Exploring ORM or Other Routes to Market as well as the Marketing Mix: Product (or service), Price, Place and Promotion is a critical part of developing your marketing strategy.
Previously, we covered the macro environment and how those factors play into your marketing strategy. Now we’re going to look at other routes to market and the marketing mix as ways to develop and refine your marketing strategy.
Routes to Market
We don’t always sell our products and services directly to the end consumer or customer. Traditionally, people would sell via a distributor or wholesaler. If you’re an Amazon reseller, for example, they are the intermediary. Using a middle party used to mean that they also did the marketing, and the seller could focus on the product.
However, we’re increasingly finding that a business has to sell directly as well as through an intermediary, so we need to know who holds the keys in our industry. Amazon are a good route to market, as are eBay and Gumtree, but they can be tough with their terms and conditions. If you receive customer complaints, they can decide to suspend your account.
You may decide that it’s worth going through a third party for a while, but ultimately you want to take control into your own hands.
I worked with a client who sold second-hand baby products, which is popular with parents who can’t afford to buy new items. She quickly outgrew eBay, so we built her her own e-commerce shop.
She has since built a large online community, with thousands of fans and positive comments, and exports goods to Estonia and Lithuania. Her business is booming, and she’s in her 60s and officially retired! She knew it was important to be able to communicate directly with her customers and avoid the intermediary taking a cut, so taking the next step was obvious.
You may reassess your current distribution channels and think about the relationships you have and if they work for you. Part of your strategy may be to give yourself a platform where you sell directly to your customers.
Another route to the market is with strategic partners. If you’re looking to move into a new market, partnering with someone already in it is a great idea. You can offer skills and capabilities that they don’t have, and together you can bring a great proposition to the market.
So who benefits from this? You do, because you find others to work with and other ways to operate in your marketplace, and this deepens your insight. It can, however, also strengthen your competitors’ position. It’s your micro environment where you have strengths and weaknesses from your competitors, customers, suppliers and distributors.
The Marketing Mix
Finally, think about the internal environment – you, your team and anyone who works with or for you. Within this, we have the seven Ps of marketing: Product (or service), Price, Place and Promotion – these four are known as the Marketing Mix.
An extended version includes service-based businesses, and adds People, Processes and Physical evidence.
Most of the Ps are self-explanatory. Price is one area you can be competitive, or you can choose to charge a premium. It’s one of the easiest ways to increase or decrease your sales or profit margins.
Products are your existing items, based on customer demand, and allows you to assess when is a good time to introduce a new product (or service).
Place is where people can buy or access what you do – at your office, a retail store or online.
Promotion is how you take it to market and make people aware that your product is available.
Moving onto the Services Mix; people are so important in service delivery, which is why so much is invested in training, particularly for customer-facing roles.
Processes, particularly for an online business, is all about how you take an initial enquiry and nurture it through your sales pipeline, they’ve transacted with you and become a customer, and you continue to look after them.
Physical evidence is about the customer’s opinion of what you do, such as how clean your restaurant was or if the packaging on their purchase was broken. What did they think? This is the area where people leave the most testimonials and complaints, often on social media.
The seven Ps are in the internal environment because it’s up to you to manage them with your resources. A fun way to look at your resources is with the five Ms: Minutes – how much time you have; Manpower, Machinery, Materials and Money.
So many businesses fail to grow because they don’t think about the resources they’ll need further down the line or what skills would be beneficial and don’t put these in place.
We’re going to give some thought on how to analyse your business and the environment next time.
Are you worried your marketing isn’t working right now?
If leads and enquiries are drying up, you’re not attracting the right customers or you’re not making enough profit – it’s time to investigate.