And now for the last of the 6 Ps

Additionally to the classic 4Ps and the “Partner” one (see previous blog posts there and there) I sometimes feel the need to add another one: Projects.

What I mean by “Project” is that, is many cases, B2B companies may have a few customers (aka “Projects”) that drive a very large portion of their revenues. It’s not unusual that 10 to 20 customers could represent 80% or more of a high-tech B2B company’s business.

Therefore, it would be foolish, given that much concentration, to only focus your marketing activities on generic breadth elements, such as broad segmentation, awareness activities (ads, campaigns, events…), etc without spending some time ensuring that your bread and butter business is being taking care of.

Let me illustrate this with an example. Let’s assume you sell 3 products: a gizmo, a gadget and a widget. You are trying to grow your business by coming up with Gizmo+ a premium version of Gizmo. You do your due diligence and have the first 5 Ps well covered:

  • You will sell it through the same channel  (Place)
  • You will price it 20% above Gizmo (Price)
  • You will promote it on your website and through search based ads as well as leveraging the national Gizmos conventions to launch it (Promotion)
  • Feature wise, G+ (the code name you gave your new product) will be available in 3 more colors, quantities of 1, 5 and 10 and will incorporate all the features also found in Widget. (Product)
  • Finally, you will provide G+ demo kits, rebate offers and marketing collateral to your partners that they can promote G+ together with their total solution (Partners)

What if your top 12 customers, representing 80% of your business, don’t need this product and it only addresses new customers or small ones? What if 2 core features present in Gadget but not in G+ would make most of those customer speed up their upgrade cycle? Would it not make more sense to invest a little more –even if this means missing a specific market window for the rest of the market (e.g. Christmas season)- in order to satisfy those key customers?

Maybe. Maybe not. However, until you do a full analysis you won’t know. Maybe you will need to meet all those 12 customer one to one to train them in advance, maybe they will threaten to switch to your competition if you don’t add those two features.. or maybe it’s OK to go ahead as planned.

My point is that, in many situations, you can’t afford not to be diligent about those “Projects”, this key set of customers and projects representing such a large part of your business.

In conclusion

In my experience, specifically in B2B high-tech industries, adding the Partners and Project “Ps” can help bring up potential issues and opportunities early on, foster consensus amongst the various product, support, sales and marketing teams, and maximize the success potential of a new marketing initiative.

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