The 7 Ps Marketing Mix is a popular tool used for analysing an organisation’s key marketing strategy components. The 7 Ps are actually an extended list of marketing factors, building upon the original 4 Ps of price, product, place, and promotion.
Edmund Jerome McCarthy originally proposed the 4 Ps in his book Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach, which was published in 1960. Booms and Bitner updated the 4 Ps to the 7 Ps in 1981, adding physical evidence, people, and processes.
Each of the 7 Ps Marketing Mix elements explained
Let’s take a look at what each of the 7 Ps are.
Price refers to how much you are charging for your products and services. You will want to conduct analysis of your competitors’ pricing strategies and determine where your pricing sits within the wider market. You want to find out whether your prices are higher than the market average, lower than the average, or just in the middle.
Pricing is important as not only will it affect your revenue and profit margins, but it also affects how your products and services are perceived. It is not necessarily the case that a more expensive product is of a superior quality compared to a lower priced product; however, there is a relationship between the perceived quality or value of a product and its price. Have you ever considered buying a product that seemed to have better features than its competitors, but it was much cheaper than the rest of the market? Did it make you feel like it’s too good to be true? The feeling that you had then is price affecting your perception of that product.
You can use tools like the Price Quality Matrix and the Pricing Strategies Matrix to better understand where your products and services fit within your market and also the potential pricing strategies available to you to achieve your objectives.
Questions to ask about price:
- How much do our products and services cost to provide/produce?
- What are our target profit margins?
- How much do we charge for our products and services?
- How much do our competitors charge for the same products and services that we provide?
- Are our prices higher, the same as, or below the market average?
- What pricing strategy do we currently use, and does it align with how we want to market our products and services?
- Do we offer discounts on our prices?
Product refers to the product or service that you are selling. Compare your offering to similar products and services in the market. Is what you provide premium or budget?
Understanding your product is important, as you need to determine if it actually fulfils your audience’s needs and wants. Analysis of your product in comparison to the wider market and customer needs will provide valuable insight into further development of what you offer. Do you competitors offer an in-demand feature that your product lacks? Perhaps it would be important to invest in developing your product further to include this feature.
How you communicate the features and benefits of your product is crucial. You don’t want to exaggerate your product or service and then it disappoints your customers once they actually use it. A situation like this will just damage your brand’s reputation.
Questions to ask about product:
- What are our audience’s needs?
- What problems are our audience trying to solve?
- What are the features of our products and services?
- What are the features of our competitors’ products and services?
- Are we missing any features that our competitors’ products and services provide?
- Are our products and services considered high quality or low quality relative to our competitors?
- Are our products and services good value compared to competitors?
- Do our products and services reflect our brand?
Place refers to where you actually sell your products and provide your services. Do you have a brick and mortar store, your own eCommerce website, or perhaps your sell on market places like Amazon?
You want to ensure that you make the process of purchasing your product or service as easy as possible for your audience. To do this, you need to really understand your target market and how they like to shop. For example, a high-end jewellery retailer, make require a physical store in addition to selling online, as many of the customers may want to see the products, feel the quality and try on the pieces before actually making a purchase.
A business that requires brick and mortar stores would have to think about how this impacts their digital marketing. They may require a store finder on their website, or they might need to look at running local advertising campaigns via paid media targeting people within a particular location.
Questions to ask regarding place:
- Do you sell our products and services in brick and mortar stores?
- Do we sell our products and services through our own online store?
- Do we sell our products and services through third-party online stores, e.g. Amazon and eBay?
- Do we sell our products and services through third-party brick and mortar stores, e.g. department stores?
- Do resellers sell our products and services?
- Where do our target audience shop for our products and services?
- Is it easy for target audience to purchase our products and services?
Promotion refers to how you promote your products and services. There are many different digital marketing channels, such as organic search, paid search, social media, email marketing, and content marketing.
The best channels for your marketing campaign really comes down to understanding your audience. Where do they hang out online and how do they typically look for what you are offering? For example, a B2B service may have a better chance of reaching their target market advertising on LinkedIn rather than Facebook.
You will also need to assess the resources at your disposal as this will have an effect on what is realistically achievable. You won’t be able to run much of a email campaign if your email marketing lists contain a grand total of five contacts. In this situation, you would either need to build up your own list organically – which takes time, buy a database of email addresses – which costs money, or choose not to do email marketing – which isn’t ideal if you’ve identified email as a channel that is likely to convert.
Questions to ask regarding promotion:
- Do we promote our products and services offline?
- Do we promote our products and services online?
- What channels do we use to promote our products and services?
- Do we run any promotional offers?
- Which promotion is owned, earned and paid?
- Do we run and competitions?
- Do we partner with any other organisations to promote our products and services?
