New 4Ps of Marketing: Part 3 of 4

Part 3 of the new 4Ps of Marketing focuses on Perception. Perception is the process by which people select, organize, and interpret information.  And therein lies the major obstacle for most companies when attempting to market to a broad, diverse audience.

What does your branding, advertising and marketing communicate about your company and your industry? The market perception of your brand or industry is extremely important, which is why industry leaders take extra steps to ensure that the general perception of them and their industry is positive.

To become a recognized leader in any industry you must develop a strong brand image, while building credibility and trust with consumers, particularly when faced with adversity. Example: Toyota and how they admirably responded to resolve the recent gas pedal recall problem and quickly restored consumer confidence.

What do you want to be known for, or a leader in? For solo entrepreneurs and small business owners that question must be answered both in terms of your business brand and your personal brand. Do you want to be the next Target, or Nike or McDonald’s, or something else? To raise your personal profile, do you also want to be regarded as a thought leader in your industry like Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs?

Remember, all marketing is communication and the dilemma most businesses face is that perception and reality don’t always match up. You may think you have a superior product or service, but what do your prospects think? Or, you may think you deliver superior customer service, but do your clients have the same perception? Like it or not, perception is reality and your brand or identity is WHAT OTHERS SAY IT IS!

Perception marketing is also generational, so you should consider varying the message content in order to establish a positive brand image and reach a broad, diverse multi-generational audience. Brennan White touched on the challenge of marketing to a multi-generational audience in his recent blog article titled “Viral Marketing to Generation ‘Why?’”… .

If you’re not sure your message is connecting with your intended audience – ask, listen, then respond. Much like your promotional efforts, building rapport with the market should encompass data gathering, education, information and conversation. Focus groups, customer surveys and social media should be utilized to help you determine buyer perception, while providing a forum for information sharing to ensure that perception and reality are properly aligned.

In today’s marketing oriented business culture, what you communicate through your advertising and marketing efforts will, in large part, dictate how successful your business can or will be. It’s no longer about just building a better mousetrap; perception marketing is about what you say and how you say it to build credibility and trust with consumers, and establish a strong brand image.

The final segment will focus on the 4th of the new 4Ps of Marketing – Performance. So, check back in the next couple weeks for more, and let me hear your thoughts in the meantime.

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