How many Ps are in your Marketing? 😂
The marketing mix is a familiar marketing strategy tool, which was traditionally limited to the core 4Ps of Product, Price, Place and Promotion. The shift from 4Ps to 7Ps was a direct result of services rather than products being sold and marketed by businesses. The Marketing Mix (4/6/7/9 Ps) is still a popular marketing model being used by businesses.
The tool itself helps businesses consider the different elements that go into promoting a brand and its products and services. The fact is this tool has been around as long I have, for over 5 decades, and the sheer fact that it remains widely used today testifies to its longevity and relevance (again a bit like me 😂). Of course some small businesses or marketers may consider the marketing mix a little dated and use tools such as the Business Canvas Model or alternatives, the bottom line understanding your Ps is a positive action to take for your business.
At Autus we are fans of many strategic and marketing tools/models - a nice little 4Ps or 7Ps exercise with at SWOT and Competitor Analysis will bring together some key strategic elements for your business, help with your goal setting and preparing your marketing plan.
PRO TIP: Regardless of tools used, try to understand and know your 7Ps.
What are the 7Ps of Marketing?
The marketing mix refers to the tactics (or marketing activities) that we have to satisfy customer needs and position our offering clearly in the mind of the customer. It involves the 7Ps; Product, Price, Place and Promotion (McCarthy, 1960) and an additional three elements that help us meet the challenges of marketing services, People, Process and Physical Evidence (Booms & Bitner, 1982).
This can be a product or a service, or a combination of both. Basically, it's what the business produces and delivers to its customers. The key thing when considering this part of the mix is to evaluate what you offer and the benefits to your customers and look to make improvements where you can add value beyond the core products/services - e.g. consider you you will be different from your competitors, can you offer warranty, guarantees, specific support and added-value beyond the sale. All of this should help you determine your pricing model.
Regardless of using a model for your strategy and marketing... pricing your products and services is key for your business survival and profitability. You need to understand what the market will pay, what are your competitors charging, what demand might look like for your products and services.
Place is all about determining the distribution options for your customers and how they will get access / find / purchase your products and services. For example, you may be a pure digital online business so it's all about ecommerce and having a great user experience website where your customers add to cart and make payment and then you or someone else delivers the product. On the other hand, you could be a restaurant business with no home delivery service and customers definitely need to physically visit your location to experience your lovely food. You might have products that get sent to intermediaries or 'middlemen' with locations, storage and sales capability. So, in a nutshell, you have to work out how customers will acquire and pay for your products and services.
By this stage it should be clear on what products/services you are producing, the pricing model and how and where customers will make their purchases. Great the customers will just come flooding in... nope! This is where promotion comes into play you have to consider how you will communicate all about your products and services and having the right strategies and messaging to align with where your customers might be in their buyer journey, in order to create the necessary awareness and eventually get them to convert to customers. You have to choose the right tools, channels and tactics. If you're customers are online on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn - this is where you should focus with your organic social media and possibly paid ads. On the other hand, your product / service and business model might be suitable for having a salesperson or team to help closing the sale and something that might need consideration.
Your people need to provide that differentiation, competitive edge, added-value and consistent / great customer experience your customers are looking for. This stage is all about making sure you're empowering, training, motivating and building your high-performing team that will execute the entire A to Z of acquiring new customers, building customer relationships and delivering superior products/services so that they keep coming back for more and recommending your business to others.
Now building on your people, they need the processes and systems to make it all happen. It's vital to identify what's working, what's not, and what barriers exist to deliver the best customer value. Regardless of how your customer engages, which channel, who they talk to etc their overall journey has to be seamless, smooth, positive and without friction. This is where good processes and systems can help e.g. A sales process, an onboarding process, how you handle enquiries and what metrics you're using/measuring each step of the way in terms of how long you respond to each customer touchpoint. How do you leverage happy customers - yes, make sure you have a process to request customer reviews/testimonials on suitable online channels and that are presented on your website etc. And my favourite how can you introduce systems such as CRM and Marketing Automation to make your processes more efficient and effective and deliver the best customer experience.
Creating the necessary physical evidence will help your customers make that decision to purchase. For example, we mentioned above about capturing customer reviews/testimonials, this will help build your online business reputation and show to future prospects/customers that you are great at what you do and provide them with reassurance that you are the supplier for them. In fact, you can also show some case studies on your website as physical evidence of what you do and how happy your customers are. Other examples could be that your team are very clean, tidy and reliable e.g., you might be a trade related business and many of tradespeople get a bad reputation, so showcase photos / videos of your work and how you prepare, tidy-up, respect the customers home or offices when you carry out your work. You can also show professionalism through having all of your team dressed smart with the same uniforms. From a marketing perspective, it's vital to leverage a consistent branding across your communications, this will help showcase and support the physical evidence your customers are looking for.
A Simple Business Example of the 7Ps
It's not quite as simple as our illustrative example below, but it might put into context more pragmatically and remove any overwhelm from our detail above. Let's hypothetically say we are a home improvements business who provide new kitchens to homeowners.
Product - all trades service that designs and installs your new dream kitchen
Price - Based on size, complexity, features, appliances selected for kitchen. Payment instalments over x years available via finance.
Place - Kitchen showroom where you can physically see the quality of kitchens. Also, home visits to survey and showcase products.
Promotion - Effective marketing across social media to target audiences, SEO / Google Ads, modern website with kitchen galleries, customer case studies, referrals from past customers, physical networking.
People - Experienced design and installations teams that consistently receive training and support.
Process - Processes in place for design, sales, ordering and delivery for each target audience e.g., Homeowners and Trade customers
Physical Evidence - Build-up of online customer reviews across various review/social media channels and website. Social media and other marketing activities provide a consistent branding and communication platform.
Hopefully we have been able to illustrate how you can benefit from using the marketing mix (7Ps) to support how you want to be perceived by your current and future customers. The goal is to use these different tactics to help your customers understand why they would purchase from you and continue to come back for more and / or recommend you to others. This is what marketing is all about.
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