- Which marketing channels to our competitors use to promote the same types of products and services?
- What promotional tools and software do we currently use and do they provide the right functionality for our needs?
- What promotional tools and software are our competitors using?
- What new promotional tools and software have been released that are relevant for our channels?
Physical evidence refers the environment within which an organisation interacts with a customer. This physical evidence is used by customers to confirm that an organisation is in fact a legitimate business and can provide the service they claim. The evidence should equal or surpass customers’ expectations. For example, customers wouldn’t expect an international bank to have its headquarters in the CEO’s mother’s basement at her house; people would expect the organisation to be headquartered in the financial district of major city.
Physical evidence can include things such as offices, staff attire, printed marketing materials such as brochures, and also digital assets such as the website, PDFs and online reviews.
In the digital age we find ourselves in, physical evidence of an organisation is more important than ever. Almost anybody can set up a professional looking website, but the in truth, the organisation could be anything but professional. Providing evidence of an organisation’s claims regarding services and products will instil confidence in customers.
Questions to ask regarding physical evidence:
- Do our customers visit our premises and are our premises on-brand in terms of design, quality and experience?
- Do we produce physical brochures and other printed materials?
- Do we produce digital brochures and other digital assets?
- Does our product packaging reflect the same quality of our products?
- Are our staff presented in a way that reflects our brand?
- Are our reviews positive?
- Do we have positive testimonials?
- Is our website on-brand?
- Do we appear trustworthy based on all of our physical and digital marketing materials?
- Do we have social media accounts and are they active and on-brand?
- Have we responded to negative criticism online?
- Do we have videos showing the experience of using our products and services?
People refers to your to your internal teams and any agencies that you may use, who are responsible for sales, marketing, and providing your product or service.
In this element of the 7 Ps you want to assess how many people you need, and which skills these people require, to achieve your business’ objectives. In fact, it isn’t just skills that are important, but you need to make sure that the team are aligned with your vision for the business.
If your team lacks the skills or size to achieve your goals, then you will either need to hire more people, train the team you currently have, or you will need to hire an agency.
Questions to ask regarding people:
- What skills and experience do we require to execute our marketing strategy?
- Do we have the people with the relevant skills to execute our marketing strategy?
- Do we have enough people to execute our marketing strategy?
- Can we train our existing team so they have the relevant skills required? If not, can we recruit new staff or hire an agency?
- Does our company culture support our marketing strategy?
The processes of the 7 Ps marketing mix are the stages required to provide your products or services to your customers. Document as many processes as possible, for example, this could include the process the customer is required to take on your website to purchase a product, the product delivery process, the returns process, and could also include marketing processes, such as content production.
Writing down your processes in this way will allow you to analyse them and identify areas for improvement, as well as allowing these process to be clearly communicated to other members of your team so that the processes can be replicated.
Questions to ask regarding processes:
- Which processes are used by my organisation?
- Which processes affect our customers purchasing or using my products and services?
- Are our processes effective at achieving the desired results?
- Are our processes efficient?
- How could our processes be improved?
Quick answers – 7 Ps Marketing Mix FAQs
Q: What are the 7 Ps?
A: The 7 Ps are price, product, place, promotion, people, physical evidence, and processes.
Q: What are the 4 Ps?
A: The 4 Ps are price, product, place, and promotion?
Q: What is the Marketing Mix?
A: The Marketing Mix is the range of factors that can affect customers when purchasing a product or service. Generally the Marketing Mix is considered to be 4 Ps, but this has since been extended to the 7 Ps, 8 Ps, and more.
Q: What are the 7 Ps used for?
A: The 7 Ps are used to create and analyse marketing strategies by providing a model to assess the core elements relevant to an organisation’s marketing.
Q: What is the difference between the 4 Ps and the 7 Ps?
A: The 4 Ps contain price, product, place, and promotion. The 7 Ps contain people, processes, and physical evidence in addition to the original 4 Ps.
Q: Who created the 4 Ps?
A: Edmund Jerome McCarthy created the 4 Ps in 1960.
Q: Who created the 7 Ps?
A: Bernard H. Booms and Mary Jo Bitner added people, processes and physical evidence to the 4 Ps in 1981.
Q: Are the 7 Ps only for digital marketing strategies?
A: No, the 7 Ps can be applied to any marketing strategy.
Q: Are the 7 Ps applicable to both product and service industries?
A: The original 4 Ps were created to be applicable for both products and services. Some people consider people, processes, and physical evidence of the 7 Ps to be more applicable to service industries, but our opinion is that they are useful for product industries as well.
Now you should have a clearer understanding of each element of the 7 Ps Marketing Mix. Once you have been through each of the 7 Ps elements for your own business, you can apply your findings to product and service design, as well as your marketing strategy.