The old and the new
DRAGON’s Den sees many entrepreneurs fired up to present their latest ground-breaking gizmo that’s new, simple, profitable, and that, they hope, will change everyone’s lives overnight.
Sadly, many of these ‘innovations’ are not new, are no better than existing alternatives, are often over-valued, and result in the entrepreneur going away empty handed.
Which is why I am asking you a very simple question. Is NEW always better?
Take marketing for instance. Marketing is a constantly changing area that is full of new ideas and the latest must-have sales aids, yet, when it comes to getting your marketing right, new is not always best.
Yes, the resources for helping advertisers deliver their marketing messages and reach customers can and do benefit greatly from these new initiatives, but the thinking behind the marketing strategy, and the creation of the strategy may not.
It is quite some time since I have written about one of the key factors that enable you to accurately focus your sales and marketing in a way that will get results. They are called ‘The four Ps’.
The four Ps are of course, Product or Service, Price, Place and Promotion, and integrate to make up what is known as the ‘marketing mix’. The marketing mix is the combination of multiple areas of focus which help you to simplify an otherwise complex area, and helps you to concentrate your efforts for maximum results.
If it’s not broken, why fix it?
The concept of the ‘The Four Ps’ was created 60 years ago, which is why some have tried to update it, without success, and why I am reminding you what the four Ps are and how you can add them into your marketing thinking.
- Product/Service: Identify and promote the product/service benefits
- Price: Establish the value of the product/service which helps set the selling price
- Place: How the product/service will reach users
- Promotion: How you will make customers and potential prospects aware of it
You may not immediately recognise the value of the four Ps to you as a flooring contractor, but it is a well tried and tested tool that will help you to understand the wider sales potential for your business and assist your decision making.
As a flooring contractor your ‘product’ should probably be referred to as a service. It is all about what you do best, the quality of materials, delivery, and installation, along with how you conduct your business on- and offsite.
It is also about identifying the right type of customer for you, and the right type of installation, as well as helping you to really think about and understand why customers specify and work with your business. What do you do better than your competitors? How do you make your customer’ lives better and less stressful through the service your business provides?
These are your unique selling points (USPs) which can make all the difference when properly identified, adopted, and communicated, and you can then ensure that, as far as possible, you will only be tendering for the type of work that is most suited to the skills you have and the services you provide.
Place could mean either the physical location of where your firm is based, or where the work will carried out. It could also be defined as where and how you market your service, which might be online, using sales calling and email marketing, on social media, or through public relations.
It is also about your image, for instance, a good quality website that works equally well on a mobile phone or a desktop PC.
Additionally, it also helps you to understand how the customer perceives you as a flooring contractor and partner, how you respond to enquiries and generally present a professional, quality image that will build customer confidence.
Over my thirty-plus years as a contracts specialist, I have seen so many instances of people pricing and tendering for any job and at any price, and who have spoken to me about finding better ‘quality’ business, when they really mean better paying work.
I’ve even come across so called marketing businesses that claim to find work on your behalf, but where you are expected to cut your selling price to the bone, regardless of the impact on your business.
You may think that the lowest price always wins, but if you use the four Ps model to help you identify the right businesses to work for, and promote the unique benefits of your operation, you may find that price is not the key factor when ordering decisions are made.
Promotion is where you think about how to publicise and create awareness of your service or product. It’s also where you will consider the messaging, and how to generate leads and revenue.
StreetwiseSubbie has helped its buddies to develop their marketing promotions in a way that makes them effective. For example, we have helped members use quality data suppliers to create targeted leads and then introduce themselves to those identified prospects.
We have also helped with the development and optimisation of their websites and other promotional tools and processes.
As I’ve said here on many occasions, marketing is a process, not an event, and whilst big brands spend millions of pounds on advertising, that’s not what we are suggesting you try and copy, because there are low-cost - and even no-cost ways - you can market your skills, service, and products successfully.
And remember, even though marketing tools, media platforms, and how people consume media have changed since the four P’s were developed sixty years ago, the fundamental elements of marketing have not. Which is why you can apply the concepts of the marketing mix to any type of marketing.
Marketing and StreetwiseSubbie at CFJ Online Flooring Expo
If you want to know more about marketing and a whole host of other topics, why not pop along to StreetwiseSubbie’s room at to CFJ Online Flooring Expo on 1 July 2021 where you will have the opportunity to watch five presentations directly relevant to flooring contractors. These include getting paid, variations, retentions, and health and safety on site, and of course, marketing.
You can find out more about some of the low-cost and no-cost ways you can market your business. This will cover aspects relating to search, your website, Google’s free tools and the benefits of social media.
Designed to arm you with the knowledge you need to overcome the challenges of checking contracts, getting paid, and managing your business for better profits, these sessions are not to be missed. I will be joined by my colleagues Jo Teeling-Smith, Geoff Noake and Paul Dickens and look forward to seeing you there and to answering any contractual, commercial, or marketing questions you may have.
Please pop in and say ‘hello’ on the day.
Ask us for more information
If you wish to talk to us about the four Ps, or any other marketing related matter, then please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get in touch. Alternatively, why not chat with us at to CFJ Online Flooring Expo and meet our experts on the day. We look forward to seeing you there.
Barry is MD and co-founder of StreetwiseSubbie.com which provides business solutions for specialist contractors throughout the UK