Anyone taking and MBA or college level business classes have probably heard of the 4 Ps of Marketing. The 4 Ps include Product or service, Price, Place and Promotion. The theory is that you create customers by finding the right mix of your product or service with price, place and promotion. In other words if you have the right product or service, at the right price, at the right place and the right people know about it you will create customers.

This article will focus on the Promotion aspect of the 4Ps. We will consider you have the right product or service, that it is priced correctly, and that you have the right location or distribution point for your product or service. The goal is to determine, in today’s marketplace, what is the best form of promotion. We qualified the goal by today’s marketplace. Today’s marketplace is characterized by high unemployment, less discretionary income and low consumer confidence. Now let’s further qualify by taking internet marketing out of the picture. We are focusing on a small neighbourhood business trying to maintain their current customer base, at their current or increased purchasing base and attract new customers.


We tend not to promote in a tough economy. That’s exactly when they should be promoting. Why? - Because we get the best value for our allotted promotion dollars. Demand is low and supply is high for graphics and printing services during these tough times. That means higher quality promotional items at less cost.

What are the highest value promotion opportunities?

Business Cards- The most common and cost effective tool for building your business. If you have no other promotional collateral, you need a professionally done, quality business card. It represents you, your enterprise and the quality of both. Pass them out everyplace you go, the restaurant, the doctor’s office, the bank in your business, You can pay someone to pass them out at office buildings and other high density areas in the local area of your business.


Bookmarks-Distribute them containing package specials or discounts. The bookmark has inherent value. Your existing or potential customers can use them plus your specials and business contact information is in front of them every time they do. There are a couple of tried and true distribution methods for bookmarks. Check to make sure both are legal in your local area before you do them. Pay a high school kid to stick bookmarks behind the windshield wiper on cars parked behind office buildings. Focusing on the cars behind the office building will make connection with local workers. Find a high traffic restaurant, bar or nightclub in your immediate area. Again pay someone to pass your Bookmarks for cheap out as people are entering. Like I mentioned earlier, make sure it is OK with the business owner before you start.

Postcards and Mailings-For neighborhood businesses, these are very effective for getting your promotional message to local existing and prospective clients. You first acquire a professional looking postcard designed according to US Post Office Guidelines for mailing. Then use your existing customer list, get a mailing list from a realtor friend or last resort buy a mailing list of homeowners in your ZIP Code. Send out post cards with first time customer specials or short term specials that expire. Push them to take advantage of your offers quickly. If you have an appealing post card and good specials, your business will likely get return on the cost of graphics, printing and mailing.


The promotional values described above are just a few of those available in today’s economy. One of the most important things to remember when using these types of promotions is branding. Make sure you use the same logo, fonts, colors and business images for all. People are less likely to throw promotional items in the trash if they recognize quickly the business it comes from. There will be more to follow.

Marcus is focusing on affordable value added business methods that will help the small businesses stay afloat during the tough economic times. More small business promotional tips are available at[].” Other productivity improvement recommendations for the small business are at

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