In a traditional marketing plan for a product, ‘place’ is one of the four elements, with distribution channels being the key component. For personal marketing we call it ‘positioning’. Distribution is public relations and publicity – getting your message across, talking to the right audience. In a nutshell, it is where you need to be placed in order to get the work you really want. It describes the place that the product that the product occupies in the mind of the customer, in relation to its competition.

There are some incredible products in the marketplace, but because they have not been adequately branded and marketed, not many people are aware of them, nor do people actively seek to purchase them. The same happen with individuals who do not actively seek to develop their brand and merely coasts along, often complaining that there is insufficient work or too many competitors.

We are often supporters of certain brands just because they are offered to us, because they are convenient and because they are familiar. You need to endeavour to become a familiar brand. To do that you need to put yourself out there, where you need to be. You need to position yourself and create the right perceptions for your brand. But remember that this is not an overnight exercise. It takes time, fortitude, care and patience.

Merchandising is the process of presenting or displaying a product to attract a customer and elicit a sale. We line in a fast moving competitive world. When FMCG companies (fast moving consumer goods) put a marketing plan in place for a new or re-packaged product, merchandising will form an integral part of the strategy. Displays and positioning are integral elements of merchandising.

After extensive research as to why a brand has not been successful, and comparing it to those that have, a marketing manager will allocate budget for buying the space on the gondola end in a supermarket (a fancy name for the end of aisle position that you cannot miss), window displays, point of sale opportunities (display at cash till) and perhaps even a mobile marketing or outdoor campaign. The cost of positioning your product on a gondola end is high, but the visibility benefits are tangible and give a god return on investment – as shoppers push their trolleys around the corner from aisle to aisle. The product jumps out and speaks to them. Put yourself first to be noticed.

Perishable products have a pre-determined shelf life – so do you! Don’t wait until you are fast approaching your sell-by-date; instead get out there and plan now. Consider how you can take yourself out into the marketplace more aggressively to market your brand.

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