One popular definition of marketing is known as the Five P’s of marketing. The five P’s refer to the type of decisions that you will have to make when you effectively market your product. These decision categories still apply in Internet marketing, though the decisions you make around them may differ when you are dealing with an online environment vs. a “brick and mortar” store or location.
The physical product or the service that you are offering to the customer. You will decide what to sell or offer, how it should appear, what customer service support will come with it, and any warranty or additional aspects of the product that will be included. For the Product aspect of Internet marketing, you need to make decisions regarding the following:
• Functionality – what does the product do? What does it not do? This is a list of some of the features of the product. These are the basis for the benefits that help a customer determine which product(s) they will purchase. In an online environment, remember that your website itself is part of your product offering.
• Appearance – The appearance of the product and even the appearance of its packaging is important in conveying the message that you want to send to the public.
• Quality – the quality of your product or service needs to match the message you are sending to the customers in your marketing.
• Packaging - It should communicate the same level of quality and functionality you promised.whatever you’ve been promising. The packaging should always complement the product. The copy should highlight the major benefits of the product for those who haven’t decided to purchase it yet.
• Brand – Your website and any Internet marketing you do should strengthen and complement your brand - customers should recognize your company whether they see it online or live.
• Warranty – The warranty has multiple affects on your product. First, of course, there is the financial implication of a warranty that needs to be considered. Second, there is the practical side of implementing a warranty.
The people decisions that you will make are those that refer to how you want your customer service representatives to interact with your customers.When you are marketing a product or service, you are also marketing the people that provide that customer or service.You want to consider how you will do that, particularly considering the following:
• Knowledge -If the person or website recommends a new product, you are more likely to purchase something from them than if you saw it on a website that you were not already familiar with. For this reason, part of your Internet marketing strategy may be to establish yourself or your company as a source of reliable, valuable information.
• Service – Need to know customers expectation from your salespeople, your customer service people, and your technical support people.Ready to provide the level of service, even in an online environment.
• Attitude – Although you might not think about this one initially, the attitude your people carry - even through online transactions, emails, or other forms of communication - will also communicate a message to your customers.
Pricing decisions are made based on profit margins, pricing that competitors use, and the demand in the market. You will also have to make decisions regarding when to offer price discounts and whether or not you’ll allow financing or other payment arrangements.With the Internet market, you’ll need to compete on price but also on shipping charges and any other fees that might change what the customer pays for the product or service.
Pricing is one of the most challenging areas of your Internet marketing strategy to address.The strategy that you use to price your products and services depends on the type of industry you are in, the quality and position of the competition you have, the activity in the market itself, and several other factors.
Promotion decisions will need to be made regarding how you will communicate and sell to your potential customers. You’ll have to decide what you can afford to spend on promotions as well based on the expected return on investment (ROI). If not done carefuly, you could easily spend thousands of dolars on promotion activities that do not provide any significant return on investment.Internet marketing strategy should take advantage of as many opportunities as possible to attract and keep visitors on your website.
• Advertising – What kind of advertising will you put in place for your product or service? How will you integrate any online advertising with offline advertising? One strategy is to use your offline advertising to drive your visitors to your website, where you can then advertise anything and everything you want.
• Personal selling – Will you still have personal selling, as in, will you be doing personal face-to-face marketing? Remember that if your website is the sales channel, there may still be salespeople behind it who need to close the sale - or fulfill the sale. Also, building relationships with your client base online is key if you want to become known as an expert and someone that your customers will buy from again in the future.
• Public relations – A company’s reputation is critical in sales. The Page Rank efforts you undertake both online and offline can make the difference between a customer choosing your product vs. the competition’s.
• Message – The basic information you want every customer to know about your product, service and organization. It could be the basis for all of your online and offline advertising and what you want the customer to walk away remembering about your offering.
• Media – what additional types of media will you use, and how will you integrate them with your online advertising and marketing? The answer to this depends on whether or not your customers would receive your messages in those other channels.
• Budget – Finaly, your promotional efforts are limited by the amount of money that you have to spend on them. Again, many internet-based marketing methods can be relatively inexpensive or even free - but then some can be very expensive.
Also sometimes called Placement, these decisions regard how you will distribute your product or service to the customer. Gone are the days when you could consider only your local geographic area as a possible place for selling your product or service.
• Channel Motivation – each channel you sell through, you need to be able to motivate your customers to take action through that channel. For example, if you sell a specific product, you could sell it through your own website as well as through a major retailer like Amazon.com. Each sales channel may require different marketing, advertising, and promotional activities so that you can recoup the investment you’ve made in that marketing channel.
• Market Coverage – what range of the market are you going to attempt to cover with your marketing efforts? Which other websites will you advertise on, and how will you choose them?This requires some understanding of what you already have gained in terms of marketing coverage as well as knowing where your customers are already surfing.• Logistics – For each decision you make on where, to whom, and how you plan to sell your product or service, both online and offline, you have to be able to carry through on the operational, logistical side of the sales equation.
• Service levels – In this aspect of the Place decisions, you want to consider if you will offer the same level of service both online and offline. As we’ve mentioned, providing excellent customer service for online customers could be the key to keeping a customer from clicking over to the next website.