A successful marketing strategy is like a good recipe. Every meal demands its own unique ingredients, but there are only a handful of flavors. And if you know how to balance the right flavors, you’ll know how to play with the ingredients to nail your recipe.
Looking for a recipe to take your business to the next level? Then you need a flexible marketing strategy that drives your customers to keep taking the next step.
A strong marketing strategy can help:
· Give you a major competitive edge in your field
· Develop customer-centric products and services with better profit potential
· Build a loyal customer base to strengthen your brand presence across multiple channels
· Enable optimum utilization of your organization’s resources to scale up
· Improve coordination between your departments
There’s a long series of steps between you and your marketing goals. You need to plan each step carefully so that your customer naturally moves on to the next one without feeling bored or forced.
This series of actions to plan, develop, and execute your marketing strategy is known as a marketing mix. They give a solid structure to your marketing plans that everyone in your team can understand.
It’s the only way to present the right product at the right time for the right price.
You may have already heard of the 4 P’s of old-school marketing models – product, price, place, and promotion. But there are three more important factors that you must know about to take a more holistic marketing approach – people, process, and physical evidence.
A HubSpot study determined that businesses using the 7 P’s model are more likely to succeed in their marketing efforts.
In this article, we’ll take you through a step-by-step guide to the 7 P’s of a successful marketing mix.
Here are the 7 pillars of the marketing mix you must know about:
You may be wondering – “How are all these elements connected?”
Every product needs an attractive price and an active place to reach your customers. You need the right promotional offer to package your product for your target audience. The people at your company have to create a trustworthy brand. They must follow seamless processes along with using physical evidence to establish this relationship.
This is the narrative that drives every successful marketing campaign. The 7 P’s of marketing act as reliable pillars for your marketing team to plan, develop, and execute their strategy.
The term ‘marketing mix’ was introduced by Neil Borden in 1949. He stated – “When building a marketing program to fit the needs of his firm, the marketing manager has to weigh the behavioral forces and then juggle marketing elements in his mix with a keen eye on the resources with which he has to work."
However, it was E. Jerome McCarthy who identified the first four P’s of the marketing mix in 1960. He laid out the concept map to help companies understand the essential elements of a successful marketing strategy.
McCarthy emphasized that a lot of effort must be put into fixing the product and place. It’s not easy to modify these variables in the short term without putting in a lot of resources.
You can do a deep dive into his book "Basic Marketing. A Managerial Approach," which was published in 1960.
In 1981, Bernard Booms and Mary Bitner went on to update this marketing mix with three more P’s – people, process, and physical evidence.
This 7 P model became a fully customizable action plan for businesses of all sizes, for marketing objectives of all varieties.
The traditional 4 P’s model was ideal for businesses that sold material goods. However, the 7 P’s model integrated the needs of both product sellers and service providers.
It’s enough to lay out the product, place, price, and promotion if you have a simple standardized product. A product that doesn’t need to be constantly adapted to meet your customer’s needs can easily be marketed with the 4 P’s model.
However, highly differentiated products and services require a lot more dynamic action to stay relevant. You need to keep reviewing customer feedback and upgrade customer support to develop a loyal community. The 7 P’s model, which includes people, processes, and physical evidence, is a better fit in such cases.
So there’s no one-size-fits-all marketing mix. It depends on your business type, industry, objectives, customer segments, and resources.
The 7 P’s model allows a more dynamic way to identify marketing challenges and meet your objectives. You can conduct a SWOT analysis and do a competitive assessment.
It makes it more practical to plan for the following factors compared to the traditional 4 P’s model:
· Setting Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based goals (SMART Goals)
· Identifying more favorable customer segments
· Analyzing your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses to fill the gaps
· Creating a better unique selling point
· Improving customer support
· Offering competitive prices
Let’s take a detailed look at the essential elements of the 7 P’s model:
1. Products/Services – Start by defining your product design, quality, features, and packaging. You can only move on to the next step when you have some tangible product or service to offer.
2. Prices/Fees – Set the price range of your products or services. It should hit the sweet spot between profitability and affordability. A Nielsen study revealed that customers are 70 percent more likely to buy a competitively priced product. You can choose between one-time payments, subscription models, or any other dynamic pricing plans.
3. Place/Access – There are a variety of online and offline channels to target. You can choose a physical store, an online store, or both for their convenience. The goal is to prioritize those channels where your customers are more active.
4. Promotion – It’s time to spread out your marketing communications to increase your brand visibility. You can use Google Ads, PR articles, promo codes, contests, and a variety of other offers to appeal to your customers. A HubSpot study shows that content marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing have emerged as a few of the best-performing marketing channels.
