Staying ahead of the digital marketing game can be tough, especially in a world of constantly evolving trends and practices. To stay relevant and flourish, it’s important for businesses to find structure in the planning, execution, evaluation, and re-evaluation of their strategies and business activities.
We all know that a solid marketing campaign doesn’t just appear out of thin air. It takes a lot of organising, strategising and a multitude of considerations to create a plan that truly adds value. Queue: The Marketing Mix.
What is the marketing mix?
The marketing mix is a key foundation on which most modern marketing strategies and business activities are based. But what is it? What are its components? And why is it so heavily relied upon?
The concept of the ‘Marketing Mix’ came about in the 1960s when Neil H. Borden, professor and academic, elaborated on James Culliton’s concept of the marketing mix. Culliton described business executives as ‘mixers of ingredients’: the ingredients being different marketing concepts, aspects, and procedures.
However, it’s now widely accepted that Jerome McCarthy founded the concept. After all, it was McCarthy who offered the marketing mix as we know it today; in the form of The 4Ps of Marketing: Product, Place, Price, & Promotion.
The 4Ps then paved the way for two modern academics, Booms and Bitner, who, in 1981, brought us the extended version of the marketing mix: the ‘7Ps’. The 7Ps comprise McCarthy’s 4 original elements and extend to include a further 3 factors: Physical Evidence, People, & Processes.
As the requirements of customers, markets and products rapidly fluctuate, it’s essential to consistently revisit the 7P formula. That is... if you want to get ahead of your competitors and thrive.
What are the 7Ps of the marketing mix?
Now that you know the origins of these special little acronyms, let’s go into more detail about each aspect of the 7Ps of the marketing mix...
The 7Ps begins with ‘product’. This could refer to a physical product, a service or an experience. Basically... anything that’s being sold.
Let’s face it, we’ve all been there - you buy a jacket from a dodgy website that looked amazing on-screen but, when it arrives, well, it's vastly different from what you expected. What do you do in this situation? Do you send it back and get a refund, complain online, order a different size in the hope that that’s what the issue was, or simply accept this new item into your life, shove it to the back of your wardrobe and pretend it’s all okay.
Either way, this inaccurately advertised item has caused you unnecessary hassle and left you feeling less than impressed. So no matter what your product or service is, it’s important that it meets the demands of the market and satisfies, or exceeds, the expectations of the customer.
‘Place’ signifies where you choose to distribute or allow access to your product or service. It could refer to anything from a warehouse or a high-street store to an e-commerce shop or cloud-based platform.
Ultimately, the place in which your business resides or affiliates has to be appropriate for your brand and accessible for your audience. Consider where your customers will look for your product (magazines, price-comparison sites), where they spend most of their time (supermarkets, online stores, regular brick-and-mortar stores), and your sales capacity. You should also take into consideration how and where your competitors are selling.
Where you choose to distribute your products can be dictated by many things, such as your product type or your budget. But, ultimately, the best way to determine the perfect place to sell your product is by really knowing your audience; their wants, needs and requirements.
How much does your product or service cost? The price you set should reflect your customer’s perceived value of your product and should correlate with your budget. If your customer thinks your price is too high, you jeopardise losing a market that’s in it for a bargain, if your price is too low then you run the risk of losing that all-important profit.
Deciphering the right price for your product, which is most likely to benefit both your business and your customer, is generally achieved by businesses through clever market segmentation. Segmenting your audiences according to their demographic, geographic, psychographic or behavioural variables is a surefire way to discover and confirm that the prices you set, and the people you’re targeting, are the most appropriate, and the most likely to offer you optimal value in return.
Another key factor to take into account is market competition; what’s the pricing strategy of your competitors? Is your price too low, high, or is it on-the-mark? Ultimately, the price of your product will always impact a customer’s perception of your brand and your market position. If you’re looking to be the cheapest product on the market, make sure that you are by conducting meticulous research. If you want to be seen as an expensive, luxury brand, then ensure that your price and the quality of what you’re selling reflects this.
Promotion refers to your advertising, marketing, and sales techniques. This could mean traditional advertising, via TV, radio, billboards, etc., or more modern methods, like ads within web content, ads on a podcast, email marketing or push notifications.
The way that you choose to communicate with your audience and promote your offerings will have a direct impact on the success of your brand. Post a message in the wrong place, at the wrong time, or to the wrong person and you’ll find yourself in a world of trouble. On the other hand, if you execute those aspects in the right way, your business success will undoubtedly skyrocket!
