Eventually most marketers are presented with the task of creating a positioning statement for their business, brand, product or service. While some may dismiss this important step as unnecessary or time-consuming, a good positioning statement can start you off on the right foot, and ample time and effort should be invested in developing your positioning statement. In addition to the utility you’ll derive from your positioning statement once it’s crafted, the development process also forces you to think about your brand from a strategic point of view and consider the value your product or service has for your target audiences.
As we find ourselves in the aftermath of the housing bubble, as well as the financial crisis and the economic downturn that followed, it is important that we as marketers examine our role in what has happened and learn from any mistakes we may have made. This type of critical self-analysis can be difficult, but if we want to grow from our experiences and make ourselves better marketers, it is a vital exercise.
All of the causes and contributing factors of the housing bubble, crisis and downturn can be debated ad nauseam, but I think one thing is clear: people engaged in financial activities, such as obtaining mortgages, selling and buying financial instruments, etc. that they either did not or did not want to fully understand. And despite warnings of the contrary, many of these people held an irrational opinion that the markets would somehow fail to follow the pattern of ups and downs that they always have in the past. Some may have acted out of greed, some out of fear and some just because it seemed like the prudent thing to do at the time.
I believe that most marketers (not all, but that’s another topic) acted and continue to act ethically and honestly, and based on that opinion I started thinking of what lessons could be gleaned from the events over the last few years. As I sat to reflect, I kept coming back to a common theme: the Marketing Mix (Product, Price, Place and Promotion). This invaluable tool/structure that marketers have come to rely upon hasn’t necessarily failed us, but instead we have failed to properly utilize it. And in fact, I think we are continuing down that road even today.
If you look at the amount of focus placed on Product, Price, Place and Promotion, you quickly see that the majority has been placed upon Promotion while Product, Price and Place have seen little attention. Why? The simple answer may be because in many ways Promotion is the easiest to execute, especially in the digital age, and many times the most exciting. Product, Price and Place are just as important components in the mix, however, so I will address all four and discuss some lessons we can learn.