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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistTue, Jun 19, 2012 5 min read

Everything You Learned About Marketing Strategy in College is Wrong

This guy's got it all wrong!In college marketing courses, they still teach the 4 P’s (Product, Place, Price, Promotion) of a “strong” marketing foundation. They also teach the doctrine of reach and frequency which says,  “Tell as many people as possible, as many times as possible and, eventually, some of them will want to buy your products or services.” That’s usually what passes for marketing strategy in classrooms everywhere. 

However, when you think about the dramatic shift in buyer behavior that has occurred in recent years, is this mid-20th century marketing model really still relevant?

The answer is....NO!

Inquiring minds might be wondering “Why? What’s wrong with the old way of doing things?” Well, it’s simple arithmetic, really. When you take a close hard look at the 4 P’s, for example, you should realize that a very important piece of the equation is missing: the customer! 

The 4 P’s focus on the various factors of the product or service instead of what’s important to the customer…which is really the most important factor for building a successful Marketing Machine.

We’ll say it again: your marketing and sales efforts need to be about the customer’s wants and needs. The faster you satisfy their pains, the faster they will purchase your products or services. With the customer first and foremost in your mind, it’s time to revamp your conception of the 4 P’s. Here’s how:

Product: When creating a product or service, don’t limit your marketing to just the features. Your marketing should create a unique experience from the first time prospects hear about your company or visit your website to the moment they tell all their friends and colleagues! This kind of remarkable approach attracts more customers by creating a self-perpetuating buzz about your business.

Place: This used to mean where your product was available. Now it means where your customers are looking for information about your product or service. Expand your thinking to include social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn groups, blogs, email subscriptions, industry websites, message forums, virtual trade shows and more. In the old way, once you knew where they were, you put ads there to interrupt them and get their attention. Forget that! Now you want to get their attention with content, educational information, videos, tip guides and data. Don’t sell, support! Before you know it, your customers will be knocking on YOUR door instead of the other way around.

Price: Honestly, as a buyer, I couldn’t care less about price. I’ll take value any day. There are countless examples of hugely successful businesses that are charging WAY MORE than most and the buyers couldn’t be happier. Here are some of our favorites: Starbucks, Cold Stone Creamery, Target, Nordstrom’s, and Disney. People who compete on price are too lazy to build something worth charging for into their product or service.

Promotion: Another bogus concept created by the ad agencies to convince businesses that they need to advertise. In reality, the only winners here are the ad agencies who take 15% of all the ads they buy. Ever heard of Herman Miller? I bet you have. What’s more, I bet you know that they make the best office chairs around and that they just so happen to be the most expensive. Ever see an ad for their chairs? Probably not. Why? Because they don’t need to advertise! You don’t either.

Forget about what you learned in college. Forget about what your first boss taught you. Forget about what your brother, sister or father-in-law tells you about marketing. There is only one truth. 

Build a remarkable product or service. Create information that helps your prospects make more informed decisions. Publish that information where your prospects spend their time. Drive them to your website. Connect with them so they convert and identify themselves to you. Then help make the purchase process as easy as possible. That’s it. The new marketing learned in one blog post. I bet your college marketing professor couldn’t do that.

Start Today - Leave your old notion of marketing behind. Start with a long hard look at your product or service. Is it really remarkable? If not, get to work making it remarkable. Look at your website, brochure or trade show booth. Does it talk about your prospects or about you? If it talks about you…you have to change it. Start working on that first. Start working on that right now!

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.