The marketing mix is a business tool used in marketing and by marketers. The marketing mix is often crucial when determining a product or brand’s offer, and is often associated with the four P’s: price, product, promotion, and place. In service marketing, however, the four Ps are expanded to the seven P’s or Seven P’s to address the different nature of services.
In the 1990s, the concept of four C’s was introduced as a more customer-driven replacement of four P’s. There are two theories based on four Cs: Lauterborn’s four Cs (consumer, cost, communication, convenience), and Shimizu’s four Cs (commodity, cost, communication, channel).
In 2012, a new four P’s theory was proposed with people, processes,programs, and performance.
The marketer E. Jerome McCarthy proposed a four Ps classification in 1960, which has since been used by marketers throughout the world.
|Product||A product is seen as an item that satisfies what a consumer demands. It is a tangible good or an intangible service.Tangible products are those that have an independent physical existence. Typical examples of mass-produced, tangible objects are the motor car and the disposable razor. A less obvious but ubiquitous mass-produced service is a computer operating system.
Every product is subject to a life-cycle including a growth phase followed by a maturity phase and finally an eventual period of decline as sales fall. Marketers must do careful research on how long the life cycle of the product they are marketing is likely to be and focus their attention on different challenges that arise as the product moves.
The marketer must also consider the product mix. Marketers can expand the current product mix by increasing a certain product line’s depth or by increasing the number of product lines. Marketers should consider how to position the product, how to exploit the brand, how to exploit the company’s resources and how to configure the product mix so that each product complements the other. The marketer must also consider product development strategies.
|Price||The amount a customer pays for the product. The price is very important as it determines the company’s profit and hence, survival. Adjusting the price has a profound impact on the marketing strategy, and depending on the price elasticity of the product, often it will affect the demand and sales as well. The marketer should set a price that complements the other elements of the marketing mix.
When setting a price, the marketer must be aware of the customer perceived value for the product. Three basic pricing strategies are: market skimming pricing, market penetration pricing and neutral pricing. The ‘reference value’ (where the consumer refers to the prices of competing products) and the ‘differential value’ (the consumer’s view of this product’s attributes versus the attributes of other products) must be taken into account.
|Promotion||All of the methods of communication that a marketer may use to provide information to different parties about the product. Promotion comprises elements such as: advertising, public relations, sales organization and sales promotion.
Advertising covers any communication that is paid for, from cinema commercials, radio and Internet advertisements through print media and billboards. Public relations is where the communication is not directly paid for and includes press releases, sponsorship deals, exhibitions, conferences, seminars or trade fairs and events. Word-of-mouth is any apparently informal communication about the product by ordinary individuals, satisfied customers or people specifically engaged to create word of mouth momentum. Sales staff often plays an important role in word of mouth and public relations (see ‘product’ above).
|Distribution (Place)||Refers to providing the product at a place which is convenient for consumers to access. Various strategies such as intensive distribution, selective distribution, exclusive distribution and franchising can be used by the marketer to complement the other aspects of the marketing mix.|
The “seven Ps” is a marketing model that adds to the aforementioned four Ps, including “physical evidence”, “people”, and “process”: It is used when the relevant product is a service, not merely a physical good.
|Physical evidence||The evidence which shows that a service was performed, such as the delivery packaging for the item delivered by a delivery service, or a scar left by a surgeon. This reminds or reassures the consumer that the service took place, positively or negatively.|
|People||The employees that execute the service, chiefly concerning the manner and skill in which they do so.|
|Process||The processes and systems within the organization that affect the execution of its service, such as job queuing or query handling.|