In my business coaching, I often talk to my clients about the importance of each of the 5 M’s of Marketing.
This is all about getting your ducks all lined up in a row and it’s very difficult to succeed, even if one of them is out of kilter.
What Are The 5 M’s Of Marketing?
The 5 M’s of Marketing are:
- The Market chosen to target.
- The Marketing Message used to explain the offer
- The Marketing Media used to carry the message to potential customers in the target market.
- The Measurement of marketing activities which allows you to test your ideas and to continually improve what you do.
- Your Marketing Mindset is the way you approach the activities including how consistent you are in what you say and do.
Let’s take a closer look at these Five M’s.
Your Market Of Targeted Customers
An example of the problem – You can’t sell children’s clothes to middle aged couples who don’t know any children.
The people you choose to target must have a reasonably high chance of wanting or needing what you sell at some time, either now or in the future.
In some businesses, the target customers are obvious. If you sell £1 million steel processing equipment, you need to be targeting steel mills and/or distributors, depending on the functionality of the machine.
Other times it is less obvious. If you are a life coach specialising in separation and divorce of couples with children, your ideal target is people whose relationships are breaking down. The problem is, it is hard to find them. You can hardly mailshot every married woman in your local area with a headline “Who Else Wants To Leave Her Bullying, Cheating Husband?” This is where the Message and Media come into play, so you can establish contact with those who need the service, when they need it.
It is tempting to say this is the most important of the M’s. You won’t succeed if you send any message to the wrong people in any way.
Your Marketing Message
Two examples of the problem:
- Buy our Ford cars at Rolls-Royce prices.
- We think we are great, buy from us.
I’ve used two examples of bad practice because there are two elements of your marketing message:
- Your offer – what you give the customer and what the customer gives you back, together with all the terms and conditions of the deal including any guarantees.
- The copy around the offer – how you attract the attention of your target customers away from their busy lives, for long enough to read, watch or listen to your marketing message, how you develop their interest, build desire in what you are offering and then urge them to take action by contacting you or buying your product.
Those of you who have studies some marketing will recognise I used the acronym AIDA – attention, interest, desire and action – to explain the copy.
The message element is where you tune into the customer’s psychology. It’s said you should “enter the conversation going on in your customer’s head.” This is often based on resolving a painful problem, the amount of pain determining the level of motivation to solve it. Less often but still important, the customer wants to pursue a positive opportunity for gain or pleasure. Good copy creates the desired emotional reaction.
A quick word on the offer element of your message. It’s often a mistake to try to sell your main product in your marketing message because it’s too complicated, too variable on the customer’s situation, wants and needs or perhaps too expensive for a first purchasing decision.
Instead, you’d sell some form of contact or experience.
In my own marketing, you’ll see I promote my free report, The Six Steps Profit Formula and my free Business SOS consultation (see the bottom of the page) rather than immediately trying to sell my business coaching.
Other business experts may sell a £10 book as an entry to a £1,000 course.
Yesterday I signed up for Amazon Music Unlimited on a month’s free trial to see if it suits me. I’ve tried Spotify in the past and wasn’t so keen.
Other businesses sell a limited experience. Some cruise lines sell a two or three night cruise from Dover to Europe as a way for people to either experience cruising for the first time or to try the particular cruise line or ship. They know people are happy to spend £400 for a couple of nights but £2,500 for 14 nights is a big risk for anyone who is worried they won’t like the experience.
If you send a bad message, by whatever means, to your right customers, they are very unlikely to take action. Either it won’t gain their attention or keep their interest or your poor value or unbelievable offer will be immediately rejected.
It’s tempting to say your marketing message is the most important element in the Five M’s. You won’t succeed if your message, the offer and the copy describing it, is bad.
Your Marketing Media
An example of the problem – using Facebook adverting and posting when your target customers never go near Facebook.
The marketing media is often what people think of as marketing as they give too little attention to the target market or the message. The thinking is “we must do some Facebook marketing” or “We must start a direct mail campaign” or “We must advertise in the trade magazine”.
The truth is, there are many ways you could try to communicate with your targeted customers. Often one particular method is “sold” to business owners as a must-have, either by media salespeople themselves or by people selling training in a particular media.
The other truth is your potential customers have a limited amount of time when they are receptive to marketing. Some will use Facebook and YouTube and pretty much ignore everything else. Others watch television whilst some will read a newspaper or magazine.
I encourage people to recognise the two sides of the communication process:
- Outreach marketing is when a business performs a marketing activity to reach out to potential customers.
- Search marketing is when a business does whatever is necessary to be found by a customer looking to solve a problem. Twenty years ago, the main place for search by customers interested in products and services was the Yellow Pages directory, now it is Google and the other smaller search engines.
If a properly targeted customer never sees or hears your well constructed message, your advertising and promotional activities won’t be effective. It is tempting to say this is the most important of the Ms.
