So far in this series I’ve covered the first three Ps – Product, Price and Promotion. This then just leaves the fourth part – Place. Before I move on to Place let me first just recap on the other three. The idea of the 4Ps concept is it pulls the key elements of marketing together. First the product needs to be right. In the case of an author, a book, for example, needs to entertain the target audience. That entertainment comes at a price. The idea is to price it at an optimum price to get the balance right between generating sufficient profit per unit, whilst maximising volume. The next step is to then promote the product with the right message to the right audience. And it’s this last step which leads me on to Place. Place isn’t, necessarily, a physical place. A potential reader needs to know where to go to get the book. Prior to the digital revolution, this, in previous decades, would generally have been a book store. But now even physical books can be ordered from the comfort of your home, as indeed can be e-books.
In an earlier post I discussed the importance of online tools such as Twitter and Facebook as methods of generating awareness. Books can’t be bought directly from these platforms, so the awareness campaigns on these sites need links to other sites. This can be places like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iTunes store etc. But also your own website if it has e-commerce capability. If you have a Smashwords account you can download your own book in all the various different formats and put them on your site. (Please check the Smashwords T&Cs before doing this to ensure it doesn’t breach their contract.) So a Kindle user can download a Kindle formatted book from your site, as can an iPad user etc. However, the key point, regardless of where your book is sold, is that there is a link between promotion and place – in the case of online selling, this should be a hyperlink. I’ve lost count of the number of people promoting their book on Twitter and there being no link within the tweet. It is hard enough to sell anything these days, but make it harder for the customer to buy a product and the chances are they won’t. They’re not going to copy a book title from a tweet, then ‘open up’ Amazon and paste it into Amazon’s search facility. The purchasing ‘journey’ needs as few obstacles as possible. Let me finish by giving an example. People will only put in extra effort if they have a high desire for a product or service. Many shops in the UK selling clothes over more than one level adopt a simple policy. Men’s clothes are displayed on the ground floor, and women’s clothes on the first floor. Why? Because the shop owners know that women, generally speaking, will put in more effort to buy clothes than men. In essence, they’ve removed the ‘barrier’ of the staircase. I hope you’ve found this series about the 4Ps of marketing helpful.