By Michael Thompson, Chairman-elect, SCORE NE Massachusetts


Marketing 101 used to teach only four P’s: product, price, placement, promotion. But today the focus has changed to “building relationships with your brand” and so people has been added.

Most entrepreneurs usually begin with the product they dream of offering. But they should be thinking about their target market, the actual consumers who they hope to sell...and whether they actually need these kinds of products. If they do, then focus on as large a target market as possible, so the sales will be substantial.

As far as price is concerned, remember that it can position your product if it’s the highest (or lowest) available. Always strive for the highest price you can get but remember to test your target audience’s perception before you commit. Think: “what message do I want to send?” And then test the product/price offering to see if your consumers get it.

Placement deals with the channels you hope to penetrate. Selling online is attractive but it requires advertising to be successful. Wholesale is easier if you don’t mind selling under someone else’s brand. Institutional can be less expensive but requires end-user selling. And remember: “the market sets the price”...don’t be afraid of charging different prices based on the channel or the geography you’re targeting.

Promotion encompasses all those activities that you decide to use to drive trial. Remember your message positions your brand in the consumer’s mind so be very focused and customize the wording to the channel; e.g., with specialty items, there is the ability to utilize “aspirational marketing” remember you’re selling dreams.

Every message you deliver, every sample you send, help build a bridge between your product and its people...the potential users. That bridge is the start of a relationship that requires nurturing and care. Remember you’ll need disciples to build your brand.