Wyoming Business Tips for May 2

April 26, 2010

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center, part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Michael Lambert, Wyoming Entrepreneur Market Research Center manager

"I have heard about the "4 Ps" of marketing. What is meant by the second "P" -- placement?" Herman, Casper

Placement is critical in marketing a product and is generally considered one leg of the "4 Ps," which are product, pricing, placement (location) and promotion. If any of these legs is weak, then a business will have a much lower chance of succeeding.

So what is meant by placement? This quite simply is how or where a product is sold. In years past, choices were pretty simple. An owner could put the product in the store or sell to someone else, who would put it in a store or catalog.

With the advent of the Internet, "place" has come to mean everything from the brick and mortar store on main street, to print catalogs, Internet retailers like Amazon, direct Web sales, e-mail sales, television and other venues.

The point is that an owner needs to ensure that a product is located where customers are looking for it. If that is in a main street store, fine. However, increasingly today's consumers are looking for products in multiple places. The convenience of Internet sales means that competition is not just the store down the street or in the next town. It could be someone in New York, Canada or Taiwan.

One example would be someone who hand spins and dies wool to be used in knitting. Traditionally, the person would sell the product at craft shows or perhaps to a few local or regional knitting and yarn shops. If that is done today, would the business person be missing numerous opportunities?

The business should consider creating a Web site to sell directly to knitters around the world. Other options for placement would be to list products on sites like Amazon.com and ETSY.com (a Web site dedicated to helping artisans sell hand-made goods).

Take time to make sure that a product can be located where customers expect to find it and the small business owner will have taken a big step toward success.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail wsbdc@uwyo.edu or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY 82071-3922.

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