What is the marketing mix and the 7 Ps of marketing?

21 June 2023
Illustrations of envelope, message bubble, megaphone, camera and play button on grey background

You might have heard of the 4 Ps of marketing, but are you familiar with the 7 Ps?

While there are numerous marketing models, the 7 Ps, also referred to as the marketing mix, is one of the most popular tools for developing and implementing an effective marketing strategy.

It’s a set of recognized marketing tactics and tools that can be used in any combination to meet customers’ needs, making it an essential part of a company’s marketing strategy.

Why is it important?

The short answer is that the 7 Ps help companies market the right product, to the right people, at the right price and time.

It not only sets objectives, but outlines a roadmap for how these goals will be achieved. It reviews and defines key issues that impact marketing and assists the company with solving these issues.

The model also facilitates the evaluation of the existing business, meaning you can work through each P while analyzing the impact the marketing mix elements are having on your business.

In the long term, it also helps to develop products and services that serve the specific needs of your target market, as well as helping customers understand why your product is better than your competitors.

However, to get the most value out of the model, each P must be correctly understood with appropriate strategies for each tactic. That’s where we come in, to unpick the 7 Ps and explain how your company can benefit from them.

What’s the difference between the 4 Ps and the 7 Ps?

Well, the 4 P’s of marketing was designed in the 1950s, at a time when businesses were more likely to sell products, rather than services.

More recently, Booms and Bitner have extended the model to more appropriately address 21st-century audiences, adding ‘service mix Ps’: people, physical evidence, and processes.

It also addresses modern marketing approaches, such as digital marketing. Let’s get into the detail now, starting with the origins 4 Ps.

What exactly are the 4 Ps of marketing?

As the 7 Ps are an extension to the original 4, it’s crucial to understand these before we move on to the more recent additions.

1. Product

We’re starting with arguably the most important P of them all, the product.

It goes without saying that your product must be at the center of your entire strategy. In order to create a successful marketing campaign, you need a deep understanding of your product.

Many of the most successful products have been firsts in their category. Apple created the first touchscreen smartphone, for example, which has gone on to be immensely successful, with the company announcing $205.4 billion in iPhone sales in 2022.

So, think about what makes your product different. Ask yourself, what is it that makes my product stand out? What problem does my product solve, or make easier? Concentrate on the answers to these questions and use research to help create awareness of the product’s benefits.

During this process, you might want to consider the impact of branding, availability, product features, warranties, or customer service, which are all key parts of the first P.

2. Price

The cost of your product must reflect what consumers are willing to pay for the product. So, the price must link to the product’s real and perceived value, while taking supply costs, competitors’ prices, and retail markup into account.

In some cases, you might raise the price to give it a luxury feel, or, on the other hand, you might lower the price to entice more consumers. Many companies have introductory offers, for example, to raise product awareness and encourage people to try it.

You also need to consider the possibility of discounts, offers, or seasonal pricing too. What promotions do you envision offering in the future? Is it appropriate to do so?

As membership and subscription services continually increase in popularity, you need to consider whether you could offer this for your product. It might not be relevant for one-off purchases, like a hairdryer, for example, but there could be a huge market for a hair product subscription service.

3. Place

Place refers to where your product is available to purchase. Will your product be an online exclusive, or available both online and in stores? Will customers only be able to purchase in store?

Finding the right business location is especially important if you’re starting a new business – it’s critical your customers can find you. Essentially, your goal is to get the product in front of customers who are most likely to buy them. The makers of a luxury cosmetic product, for example, would want it to appear in Sephora, as opposed to Walmart.

If you’re operating online only, it’s crucial that you have a powerful, aesthetically-pleasing and user-friendly website to keep people on your page and ultimately encourage purchases.

4. Promotion

Last, but certainly not least, of the 4 Ps is promotion.

The goal here is to communicate to consumers why they need this product and that it is good value for money. It encompasses advertising, communications, branding, direct marketing, and personal promotion.

In the online world of today, it’s key for companies to adopt a digital marketing strategy too. Social media channels are now pretty much guaranteed, but there are also online events, live streams, and social media groups to consider.

Illustrations of a message bubble, envelope, thumps up and megaphone

What are the 7 Ps of marketing?

Building on the original 4 Ps of marketing, here are the additional three:

5. People

The first addition, people, refers to the employees and salespeople who work for your company. These are typically the first people a customer interacts with; they are the ‘face’ of your organization, so it’s crucial to make a good first impression.

Your employees’ knowledge of the products and services on offer is crucial. Providing good, helpful customer service creates a positive experience for customers, and hopefully one that they will remember in the future.

As a result, these individuals may recommend your business to others, causing additional, new customers to buy your product or use your services.

However, you must find ways to encourage your employees to embrace a high level of customer service. This could be through remuneration, company culture, or training and personal development.

In other words, if people enjoy working for you, they’re more likely to deliver excellent, memorable customer service.

6. Process

All companies want to create a smooth, efficient, and customer-friendly process in terms of purchasing a product or service.

It includes everything from making an online enquiry or requesting information to making a purchase and leaving a review.

This process should be as efficient and reliable as possible, but also reflect your brand. If your company is focused on sustainability, for instance, then your process should include features like environmental research or offsetting emissions to reflect these commitments.

With the rise of online shopping, digital partnerships and logistics are now critical elements of the marketing mix too. Companies must ensure that customers are receiving a consistent level of service regardless of whether they purchase online or instore.

7. Physical evidence

The last of the 7 Ps refers to physical evidence that demonstrates a purchase has been made.

It could be a physical store or office, printed business cards, physical or digital invoices and receipts, or follow-up emails. These are all examples of a customer’s proof of purchase.

It must also account for everything your customer sees, hears, and if relevant, smells, when interacting with your business. This includes branding and packaging, but also product placement and online experience.

Development of the marketing mix

In 2007, Larry Londre’s research paper on the 9 Ps of marketing surfaced. Work to develop the concept has been ticking away in the background and has recently become a popular topic of business conversation again.

Supported by Dave Chaffey, the pair argue that an eighth P – partners – should be added to the model to help companies seek new partners and manage relationships with existing ones too.

Think Starbucks and Spotify, Nike and Tiffany, or Lego and Harry Potter. These iconic partnerships are mutually beneficial, bringing both companies’ messages together to target a wider audience.

While not all businesses are the likes of Spotify and Nike, the concept is the same; two brands come together to support one another in targeting a wider audience.

The ninth P – presentation – refers to the way you deliver your marketing strategy.

It is an opportunity for companies to pull together all of the above Ps into a compelling narrative to share with customers and stakeholders.

Think about the sort of emotions your brand reflects and present that through marketing materials. Storytelling isn’t always an effective approach, but in this instance, telling your marketing story to the people with whom it would most resonate can drive people to choose you.

The takeaway

Every business, whether local or international, independent or corporation, needs a thoughtful and effective marketing strategy.

The marketing mix, or 7 Ps of marketing are a guide to creating a successful outreach campaign. Each of the elements works together in a functional framework, so it’s important to analyze every P that is within your control.

If you’re still confused by the marketing mix, we can help, get in contact with us today.

 

Written by Annabelle Crook.

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