Positioning Your Business—The Marketing Mix
If you've been anywhere near a marketing course, you would have heard of the Four Ps of Marketing. They are price, place, product and promotion. The Four Ps is another set of criteria that can help you choose a market niche. Let's look at price first.
If you're going to compete on price, don't just say you're the lowest—say why. Customers will not accept a blanket statement unless you can prove it. For instance, perhaps you can sell at such a low price because of your ability to source product from the closeout industry, buying products at pennies on the dollar. Or perhaps you have an exclusive arrangement with a distributor or manufacturer that no one else has, allowing you to sell at the lowest price. On the other hand, you may sell at the highest price but offer some added value, such as free shipping or free 24/7 support. Play up these unique factors in your USP.
Next is place. The Marines are a good example of this P.
The Marines are looking for a few good men—not all men, just a few, and only good ones. This is a great positioning statement, which makes their "business" unique and differentiates them among the other services of the armed forces. Another example was the tagline "The Pepsi Generation."
Look for a similar positioning with your business. Perhaps your focus is gender-based. Perhaps it's age-based. Sell to a unique segment of the population, not to all of it.
Following place is product. Take a common product that others sell and repackage it in a new way. For instance, take the iMac. It's just a PC, but look at the packaging. Not only does it sell, but it sells at a premium price! It also has a great positioning statement. Think Different! The iPod is another example. There are portable music devices at a lesser price, but Apple has learned that a sexy package goes a long way in differentiating the product, plus carrying a higher price tag.
Then there's promotion. Study the promotional possibilities of your product or service. Can you tie your product or service with a season or holiday where you can benefit from the promotional activities and mindshare of consumers that already exist at that time of year? Targeting your promotional message at the right time is the key to acceptance. So sit down and make a list of the popular seasonal events, including religious and cultural events other than those with a Euro-Christian focus, such as the Jewish and Asian religious holidays and ethnic holidays like Kwanzaa.
Finally, remember this very important fact when constructing your USP. Your USP is not about you nor is it about your business—it's about your customer.