5. People – Every individual involved in the marketing process is a stakeholder in your campaign’s success. It includes your employees and customers. You need to create a human-friendly experience at every stage to guarantee employee and customer satisfaction levels.
6. Processes – You need to lay out a clear set of processes for your team to deliver the product to your user. You must also develop simple user guidelines for your customers so they can easily use your products. It is important to streamline the process and make it as efficient as possible. A Salesforce study showed that 80 percent of customers value customer service as much as the product.
7. Physical Evidence – Physical evidence covers the tangible aspects of your product experience. It focuses on providing an attractive physical environment for your customers to engage with your brand. It includes personalizing your product or service to meet customer expectations as much as possible.
There’s a hidden P that most companies forget about in their drive to compete with other brands – partnership.
Look out for brands you can collaborate with to grow your business through limited partnerships. It’s easy to do this when you share similar corporate philosophies and target audiences. You can pool your resources to create a bigger overall impact to attract new leads.
HubSpot is known for being the premier digital research and development wing of the marketing industry. Their studies and programs help marketing managers all around the world keep up with the latest trends.
So it’s not surprising how effectively they’ve used the 7 P’s marketing mix. It’s helped them seamlessly blend their marketing, sales, service, and CMS.
Here’s how HubSpot nailed their 7 Ps model:
1. Product – An integrated platform to manage website, blogging, SEO, and email marketing campaigns.
2. Price – Monthly subscription model based on your database contacts and service users.
3. Place – Uses an online network of country user groups that allows a free flow of community interactions.
4. Promotion – Uses e-books, webinars, events, SEO, ads, and social media marketing, focusing on a knowledge-rich value proposition for everyone.
5. People – Investing in digital services primarily to make it convenient for their user base.
6. Process – Their marketing team actively collaborates with their sales team to improve conversions.
7. Physical evidence – Maintains brand consistency throughout all channels.
A successful marketing mix can be implemented by businesses of all sizes. The 7 P’s model is one of the most universally practical marketing frameworks.
Let’s take a close look at how some of the most popular brands in the world used this marketing mix:
1. Products – Starbucks was always focused on serving high-quality coffee at a fast pace to customers throughout the day.
2. Prices – Coca-Cola offers a variety of products that are easily affordable for all customer segments. So they end up making huge profits through high-volume sales.
3. Place – McDonald’s has become renowned as a cheap and reliable option for fast food around the world. You can find similar snacks adapted to local tastes no matter where you go. It’s easy to find a McDonald’s restaurant at an airport or mall food court.
4. Promotion – A computer repair business used multiple offline and online marketing channels to promote its services. They advertised their services locally on billboards and posters in the area. They also hosted monthly gaming tournaments to advertise their services and share promo codes. They host a weekly podcast to share free tips and solutions for their customers.
5. Physical Evidence – Most people instantly recognize their package coming in when they spot a FedEx delivery truck parked nearby. The purple and orange logo and packaging style have helped make their brand instantly recognizable.
6. Processes – An aromatherapy business evaluated the time it took for their craftsmen to create new products. They also calculated the average time it takes to launch new products and for customers to purchase them. It helped them streamline internal operations to reduce sales time.
7. People – Hotels like St. Regis and Marriott are known for their impeccable hospitality standards. They offer regular hospitality training to their staff to maintain their standards.
8. Partnership - Brands like Taco Bell and Doritos have occasionally partnered to offer festive ad campaigns and discounts. Both brands appeal to Mexican food lovers, which helped them bring in more customers during that period.
The evolution of AI is helping us filter better insights from the noise. Every marketing campaign generates a ton of user data.
It’s meaningless if we don’t identify data patterns that help us evaluate our strengths and weaknesses. But there’s too much data for a few team members to process.
The fusion of AI and marketing mix models can solve this problem. Machine learning can help you build and test multiple models simultaneously. It will rapidly evaluate different combinations of factors to reveal the most effective strategy.
AI-based marketing mix models will help you scale your marketing efforts faster while saving more money.
Larry Londre refined the 7 P’s model a little further by adding two new elements to the mix – partners, and presentation. The 9 P’s model only builds on the momentum of the first seven pillars to provide a more complete package. It’s fit for an ever-evolving marketing landscape.
We already read about the importance of seeking opportunities for collaboration in the sea of competition.
Presentation is the thread that ties all the 8 P’s together into a powerful narrative. Customers are naturally programmed to seek out success stories to be a part of. If you can create a compelling story to solve their problem by pushing the right emotional buttons, you’ve got a winner in your hands.
"*" indicates required fields