Thursday, March 25, 2010

Marketing Mix

By Walt Brittle

Back in 1951 when the term “marketing mix” was invented the leading marketers of the time could not have envisioned what the marketing mix would be in 2010. For many years we worked with the four “P”s of marketing. Then, the four “C”s (commodity, cost, channel, and communication) were popular in an attempt for move from the product focus to a consumer focus. But regardless of what it is called, the principles are the same and an entrepreneur or her delegate needs to consider them when developing a marketing strategy. Business book authors are always putting new labels on well established concepts as well as inventing new ones. “Viral marketing” a popular term these days refers to work-of-mouth marketing using social networking. Some say it is being used in unscrupulous ways, but that’s a subject for another article. What those creative marketers back in 1951 couldn’t have envisioned are the huge number of choices a marketer has available today. The main thing an entrepreneur planning a startup venture should take-away from this article is that technology has significantly expanded the choices listed in the PLACE and PROMOTION blocks of the marketing mix illustration. And, they need to make sure their advisors and agents are considering the full scope of what is available when defining the marketing mix. For brevity I will not address journal TV ads, radio spots, door hangers, direct mail, newspapers, directories, websites, point of purchase displays and the like, all useful but well understood. The following is our focus, the newer elements in the mix.

Search Advertising
Pay-per-click advertising
Search advertising is based on a pay-per-click (PPC) cost model. You determine your base bid, which is the maximum amount you’re willing to pay when someone clicks on your ad. You’ll never be charged more than your base bid and you might even pay less. With search advertising, one cent more than the next highest bid guarantees your ad is displayed. Google, Yahoo, Bing and more use this form of advertising to generate income. When someone enters a key work in a search the software matches the ads with the key word and displays the ad on the page, usually top and right hand boarders. Position is base on your bid. In many case it can be precisely targeted. The objective of the ad is to get the reader to a specific Webpage so when someone clicks on it they are taken to the linked website. Competition is fierce so the bid and budget options need to be managed.

Internet Display Advertising
Designed to reach your target audience via a variety of media—mobile phone, gaming, video. In this as well as search advertising the sellers provide comprehensive management and reporting tools to get a detailed understanding of your campaign’s results.

Email Marketing
Email marketing comes in several forms:
  • What a company sends to people that know the company and have agreed to receive what you are sending it.
  • What a company sends to people that don't know them using a purchased list. THIS IS OFTEN CONSIDER SPAM AND IS GENERALLY NOT RECOMMENDED.
  • Buying ad space in a e-publication sent out by someone else.
Social Media Advertising
In the United States, 3.5 billion brand-related word-of-mouth conversations take place daily. Social media sites and tools emulate word of mouth in a digital environment where people meet, share ideas and socialize with friends, family and colleagues. And this space offers a prime opportunity for marketers to expand their brand presence. Advertisers target consumers at the point of influence where—in the course of planning, living and sharing their lives—they are making and influencing purchasing decisions. Facebook, Digg and others. Key Benefits:

• Word-of-mouth advertising is increasing at 30 percent or more per year and is forecasted to hit $3.7B in ad revenue by 2011.

• Word of mouth and viral marketing recommendations from friends and family have the greatest influence on online purchase decisions compared to other recommendation sources.

The social marketing platforms are many. Here is a Website that may be helpful in deciding which ones to use followed by the listing of what was available today.

• Bebo • Daily Motion • Digg • Facebook • Flickr • Fotolog • Friendster • Habbo Hotel • hi5 • iLike
• iPlayer • LastFM • LinkedIn • LivingSocial • Mixi • MySpace • MyYearbook • Ning • Orkut
• Pool Supplies • Sagazone • Second Life • Skype • Twitter • Wikipedia • welovelocal-com • YouTube

If you are an entrepreneur managing a small business or you are thinking of starting a business you should seriously consider appointing an advisory board to help with your marketing mix decisions. SCORE offers free consulting and some counselors also serve on advisory boards.
Walt Brittle is a SCORE Chapel Hill Carrboro business counselor. See:

Monday, November 2, 2009

What is your promise?

Most people spend most of their lives trying to fit in, but in business you want to stand out for all the right reasons.  In his article, The Brand Promise, Identifying the Single Most Important Measurable in Building Value, Verne Harnish, author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits--the “Growth Guy” columnist for several publications and a contributing editor for Fortune Small Business magazine had this to say in his article on Brand Promise:
What is the promise you’re making to your customers that both really matters to them and makes you different from your competitors?
Would it be obvious if I went to your website or looked at your marketing materials?

This Brand Promise decision is at the heart of an effective strategy to differentiate your firm from the  competition. And your devotion to delivering on the promise must be maniacal and complete or the promise becomes an empty slogan. Determining a brand promise is a fateful moment in the life of any company. Choose the right one – the one your customers respond to, the one you can track and execute day after day – and you win. It’s truly that simple. Choose the wrong one, and you’ll probably flounder for years, never quite hitting your goals. So, how do you choose the right brand promise for your organization?
So, how do you choose the right brand promise for your organization?
Ask yourself, what is your customers’ greatest need? Not their wants – they’ll “want, want, want” you to bankruptcy if you let them!
What you’re looking for is what really matters to the customer that also demonstrably differentiates you from the competition. And while you’re at it, go to,,, and and study how these firms highlight, communicate, demonstrate and execute on their brand promises. Some of them are not the most elegant sites you’ll see, but they communicate a clear message.

There are two “must read” articles to help drive a brand promise. The first is Jim Collins’ (famous author of “Good to Great”) HBR article “Turning Goals into Results: The Power of Catalytic Mechanisms” – you can download the article at (clickon Library then Articles). The second article is one I wrote entitled “The X Factor.” Goto and search on my last name Harnish – you’ll  see it in the list – I promise!"

I recommend you spend time reviewing the articles and other resources at and then get to work carefully crafting your Brand Promise. Finally, don’t go it alone, ask for help; send us an email or talk to your local SCORE chapter counselors.