What Are The 7Ps Of The Marketing Mix?
7Ps of the marketing mix are the product, price, place, promotion, people, process, and physical evidence which are the fundamental tools for any marketing activity and any marketing firm.
So, what is the marketing mix? The marketing mix is the blend of marketing strategies that a business firm employs to promote its offering to the target market and realize its marketing goal and objectives.
First, the concept of the marketing mix is coined by Neil H. Bordon, and later it is popularized by E. Jeromy McCarthy which was the 4Ps (product, price, place, and promotion). And, again later on in the late 1980s, 3Ps (people, process, and physical evidence) are added by Booms & Bitner.
Initially, there were only 4Ps which made the marketing mix complete. That 4Ps are mainly used for the promotion of physical products. But, due to competition and increased needs of people for service-related products, the additional 3Ps are added to the 4Ps by making total components of the marketing mix of 7Ps.
Similarly, previously the marketing mix is based on prodcut focused marketing but now it is based on customer-focused marketing. It mainly prioritizes the desire of customers and stands on the notion – that the success of marketing depends upon the satisfaction of customers.
To get optimum results from the 7Ps of the marketing mix, one should have effectively understood and implemented these properly. Now, let’s get to know clearly,
How To Best 7Ps of The Marketing Mix?
The 7Ps of the marketing mix are known as the components of the marketing mix. They are also known as the 7 basic principles of marketing and 7 basic marketing strategies.
Each activity of marketing is classified and categorized to belong to one of the P groups. Each P is perceived as having its mix such as product mix, price mix, people mix, promotion mix, etc.
The first P from the 7Ps of the marketing mix is the product. Product is what is offered to the customer to satisfy their needs.
Customers are very sensitive now, they are only concerned about what your product has to offer them. The product needs to have the quality to satisfy the target customers.
To best use and implement the product mix, the following decisions needs to be considered.
i. Product Planning and Development. This decision mainly involves what new products to offer to the target market. It involves market segmentation to identify profitable market segments, marketing research to identify the needs, wants, and desires of customers, and product idea development, screening, consumer testing, business analysis, test marketing, and commercialization of new products.
ii. Product Line and Product Mix. This decision relates to the number of products items to be offered to the market under one category (product line) and the number of categories of products (product mix) to be produced and marketed by the firm.
iii. Product Quality. This relates to the quality standards to be maintained by the firm in its product. The firm also needs to decide on the indicator of quality to be used such as physical strength, durability, power, aesthetic looks, and performance.
iv. Variety. Variety decision relates to the number of varieties of the products to be offered in the market. This is a key decision because too narrow varieties reduce the firm’s competitive strength and too many varieties confuse the market.
v. Design. The design involves deciding the external looks of the product. It involves deciding the size, looks, color, weight, and other materials to be used on the product.
vi. Features. The features aspect of the product mix includes deciding on the number of features to be included in the product. The features are important because each feature offers extra benefits to the buyer.
vii. Branding. Today brands not only perform as the product identify but also as indicators of quality and ownership value. This decision involves the selection of brand identity features (brand name, logo, color, slogan sound), positioning the brand, creating a brand image, and ultimately achieving the premium value for the brand in the market.
viii. Packaging and Labelling. The packaging involves the selection of the package size, packaging materials, design, color, lettering, and instructions. And, labeling decision mainly involves the selection of the label size, color, product features, and instructions to be provided to the buyer.
ix. Warranty. Under the warranty decision, the firm has to decide the product components on which the warranty is to be provided and the period covered by the warranty.
x. After Sales Service. Many industrial products and consumer durables need constant service from the producer for proper installation, servicing, supply of spares & parts, training, repairs, and many other services. The firm has to decide on what after-sales services to offer to the buyers.
Price is the amount of money, value of the product, or value or cost to the buyer of using the product. The price mix component of the 7Ps of the marketing mix is about price setting.
The price setting is critical in marketing and needs to be carefully handled. A firm can change other Ps as and when needed. But changing price brings serious complexities affecting competitors, sudden changes in demand for the product, and the decline in the product’s image.
The pricing decision includes analysis of competitor’s prices, formulation of pricing objectives, setting the base price & determining terms & conditions of sales, and setting rates of discounts, allowances, and commission.
i. Competitor’s Price Analysis. Determination of the price and other policies related to pricing requires a careful analysis of pricing policies and strategies of key competitors in the market.
Many open and hidden pricing schemes are adopted in the competitive market. The firm has to understand and analyze these scenes before it decides on its price structure.
ii. Pricing Objectives. The marketing firm before setting its product price has to decide what it wants to achieve through the pricing. The objective can be profit-oriented, sales-oriented, and competition-oriented.
iii. Price Setting. Once the marketing firm decides the pricing objective, it has to adopt a pricing method. The pricing method can be based on cost, demand, market, and perceived value. The firm by adopting the appropriate method arrives at the base price for wholesalers, retailers, and consumers.
iv. Conditions of Sale. Apart from setting the base price, the firm also has to determine various conditions of sales such as payment mode, credit period, payment cycle, and so on.
v. Discounts, Allowance, and Commission. These are the hidden agenda in pricing. It determines what price the buyer actually pays for the products. The rates of discounts, allowance, and commissions affect the firm’s profitability.