Knowing the best channel(s) and methods for promotion is essential, especially today: breaking through the noise of brash ads and in-your-face pop-ups is hard to achieve, especially if you’re in a busy market. But simply understanding who your audience is, and what they require of you, will mitigate any promotional issues that you’re wary of facing.
How do you get to know your audience and also understand their requirements? Through, you guessed it, market segmentation. Market segmentation allows you to learn the wants, needs, values, and motivations of your audience. Once you have discovered and analysed this data, you will be confident that your product is being promoted to the right people, in the right place and at the right time.
When we get down to the brass tacks, it’s important for consumers to know that the brand they’re purchasing from or interacting with, are legitimate and, well, actually exist in real life. No Catfishing here, thank you. That’s where physical evidence comes in.
Physical evidence often takes two forms: evidence that a service or purchase took place and proof or confirmation of the existence of your brand.
For example, any services or products received count as physical evidence. As do the likes of your receipts, packaging, tracking information, invoices, brochures or PDFs, and so on.
Now, what about the confirmation or validation of your brand? What do we mean by validation? Validation essentially refers to visual aspects or quantifiable features of your brand, such as your website, your logo, business cards, a sign on your building, the brand’s headquarters and equipment, and your social media presence. These are the elements that the customer is likely to see prior to actually engaging with you or your offerings.
It’s always important for both brands and customers to document their interactions and transactions. Why? Because… *queue dramatic music* GDPR, of course! Also things like keeping an eye on the bank balance or overheads or industry best practices.
A well-crafted, strategic brand can greatly benefit from this aspect of the 7Ps as the legitimacy that physical evidence brings can put you miles ahead of the game, and set you apart from your competitors by showing you as professional, authentic and informed.
Employees. Those people who are involved in selling a product or service, designing it, managing teams, representing customers... the list goes on. The ‘people’ element of the 7Ps involves anyone directly, or indirectly, involved in the business side of the enterprise.
There’s no use in creating a great brand, innovative product or amazing social media presence if you don’t have the right people behind you. It’s integral to the survival of your business that you make sure that all of your employees, no matter how behind-the-scenes or customer-facing they are, have fair training and a considerable understanding of their role and the impact that it has within the company.
You don’t want a manager who lacks in people skills, in the same way that you can’t have a customer service representative who isn’t empathetic towards the issues of your audience. Ask yourself: will these employees share the vision of the company and also understand the expectations and requirements of the customers?
Employing and retaining the right people is imperative in both the long and short term success of your business.
Process. The 7th ingredient in our marketing mix - ‘process’ describes a series of actions that are taken in delivering the product or service to the customer. Examining the process means assessing aspects such as the sales funnel, your payment systems, distribution procedures and managing customer relationships.
But it’s not enough to just do the processes. Each step that you take and the methods that you choose to use for these processes must be done in a way that minimises the costs on your part, whilst also maximising benefits and value for your customer. Yikes. That’s quite a lot. Luckily, your marketing strategy and your sales strategy are in place to keep you on the right track.
Assessing, adjusting and optimising different parts of your process will help to streamline your business efforts whilst also ensuring that your methods are up-to-date and in line with current trends.
Now, you may be thinking “wow! The 7Ps really do seem like they’re very helpful for perfecting marketing strategies and keeping brands on-point. But I've heard that there’s a sneaky 8th ‘P’ in this marketing mix…”. Yes, that’s right; some debate an 8th ‘P’ to be the final piece of the puzzle. And that 8th P is ‘Performance’ or ‘Productivity’.
This argued, elusive, eighth ‘P’ accounts for your ability to deliver to your customers what you’ve promised. Are they satisfied? Are you offering them value? You had better hope so, otherwise, you’re in for a world of negative Word of Mouth (WOM). This is super important as a massive 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than advertising.
‘Performance’ also involves things like quality, how you compete in the marketplace and whether or not your goals are being achieved i.e. are your financial targets being met?
So there you have it, the 7… potentially 8P’s of the marketing mix. Ever since it was formulated in the 1940s, every aspect of this awesome little acronym takes you one step closer to success.
How? By analysing, and therefore optimising, your business according to each ‘P’ of the marketing mix. This way, you can ensure that your marketing strategy is as concrete as possible as it keeps your employees happy, your customers satisfied and your business efforts flowing.
Effectively, a streamlined strategy engages and retains your consumers, meets and achieves your goals and evolves your brand to the fullest extent.
Are you struggling to integrate data from your marketing tools? Book a free demo here to see how Hurree’s data unification and segmentation platform can help your business. Feel free to get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments you may have 💌 It’s time to get your tools talking and we can help you do it!