Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Marketing - Part 9: Place

Today we talk about the third P or C in the Marketing Mix - Place or for customers, Convenience.

"Place" actually refers to three different Places:

  • Where you produce your Product - If your Product is a blog, what hosting service will you use (e.g., Blogger, Wordpress, your own site, etc.)? If your Product is a book and you're self-publishing, where will your book be printed? On demand? By which service? There are many possibilities to choose from. If you're not self-publishing, your publisher already has this Place. When your Product is yourself, where are you available? Physical location? Virtual?

  • Where you sell your Product - Where do customers find your Product? Customers equate "Place" as "Convenience" (or lack thereof). You want your Product to be convenient to find and buy, so you must identify all the Places your customers should be able to find it. Where do they buy similar and complementary Products? Where do they expect to find your Product? For self-publishers, this is one of the hardest challenges to overcome - getting your book in as many sales channels as possible. It usually means taking a much lower royalty per book, but Convenience for your customers is important. After all, if they can't buy your book where they want to, they probably won't buy it at all. A lower royalty is better than none.

  • Where you reach your customers to promote your Product - Where will customers find out about your Product? Where will you advertise? Where do they "hang out"? Do they read magazines? Blogs? Hang out on Facebook and other social media sites? Do they tweet? Or are they more traditional, visiting brick-and-mortar establishments? Do they support their local mom-and-pops? Or do they like modern, big-box stores? Where can you find them to reach them with your ads and promotions? If you have a blog, where do you find followers? On other blogs? Which ones? If it's a book review blog, think about where readers hang out. Posting your reviews on Amazon, B&, Goodreads, etc., will reach your target audience and draw them to your blog.

Deciding on "Place" for your Product requires that you know as much as possible about your Target Customer. You must know where they are, where you can reach them, in order to provide Convenience for them. You must know what kinds of publications they read and if they read mostly online or offline. You must know where they're physically located and be convenient for their locale. For example, if you're looking for a job in Seattle - your Target Customer is a business located in Seattle - then you are not very convenient if you live in Atlanta. Unless they're pursuing you, don't expect them to relocate you. You must be convenient for them (i.e., make the move yourself).

Poor decisions and execution of Place can make a huge difference in sales. So know your market, research your options and make these decisions carefully. If your Places don't seem to be working for you, don't be afraid to make adjustments. After all, customers must know where to find you and your product to be able to use or buy it.

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