7Ps of Marketing: Place

- February 13, 2012

Knowledge Monday/Place

Hello, I’m Jim Glover, That Branding Guy, for Once a Day Marketing, where business takes shape. 

Today is Smart Monday and we’re continuing with our series about the 7Ps of Marketing.  Our topic is all about place, also known as distribution.

It’s interesting, when you think about what we are doing here at Once a Day Marketing.  It’s like a new language, and often the best way to learn a language is total immersion.  You go to a country and don’t hear a bit of English, you hear the language of that country.  After a while you become fluent in that language.  And that’s what we are doing here.  We’re tossing a bunch of words, ideas and concepts at you and hopefully you come out of it speaking great Marketing.

When we define place or distribution in the 7Ps, we’re talking about all the places that your customers can find products.  In today’s world there are a number of places that make products available, including traditional modes and non-traditional modes like the Internet.

Now, think about your daily transactions.  What kind of experience do you have when you go to the grocery store?  A Safeway visit is different than a Whole Foods?  Or you might purchase a product online on this kind of website vs. that kind of website, eBay, Amazon or something totally different.  There are all kinds of experiences that you have when you purchase a product. 

What you have to think about are the shopping experiences that you love and then the ones you don’t like.  You want to make sure when you are looking at your own company, product and places that you create an environment where your customers love to buy your products.

Where are your customers finding your products?  There may be a direct way to your product or, there might be an indirect way to your product.

Let’s go back to the caveman days for a moment.  Think about that very first caveman 10,000 years ago.  He figures out how to grow some sort of grain outside the cave.  Somebody walks by and says “What’s that?”  He responds that it’s a new food source.  The passerby offers some form of money, and he gives them the grain.  So that would be the direct approach.

Perhaps someone stops by from another village and he says “You know, I think I can sell your grain to people in my village.  Why don’t you let me have some, I’ll go sell it and we’ll split the profits.”  This is the indirect approach. 

So you have the possibilities of direct and indirect.  The indirect mode is typically a manufacturer who uses a wholesaler, a middleman or a distributor to get to a retail outlet that finds the consumer.

 But today everything is changing.  You know that.  The world is going digital.  There are all sorts of interesting ways to get your product out there. 

Let’s look at Apple Computer.  When Apple first created its computers, it sold indirectly to their customers rather than directly.  Numerous sales channels were in place and so they used these existing indirect channels to sell their products through wholesalers, distributors and so forth. 

But over time it’s changed.  There are physical Apple Stores and there is an online Apple Store, yet you can still find Apple products in places like Best Buy. 

Today distribution and place strategies are comingled and what you have to do is find the strategy that makes the most sense for the kind of product you’re pushing through those channels. 

Place strategies, a.k.a. distribution strategies, are going to continue to change and evolve.  Here’s an idea that you might think about.  Let’s say you’re watching a video on your smart phone about how a craft brewer is making a specialized beer.  As you are watching the video you can touch a button and instantly an option is available for you to order a case of that new micro brew.  While you are still watching the show, the product is packaged, put into a distribution system, shipped and the very next day it’s sitting on your doorstep.

That’s powerful.  That’s where the world is going.  What you should do, as you take a look at where your place and distribution channels are, is make sure you are able to create strategies that really make sense for your customers and ensure that they love the experience, want to buy your product and want to buy it often.  Maybe even tell a few friends.  That’s your goal when it comes to place.

That’s Smart Monday for today.  Stop by tomorrow for Strategic Tuesday.  I’m Jim Glover, That Branding Guy, for Once a Day Marketing, where business takes shape.  Hopefully your business is taking shape as you follow our blog.  And we’ll see you next time.

James Glover: (505) 501-1330 or onceadaymarketing@gmail.com