The 7 Ps – The Extended Marketing Mix
In this lesson, you’ll learn about a more advanced version of the marketing mix and how these additional components help in determining a company’s marketing mix programme.
After having analyzed each of them in detail, it’s time to go one step further and briefly look at the 7 Ps – an extension of the 4 Ps that includes three additional components:
3) Physical Evidence
Let’s get started! Here’s a quick recap:
“Marketing Mix” is a general phrase used to describe the different kinds of choices organizations have to make in the whole process of bringing a product or service to market.
The Extended Marketing Mix
Marketing is a continually evolving discipline and as such can be one that companies find themselves left very much behind the competition if they stand still for too long. An example of this evolution has been the fundamental changes to the basic Marketing Mix.
Where once there were 4 Ps to explain the mix, nowadays it is more commonly accepted that a more developed 7 Ps adds a much needed additional layer of depth to the Marketing Mix with some theorists going even further.
The 7Ps is generally used in the service industries.
From 4Ps to 7 Ps
In the late 70’s, it was widely acknowledged by marketers that the Marketing Mix should be updated.
This led to the creation of the Extended Marketing Mix in 1981 by Booms & Bitner which added three new elements to the 4 Ps Principle.
This now allowed the extended Marketing Mix to include products that are services and not just physical things.
People are essential in the marketing of any product or service. All companies are reliant on the people who run them – from front line sales staff to the Managing Director. Having the right people is essential because they are as much a part of your business offering as the products/services you are offering.
In the professional, financial or hospitality service industry, people are not producers, but rather the products themselves.
When people are the product, they impact public perception of an organization as much as any tangible consumer goods. From a marketing management perspective, it is important to ensure that employees represent the company in alignment with broader messaging strategies. This is easier to ensure when people feel as though they have been treated fairly and earn wages sufficient enough to support their daily lives.
A company’s employees are important in marketing because they are the ones who deliver the service. It is important to hire and train the right people to deliver superior service to clients, whether they run a support desk, customer service etc.
When a business finds people who genuinely believe in the products or services that the particular business creates, it’s highly likely that the employees will perform the best they can.
Additionally, they’ll be more open to honest feedback about the business and input their own thoughts which can help to grow the business.
This is a secret, “internal” competitive advantage a business can have over other competitors which can inherently affect a business’s position in the marketplace.
Process refers to “the set of activities that results in delivery of the product benefits”. A process could be a sequential order of tasks that an employee undertakes as a part of their job or while attempting to complete a task.
Some people are responsible for managing multiple processes at once. For example, a restaurant manager should monitor the performance of employees, ensuring that processes are followed. He/she is also expected to supervise while customers are promptly greeted, seated, fed, and led out so that the next customer can begin this process.
The delivery of your service is usually done with the customer present so how the service is delivered is once again part of what the consumer is paying for.
The systems and processes of an organization affect the execution of the service. So, you have to make sure that you have a well-tailored process in place to minimize costs.
It could be your entire sales funnel, a payment system, distribution system or other systematic procedures and steps to ensure a working business that is running effectively. Tweaking and enhancements can come later to “tighten up” a business to minimize costs and maximise profits.
(3) Physical Evidence
Almost all services include some physical elements even if the bulk of what the consumer is paying for is intangible. For example, a hair salon would provide their client with a completed hairdo and an insurance company would give their customers some form of printed material. Even if the material is not physically printed, they are still receiving a “physical product” by this definition.
Physical evidence is the lasting proof that the service has happened. In terms of buying a physical product, the physical evidence is the product itself. According to Booms and Bitner’s framework, physical evidence is the service delivered and any tangible goods that facilitate the performance and communication of the service.
It is important to customers because the tangible goods are evidence that the seller has (or has not) provided what the customer was expecting.
In the service industries, there should be physical evidence that the service was delivered. Additionally, physical evidence pertains also to how a business and it’s products are perceived in the marketplace.
It is the physical evidence of a business’ presence and establishment. A concept of this is branding. For example, when you think of “fast food”, you think of McDonalds.
When you think of sports, the names Nike and Adidas come to mind. You immediately know exactly what their presence is in the marketplace, as they are generally market leaders and have established a physical evidence as well as psychological evidence in their marketing. They have manipulated their consumer perception so well to the point where their brands appear first in line when an individual is asked to broadly “name a brand” in their niche or industry.
Though in place since the 1980’s, the 7 Ps are still widely taught due to their fundamental logic being sound in the marketing environment and marketers’ abilities to adapt the Marketing Mix to include changes in communications such as social media, updates in the places which you can sell a product/service or customers expectations in a constantly changing commercial environment.