The marketing mix is a classic standard in operational marketing. It describes the set of measures identified to reach marketing goals. For many years, the marketing mix consisted of 4 Ps: product, price, place and promotion. However, the 4 P concept can only applied to the service sector to a limited extent. This is why marketing experts have developed the 7 P concept. Here are more details about the 7Ps of marketing.
The 7 Ps in marketing
The first P stands for product and everything that goes along with it. This includes the design and use for customers, as well as all the services surrounding it. At the centre of this is deciding which products or services a company wants to offer and how these should be marketed. Preliminary work is necessary by carrying out a comprehensive market study or by analysing the target group to determine the relevance of the product or service for the customer.
The second P is finding the right price for the product or service. This pricing policy takes into account all external factors such as cost price and competition as well as all other price-related elements. These include, for example, delivery and payment terms, discounts, special offers and guarantees.
In general, when determining prices, they should be appropriate to the quality of the products and the investment required. This means that an article which is complicated to manufacture and has a high cost price must be sold at a high price.
The third P concerns all decisions and measures related to the distribution of the product or service. Not only does this include logistical issues such as transport and storage, but also certain aspects of sourcing such as delivery service. In addition, one must address key questions such as: Where is the product sold, which partners are suitable for the different distribution channels? How does it relate to the needs and purchasing habits of the target group?
This point concerns the dissemination of information and customer loyalty towards the merchandise. How to draw attention to the product or service, how to encourage consumers to buy? This applies not only to advertising slogans and elaborate packaging, but also to sales promotion in general. Measures in this field include, for example, special offers and competitions.
Communication is both outwardly and inwardly oriented, and also covers internal communication between management and employees. It is important to define a company’s image and communicate it as authentically as possible.
The fifth P in the marketing mix represents human resources policy. It is particularly important in the services sector, as well as in the following two policy areas: consumers find it difficult to assess the value of services because they are not material. They are therefore looking for proxy indicators that indicate the quality of the provision. In the tertiary sector, high quality staff is one of these key indicators.
It is therefore important for a service company to find excellent staff and implement them successfully. Human resources policy is part of the marketing instruments because services are often provided by people and customer satisfaction depends mainly on these people.
Process management is not only about purely technical processes such as the manufacture of a product. It is very important to ensure that a service can be experienced. To do this, business processes must be customer-oriented and the customer must be made to feel as comfortable as possible.
The seventh P of the marketing mix, namely hardware policy, concerns the optimization of the physical environment of a product or service. Especially in the service sector, material policy plays a major role, because here it is not as easy to influence the perception of the service as, for example, in the case of a product with a high-end design or made of high-quality materials.
The aim of the materials policy is therefore to positively influence the subjective perception of the customer through the visible environment of a service in line with the company’s objectives. Design, architecture, appearance and material are the keys to achieving this.
The 7 P’s of marketing are particularly relevant for companies in the service sector. However, not all aspects are equally important for reaching the desired target group. The first step for SMEs is market research, enabling them to find out which criteria matter most to potential customers and in which areas unique sales proposals may be required.
Don’t forget to call on EUROPAGES advisers for any advice on your marketing mix!
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