Measurement Of Your Marketing Activities
I believe small businesses need to focus their efforts on direct response marketing rather than the brand image building activities pursued by large companies.
If you watch commercial television in the evening, you will see many advertisements. Some are funny, some quite sexy, some interesting, some boring but how many do you remember seeing the next morning? How often can you remember an advertisement but be unsure who is the company or brand that has been advertised? Even if you think you know, are you sure it wasn’t one of their well known competitors?
We get exposed to this drip by drip brand building activities in the expectation (or hope) the next time you are in the supermarket and browsing at the product category, you choose the promoted brand. If you’re like me, you’re more likely to buy what’s on special offer.
Instead small businesses need to use direct response marketing which is marketing designed to get an immediate action from the targeted customer. It motivates action although even the best marketing messages will struggle to get a high proportion of action on the first contact.
The big benefit of getting responses is that you can track them and measure what is happening. You can test different messages or different elements within the same message and gradually improve based on your own test results.
If Message A gets a 1% response and Message B gets a 2% response, it is obvious to use more of Message B. Then you can look at that message and change its headline (which attracts attention) and boost the response to 2.5% and change the wording of the guarantee and increase response to 3.0%.
It’s not just response you want but also conversions from enquiries into sales. If you track conversions, you might find Message A is better than Message B, despite the higher response rate of the latter. That information changes which message you test and optimise.
If you don’t measure, you won’t know and you can’t improve.
I should also say measurement is not just about the message. You should also test the different marketing media and the different target markets.
It’s tempting to say measurement is the most important of the M’s.
Your Marketing Mindset
What of the big lessons I received from studying Guerrilla Marketing (as devised by Jay Conrad Levinson) which I hadn’t really seen elsewhere was the focused on the marketing mindset of the business owner.
Jay Levinson didn’t call it mindset but instead Guerrilla Marketing Competencies, Essentials or Secrets. These are words ending in ENT. Over time, he kept adding new words to the list so you might read one book where there are 13 listed and another with 16.
I want to focus on a few of the main ones.
INTENT – the marketer must be clear on what he or she wants to achieve and plan out how it should happen. Too often, marketing is quickly thrown together with little regard to how it should work.
CONSISTENT – you can change elements in your marketing message but you can’t suddenly change core elements. For example, if you aim at the low end of the market, with a low price, low value offer, you can’t suddenly jump to a high end offer. Customers won’t see it as consistent and won’t believe it.
One of the key things that Levinson emphasised was the importance of your identity – what you or your business really are and stand for. The true you which is different from the superficial image which customers can see through and, when they do, will destroy credibility.
COMMITMENT – marketing is a process, it takes time. I mentioned earlier, people rarely response to the first marketing message because they are busy living their own lives.
One of my nasty habits is to see an interesting advertisement and tear it out of the newspaper or magazine and put it on the pile of papers next to my armchair. The next time I see the advert, I do the same…When I eventually work through my pile of papers, I may see the same advert a number of times and only then may I move from interest into action.
I believe outreach marketing needs to be a sequence of contacts and search marketing often needs to capture the potential customer’s email or telephone number so that the marketer can follow up the initial interest.
Imagine you want an extension and you invite three builders to quote for the work. Each comes to your house and gives you their proposal. One pushes for you to commit there and then by using hard sell tactics. Another is polite, gives you a competitive quote and then leaves after saying he will be in contact in a week but you never hear from him again. The third is also polite, gives you a fair quote, again says he will contact you in a week and does so, not in a pushy way buy to answer any extra questions you may have thought about or to amend the quote after you’ve had another couple of good ideas. A week later, he follows up again, showing he’s interested in helping you.
Who do you buy from? The pushy one who tried to force you into a quick decision? The one who never followed up or the one who has shown their commitment to you, and kept up-to-date with what you want?
I’m not going into all of these Guerilla Marketing ideas but these marketing mindset issues are so over-reaching, they could be the most important of the M’s.
Final Thoughts On The Five M’s Of Marketing
At the end of each section, I’ve deliberately said that specific M could be the most important one.
I did that for a very good and deliberate reason.
I don’t know you or your business but I know these 5 M’s are like the links in a chain. The most important M for you is where your marketing activities are at their weakest.
You can use the 5 M’s as a self audit. If the marketing message is the weakest, that is your most important M. If you feel everything is good buy you’re using the wrong media, that is your most important M.
If you don’t have any clear marketing path or plan and you’re inconsistent and won’t commit to any course of action because you’re impatient (patient is another of the Guerrilla Marketing ENT words), then your marketing mindset is your most important M.
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Paul Simister is a business coach who helps business owners who are stuck or struggling with disappointing marketing, to get unstuck. You can then start attracting, converting and keeping more customers. If your business is based in the UK, you can have a free 60 minutes Business SOS consultation (please click) with me to get you unstuck.