The 7 Ps of marketing are the core building blocks required for any marketing strategy. Jerome McCarthy conceptualised the first 4 Ps in 1964 and these were increased to 7 in 1981 by Booms and Bitner. Here, we outline each of the 7 Ps (starting with McCarthy’s original 4) and tell you why you need to apply them to your marketing activities.
Your product is what you sell. This includes all product features, services, benefits, experiences and advantages.
When you market your product, you need to think about what problem it is solving for your customers. Why do they want it? How will it enhance their life? What else will they need to use it or improve it?
Market research can help inform you about what your customers really want and need. It can also reveal how you can develop and improve your products. You need to ensure that your product is right for the market and that it meets or exceeds the customer’s demands.
This is how much you charge your customers for your products, services or experiences. When determining a price, you must consider how much you want to charge and how much your customers are willing to pay. Within your pricing you must account for overheads, profit margins, competitors and payment methods. You will also want to consider offering discounts and sales if that would attract or help customers.
Often called the ‘marketing tactics,’ your promotions are how you show your customers what you have to offer. Promotions include direct marketing, sales tactics, advertising or promotions.
Traditionally, marketers would have used television, radio and newspapers to promote their product. Nowadays, promotions are far more advanced. You can display your products and sales incentives digitally through social media, displays ads, emails or pop-ups.
When devising your promotional plans, it is crucial to think what your customers will see and respond to. If you’re aiming for an older audience, then traditional media could be more effective. If your audience is young, then promote using social media.
‘Place’ is about where you design, make, sell and display your products or services. This could include a warehouse, shop or online store. Even if you don’t have a physical store, your operation locations can be vitally important to your customers. Perhaps they want to shop locally or have the option of quick delivery.
If you do have a physical store, consider your potential competitors. Does a street with other shops like yours demonstrate a crowded marketplace or an excellent opportunity to get a piece of the action?
Place also relates to the internal layout of a physical store. The way you display your products and use visual merchandising can be crucial to how customers engage with your products.
‘People’ are all of your employees and those working with your company, including you. Your company will operate effectively if all people are committed to the brand and its success.
Make your employees and colleagues feel included, motivated and, most importantly, valued. Investing in excellent training and customer service strategies can make all the difference to your staff and customers. People are far more likely to share a negative experience. But if your staff are happy then your customers are more likely to be happy, too.
Process encompasses how you deliver your products and how easy you are to deal with. By having excellent processes in place, you ensure that your product is consistent and that your company is efficient and cost-effective.
What your customers see is counted as physical evidence. This can include the physical stores, the product, receipts, branding, packaging or how your employees dress. It is worth considering how you want your customers to see you. Do they want to do business with a casual, fun company or an exceptionally professional and no-nonsense business?
Each element of the marketing mix is essential to an effective marketing strategy. If you have a great product but no place to sell it, then your business will struggle. Similarly, if you have fantastic promotions but no people who believe in them, then the promotions will ultimately fall flat.
If you’re formulating a new marketing strategy, then use the 7Ps as your starting point. Work through every component and piece together a thorough and professional plan.
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