These schemes also work as channel incentives. Thus, the firm has to be very careful in deciding on these matters.
The third P of the 7Ps of the marketing mix is a promotion (mix). Promotion includes using various promotional mixtures to popularize the products in the target market. The main objective of promotion is to build awareness about the product and persuade customers towards the prodcut.
For effective promotion of the product, it blends advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing.
i. Advertising. Advertising is the impersonal method of communicating messages to prospective buyers. It involves transmitting standard messages to a larger number of potential customers.
It uses a number of vehicles such as print media (newspapers, magazines), visual media (posters, hoarding), audio media (radio, public broadcasting system), and audio-visual media (television, video). The marketing firm needs to make decisions on what message to the target market and through which media.
ii. Personal Selling. Personal selling is executing sales through salespersons. It is based on direct communication between the seller and the potential buyer.
Personal selling is effective when the buyer needs a full explanation of the product’s attributes, benefits, and other associated benefits. Personal selling involves the decision on maintaining a sales force, their management, and motivation.
iii. Sales Promotion. Sales promotion refers to short-term promotional activities of non-recurrent nature. It stimulates customer demand and dealer effectiveness.
Consumer promotion methods include samples, demonstrations, contests, coupons, temporary price reductions, etc. Dealer promotions methods include cash discounts, quantity discounts, advertising allowances, gifts, etc. The firm has to decide when to use sales promotion and how to combine it with other promotional tools.
iv. Public Relations. Public relation is a broad set of communication activities used to create and maintain favorable relationships with customers, government officials, the press, and society. It is achieved through effective personal relationships, presentation of a good corporate image, social responsiveness, and charity work.
The marketing firm needs to design a system of maintaining effective public relations so that people at large view the firm as important and socially responsive.
v. Direct Marketing. Direct marketing involves selling directly to customers bypassing all forms of marketing intermediaries. The traditional methods of direct marketing are door-to-door selling, catalog marketing, mail-order marketing, and telephone marketing.
Modern methods of direct marketing include television marketing, online marketing, e-marketing, and database marketing. If a firm chooses to use direct marketing it has to decide what forms of direct marketing to use.
Place or Distribution
The fourth P of the 7Ps of the marketing mix is place or distribution. Place decision is related to how to manage the flow of goods from the production point to the market where its demand exists.
For right place distribution the distribution channels, channel motivations, channel conflict management, and physical distribution of the product are considered.
i. Channel Selection. There are various channel options available for distribution. Products can be distributed through several layers of middlemen. In exclusive distribution, the marketing firm uses very few marketing middlemen, while in intensive distribution there is the use of several layers of middlemen.
The firm has to decide what channel option to use for the distribution of products depending on the nature of the product, the nature of the market, and desired level of coverage, control, and cost.
ii. Channel Motivations. The distribution channel does not move smoothly unless there is adequate motivation from the channel members. The marketing firm thus needs to design an effective motivation system based on commission, bonuses, commendations, awards, and dealer conferences.
iii. Channel Conflict Management. Since most channel systems involve people with different background, perceptions, and goals conflict often arise in channel systems.
Such conflict hampers and slows down the distribution process and needs to be resolved as soon as possible. Moreover, in case of such conflicts firm also has to take initiative.
iv. Physical Distribution. The channel systems are the only path through which the products change hands and ultimately reach the final consumers. The firm has to select an appropriate mechanism to physically move the products between the factory and the market.
This is a very important function in marketing. It is often termed “the other half of marketing”. Physical distribution involves efficient management of transportation, warehousing, inventory management, material handling, order processing, and customer service.
Due to the unique nature of services that involve intangibility, variability, inseparability, and perishability, three more Ps (mixes) people, physical environment, and process are added to the original 4Ps of the marketing mix. Thus, the service mix constitutes 7Ps. The additional 3Ps are the basic tool for service-oriented firms.
People – people are the critical part of the service mix, as most services are provided through human resources. The selection, motivation, and training of employees are important activities for successful service marketing.
Service marketing not only requires external marketing through the use of 4Ps but also effective internal marketing.
Internal marketing involves training and motivating employees to serve the customer well. Service organizations also need to practice interactive marketing – employees’ skills in effectively talking to service customers.
The service process is differentiating tool in the 7Ps of the marketing mix. Service providers can adopt a variety of delivery processes and charge different prices for their services.
Differentiation implemented over the delivery process can contribute to building an image for the service organization. The image can also be used to communicate the quality of service to customers.
The last P of the 7Ps of the marketing mix is the physical evidence. Normally, customers can not easily judge the quality of service until they buy and use the service.
Service providers use the physical environment to communicate the quality of their service. Physical evidence includes the infrastructure of the service outlets, furniture, decorations, and printed material used.