Marketing is an aspect that is deeply rooted in our daily routine from the food we eat to the clothes we wear. For businesses, a profound marketing strategy is a crucial ingredient for their success. To develop a comprehensive marketing strategy, you need to be adeptly versed with the 7Ps of the marketing mix.
Understanding the Marketing Mix
What is the marketing mix? Bluntly said, it is a bunch of approaches used by a firm to achieve its marketing goals. This may encompass for instance the products produced, their prices, the mode of delivery to reach customers and the pattern of communication to customers.
Traditionally, these tools were known as the 4Ps of Marketing, but as marketing today has become more sophisticated, 3Ps have been added. This results in the 7Ps of Marketing. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
7Ps of the Marketing Mix
Product is anything, both tangible and intangible, that can be delivered to the market for purchase and consumption. Besides, it is something that meets a set of customer needs or wants. When companies are developing the 7Ps of the marketing mix, they may think about a product in terms of 3 levels.
i. Core product
The core product incorporates the core benefits of a product purchased by consumers. For example, a student pursuing Entrepreneurship is buying knowledge; therefore, the product planners ought to define the benefits of the product to the students.
ii. Actual product
The actual product is composed of various characteristics that make up a product. They could be quality levels, brand name, and other attributes.
iii. Augmented product
The augmented product includes additional consumer services build around the actual core product such as warranty, tutorials on how to operate a product and after-sales services.
The price is the only income-generating aspect of the 7Ps of marketing. Therefore, obviously, it deserves high attention. Various pricing strategies do exist, which should be applied depending on the product type, market environment and customer characteristics. In general, to survive in the fast-changing market place, a product should be priced as per the target audience’s perceptions.
The place is the distribution point of a product. It is an essential aspect of the 7Ps of the marketing mix that defines the availability of a product in the market. For the product to stand out, it has to be positioned in the most convenient place for the target customers. This could be through a window shop or via the internet. Before developing your distribution strategy, you need to consider questions such as the following:
- How do your customers want to obtain the product, and what is the best way to reach them?
- What do different distribution channels cost?
- How do your competitors’ distribution strategies differ from yours?
- What is the environmental footprint of your distribution methods?
Promotion is one of the 7Ps of the marketing mix techniques used by companies to communicate their customer offerings. It is a combination of advertising, exhibitions, digital marketing, and other elements to pave the way for dialogue with clients. Promotion ought to communicate not only the perks obtained from a product but also its features. Besides, the promotional material should be precise and informative to the internal stakeholders. An efficient promotion strategy should be a blend of the following questions.
- Which is the best mode to message your target buyers?
- When should you implement the promotion strategy?
- What promotion strategy have your competitors adopted?
The reputation of your product primarily lies in people’s hands. Anyone can have a negative or positive impression of your products and services. It is, therefore, essential to train your employees on how to contact customers to give your business a decisive edge over your competitors. This can be done by adjusting the 7Ps of marketing to meet customer needs. For example, if you operate a little barber shop, placing some complimentary chocolates in your client’s guest room will tend to impress the customer, and, more likely, they will become substantial clients. The workforce is the key to the design and effective implementation of the 7Ps of the marketing mix.
The process is one of the elements of the 7Ps of the marketing mix that tends to obtain too little attention. It refers to the flow of activities as a result of the interactions between a business and its customers. For example, when a customer books a room, there is a process triggered. There is no essence of running a firm if this strategy is faulty. If it is used wisely, it’s a great source of satisfied customers. Therefore, develop clear processes for every type of interaction and make sure that they meet customer expectations and are consistently implemented.
The last element of the 7Ps of marketing is physical evidence. This element pertains particularly to the service domain. A service, in general, is intangible. This implies certain risks for customers. These can be reduced by giving physical proof of the service you deliver. For example, an insurance company would issue their customers with printed evidence materials. This boosts customers’ confidence in what they are buying. To wrap it up, physical evidence ensures every component of the 7Ps of the marketing mix abides by the brand values as the service itself.
In a nutshell, no element of the marketing mix can be considered in isolation. For organizational success, it is crucial to develop an integrated set of marketing strategies. To do so, the 7Ps provide a helpful framework.