Volume I Issue 5
April 15, 2005
“ Mind your P’s and Q’s, and don’t forget about R’s and S’s”
They talk about the 6 P’s of Marketing, or the Five P’s, or the Four P’s.
I’d like to talk about PQRS.
How do you want to differentiate your brand? Usually, people talk about Price, Quality and Service.
PQS. I’ll come back to R later.
Price is easy. It’s also easy to follow. Yes, you can differentiate on price and be profitable. Just ask
Wal-Mart. But if you go that route, make sure you understand what it takes to succeed.
Most producers and marketers try to differentiate on quality and service. The danger is that these
terms are too vague, and if you try to differentiate on both, your message gets very muddy very fast.
What aspect of quality are you selling? Is it the trouble –free Volkswagen or the loaded Lexus? Is your
message clear? Does the difference make a difference? Is it remarkable?
Ask your customers why they buy what they buy. And ask what it would take to make them switch.
I remember one focus group where buyers said they were loyal – didn’t change suppliers more than
once in three years. Wow, I thought. One third of the market is up for grabs ever year! And then I
wondered, what would make them switch?
How do your customers make their purchase decisions? Do you understand the process? Do you
understand what drives them to make a change?
And what element of service are you selling? Is it really service, or is it market access, distribution, and
availability? Is it doing the basics flawlessly, or is it taking care of the exceptions?
If you know that you’re very good, but don’t know what you do that’s remarkable, your marketing
message probably doesn’t mean much, and you’re in trouble.
Differentiating on quality or service is not wrong – if you do your homework, and you are sure you really
Make sure you have the right Market Intelligence.
So, after Price, Quality, and Service, what’s left?
R is for Relationship.
How often do you hear, “It’s not like it used to be. It’s all about price now.”
But how often do you hear: It’s still a people business.”
Yes, price is part of the equation, but when the price is equal, someone gets the order, and someone
else does not. I want the order when the price is equal. This assures me that on average my prices will
be higher than my competitors – he only gets the order when his price is lower.
But when quality and service are so hard to differentiate, how do you do that?
Send away the “It’s not like it used to be” team and bring in the “It’s still a people business” team.
Yes, R is for Relationship, and Relationships do make a difference. The nature of relationships has
evolved, of course. It’s no longer about three martini lunches and golf games. It’s about confidence.
Confidence that product will arrive on time. Confidence that product will perform. Confidence that the
supplier will take care of you when things are tough.
These things will make you very good, but you’re in trouble if you stop there. Go further. Be
remarkable. Understand your customer’s business. Understand his problems. Help him grow. Take
good products and services, a fair price, and create a remarkable relationship.
Remember, R stands for Remarkable, too.
So, that all brings me back to my favorite question: WHY? WHY does your customer buy what he
buys? Is it quality, or service , or a relationship? And WHY might your competitor’s customer switch?
MarketIntell can help you answer these questions. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2005 MarketIntell. All rights reserved.
Market Intelligence Consulting
Be sure to watch for the next issue on April 30: “Are your stars aligned?”
Click here to view the previous issue:
“ Market Intelligence and Marketing Wisdom –A Book Review”
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