As discussed in part one of the Five P's of Marketing, the Marketing Mix is made up of the following variables.
Product - the product or service offered to the customer
Price - pricing strategies with the goal of meeting a desired profit margin
Place (Distribution) - distribution of the product/service to your target market
Promotion - communication and endorsement of your product/service to a customer
People - service marketing and the level of customer service you provide to your customer
Each of these variables has a diverse effect on search engine marketing. The question becomes what role does each of these variables play in search marketing efforts? Let's look it from the eyes of a website owner who is marketing their product or service through their website.
The Product portion of the marketing mix applies to SEM in various respects. Of course it refers to the products and services that you provide on your website. Whether you incorporate the use a shopping cart on your site, or provide an online service you need to market your product/service online. This may include establishing a sponsored campaign using key phrases that pertain to your product or service, or this may include optimization for your site for branded phrases that pertain to your product or service offering. Does your website convey the features and benefits of your product/service? Your online marketing efforts need to communicate this. Search engine marketing definitely plays a key role with the Product variable of the marketing mix.
You may have noticed that many sites who sell their products online tend to offer better prices online than offline. (Pier One and Ikea are good examples). Many sites offer discounts on your next online purchase with them. Pricing strategies are as important online as they are in physical bricks and mortar locations. With so much competition out there, employing proper pricing strategies on your site is a must. Using search marketing to get users to your site is the first step. Communicating clear pricing on your site is a necessity if you are looking to succeed in the online marketing of your business.
Search engine marketing has a definite impact on the distribution of your product/service via an online medium. Depending on the stage of the buying cycle consumers are at, many people use search to research and/or purchase products online and quite often offline. If your site is not found in the prime real estate of the search engines, you are going to have a hard time marketing your product online. Search engine marketing can get you there. Think of search as an online distribution channel for getting your product/service to satisfy the needs of the consumer.
Your website can act like a book or catalog with web pages of your products for potential customers to browse and hopefully purchase. Through search engine marketing efforts you can promote your brand, your service, your unique online competitive advantage, conversion points and more. Search engine marketing plays a distinct role in the promotion of your site whether it is through a sponsored campaign or through organic efforts. Simply put, if you want to have an effective online presence you need a strong search engine marketing campaign to help provide that presence.
As mentioned in part one of this series, the fifth P in the marketing mix is for People. (People, meaning your service and support staff.) So how does this variable in the marketing mix apply to search engine marketing? Not only does this include your online support staff (who answer any questions and concerns that your consumers have), but in this case the people variable also refers to those involved in the creation, promotion and upkeep of your site. This may include your web design team, your marketing team, and even your search engine marketing firm that you may be using. Combined these people are helping to ensure that the other variables of the marketing mix are in place so that you can achieve online success.
To answer the question, do the Five P's of Marketing play a role in search engine marketing? The answer is yes of most definitely. A better question to ask yourself may be what role does search engine marketing play in your marketing mix?
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