Using the 5th P in Your Marketing Mix to Expectceed

Using the 5th P in Your Marketing Mix to Expectceed

Silence all around—phones aren’t ringing, no incoming faxes, no complaint emails to respond to. That silence might be the result of the best customer service tool in the whole world. It could mean that your customer has purchased your product and he has no problems with it. It could mean that you have expectceeded. Expectceeding is the science of constantly striving to exceed your customers’ expectations. Every customer has certain expectations when he buys a product or service, and proper planning could prevent a customer service problem or nightmare. Every Marketing Plan selects a Target Market for its Marketing Mix (4 -P’s) but oftentimes, the customer is forgotten when integrating the marketing mix. One of your goals is to exceed your customer’s expectations when he calls. In other words, you will do everything in your power to quickly and effectively accommodate that customer if he has an order or if he has any issues or problems with your product. In basketball, a coach frequently criticizes a referee because he calls a violation against one of his players. What the coach does not realize is that that same referee prevented several more violations by telling this player, “Keep your hands off” or “Get out of the lane”.

Similarly, customer service violations can be prevented or eliminated if the customer is kept in mind in the Marketing Mix. Enter the fifth P– The Purchaser. Keeping him/her in the center of the mix is vital. Understanding his/her expectations at this portion of the Marketing Plan is essential. In each of these facets, the purchaser has certain expectations.

Let’s examine in more detail:

Product: Do you design the product based on the needs and wants of the customer or because R&D thinks it is an innovative design? Do you fully understand that the customer is purchasing your product because of its durability, or do you change materials in an effort to save cost? This, plus many other “If you build them they will come” mindsets could be devastating. Yet, in a highly technical, engineering-laden company, these practices are part of the norm.

Place: Do you utilize only traditional channels to get your product to the customer? Do you keep using the same distributors just because they have been around forever? Do you dilute your brand value by creating distributor conflict and customer confusion by having a distributor on every block? Or do you stop and decide what is the most effective way to satisfy your customer’s expectations? You start by asking the customer how and when he wants the product delivered. Then you find the distributor who will meet, and hopefully exceed, your and your customer’s needs.

Price: Do you price your product or service for the value it represents or just to be competitive? Keep in mind that Price is often the weapon of the disadvantaged. Companies lead with price when their product or service has no other discernible advantages. Which one are you? If you don’t look at pricing on value, you may be giving away margin. The product may be under-priced for the value it represents.

Promotion: Do you waste money trying to break through the clutter only to create more clutter?

Do you run a coupon promotion in the newspaper? Now, let’s say a customer comes in to make a purchase and does not have the coupon. Did you ever consider giving that coupon to your customer at the point of purchase? Another example would be a supermarket giving you the club price even though you do not have your card. In both cases, it is an opportunity to obtain customer loyalty. After all, you did put the coupon in the paper hoping that your customers would use it. Expectceeding leads to customer loyalty, which in turn leads to repeat orders and additional business. A diagram that shows the Purchaser at the center of the traditional 4 P’s should be kept on every Marketer’s desk. Contact the author for a copy.

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