/services, and why they should choose you. What you should be saying to your prospects and customers today looks a little different from how you were communicating with them two short months ago.
Your message may need a complete overhaul or require just a bit of fine-tuning. The SWOT analysis brings to light the degree to which your message should shift. Your messages must change to a larger extent if you are changing your product offering in any way, or are speaking to a new target audience. Even if you aren’t overhauling your business, review how you’re positioning your company with your internal and external messages. Make sure your business remains relevant, consistent with messaging, and ready to help, in a way that empathizes with what your prospects may be going through.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when positioning your company during times of change:
Does your MESSAGE:
Communicate who you are and what you can do now?
Use a tone appropriate to today’s environment?
Appeal to a new audience or explain a shift in offering?
Do your EXISTING CHANNELS:
Still make sense?
Reach the right audience?
Need to be revised for a new audience?
Is your MESSAGE CADENCE:
Reaching your target audience often enough?
Providing consistency to build confidence?
Effective and are you using tools to measure its effectiveness?
By far, the best responses have come from marketing messages that are optimistic. Your employees and customers need positive leadership. While we can’t control external threats, we can lean on our strengths and focus on our opportunities to continue a positive trajectory forward. Here are a few ways we’ve seen our clients showing up for their employees and customers:
Buy a meal for your working-from-home employees. One of our clients bought $50 Grubhub gift cards for each of their employees. They sent them via an email code with a positive note letting each person know how much their service means to the company as a whole.
Write a note. While some of us may be experiencing Zoom fatigue, no one gets tired of receiving a hand written note via snail mail! It could be a thank you for a referral, or just a note to let someone know you’re thinking of them. It’s easy, inexpensive, and goes a long way in lifting someone’s outlook.
Do a little pro bono work. These times are more difficult for some than for others. If you find yourself in the second camp, find a way you can help ease someone’s burden by offering up your time and talent for free. One of our clients saw an opportunity to do some work for a business that was struggling. They wrote a short story about it and emailed it to their clients and vendors, and it turned out to be the most opened and clicked email they’ve done all year.
Now is the time to get clear about your business, your ideal customer and the right offering and message. And those things may need to shift a little or a lot in this changed business climate. Retooling your business and your approach with the “new normal 4 Ps” will get you headed in the best direction with new clarity and new opportunities!
Change is inevitable, and we continue to help companies pivot and find the new ways to succeed through product shifts, target market shifts, and messaging shifts – now, more than ever! If you need help getting started, our team at 5280 Accelerator would count it a privilege to be on your side. We take an “owner’s perspective” and help companies answer these questions in order to take the appropriate action that will bring more business your way.