The 7 Ps in marketing and how you can use them in a crisis

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day running of a business only getting the marketing essentials in, if there’s time. But the truth is, marketing should be one of the must-do activities like brushing your teeth and paying your taxes! So, where do you start?

THE MARKETING MIX OR 7P’S!

Why are you about to deep dive on these 7P’s? Well they’re kind-of a big deal. They form the foundation for any good, really good, marketing plan.

What are the 7p’s, exactly? 

For starters it’s actually the 4P’s plus three more for good measure. Product, Place, Price, Promotion plus Packaging or Physical Evidence, People and Process. They were developed in 1960 by E. Jerome McCarthy and form what’s known in industry as the ‘Marketing Mix’. 

Essentially, it’s a set of variables a business has control over. The desired audience for a business lies where all seven elements overlap known as the Target Market. 

The central focus of the Marketing Mix is the customer and the 7P’s are designed to give the customer and brand the highest level of satisfaction by meeting the fundamental need/s of the customer.

Changes in a company’s external environment necessitate alterations in the marketing mix and is why businesses should revaluate the 7P’s periodically. It should be reviewed to ensure you are still meeting the basic need of your Target Market efficiently, to hold or increase market share.

Who is the 7P’s for?

Everyone. Whilst every new business should absolutely review these principles, it’s equally important for an established business to understand where its products fit in the marketplace. 

Let’s break them down a little further, hey!

Product

A tangible product or service a business provides for sale. It could be a watch an apple or piece of software. 

To assess your product and its place in the market you should review the quality, features, intended or other use and post purchase offers like warranties or support.

If your product is still in development or you are testing the market to determine if your product could be received well, you could reverse engineer this stage by understanding who your product is intended for and underpinning what they would want from a product. This will help aid what features your product should have, what level of support your audience would expect to receive and so forth.

Place

Where is your product found? How can your customers get their ‘hands’ on your product or service?

To assess your products place you can review the distribution channels you currently use and determine if these options are still relevant. For example, is your website mobile friendly? With 65% of all searches in Australia now coming from mobile devices it has never been more imperative to have a mobile optimised website. 

If your business falls in the ecommerce realm not only should you have an online store, but you should understand if your Target Market uses social and whether you would also benefit from setting up your store on Facebook or Instagram Shops! 

Find out more about Facebook and Instagram shops here 

Price

The price that can be charged for your product or service depends on several factors including supply and demand, your products value proposition and pricing model.

Do you have too many price points for your audience? Limiting choices helps prevent cognitive dissonance as too many options can be overwhelming and lead to a non-purchase altogether. 

To assess your products price, you should evaluate the nature of your product and whether it warrants a flat-fee or subscription model. Are their levels to your product that permit a staged pricing approach with added features or benefits for a premium?

Do you offer three or so versions of the same or similar product? A classic example of this is internet plans. Often there are four options, each with different levels of inclusions but essentially, they are the same product. Tier one is always a ‘cheap’ option with the lowest level of inclusion. Designed as the entry level product – not where the company wants most of its sales to be generated from but allows them to have a foot in that space. Tier two isn’t much different a smidge more inclusions for a little bit more cost. Tier three is where the company wants you to land and is priced not too dissimilar than its predecessor but, in most part, has double the features (generally in data or speed). And Tier four, all the bells and whistles with extras thrown in that actually have nothing to do with the core product itself but seem like a good idea for those who just want everything. The complete bundle. The company will have you anytime, as long as you can afford it.

Promotion

How is your product promoted? Do you use all appropriate channels available to you?

To assess your products promotional strategy, you could review the use of your owned, earned and paid channels. Are you using the channels that your target market expects you to use?

If you’re an online accountant, advertising in the phone book isn’t going to cut it. Instead you could look at content pieces that your Target Market might find beneficial and use them to form part of your inbound marketing campaign or lead generation strategy. 

Packaging or Physical Evidence

Does your product or service have appropriate packaging that matches your product or service. Do your staff or website represent your product or service? Is the layout of your store conducive to selling your product? 

Assess what communications your target market may come in contact with and review if they are in line with your branding or positioning. 

I worked with Akubra when they were transitioning from retail to online. One of their problems was that they found it difficult to replicate the high-end experience of a hat fitting retail stores provided. They bridged this gap with an elaborate packaging experience, so that the customer felt special when they opened the box to try on their hat for the first time. 

Akubra nailed it, it wasn’t just any box, the packaging itself was high-end, it was a box you kept to store your hat or anything else, it became an extension of the product. It even smelt    fantastic!

People

Who interacts with the product and or customer and is there a skills gap between the service the business seeks to provide and the reality of the service received?

To assess your people you must first list all the ways in which your target market could interact with your people. Sales calls, live chat, direct emails, instore experience etc. If you can give your Target Market a positive customer experience, they are more likely to purchase, refer additional customers and help spread word-of-moth.

Good people can make up for a bad or faulty product, but a good product cannot make up for bad service. I once accidentally put my baby monitor through the washing machine – no sleep will do that! I called the company, told them the truth and the representative was so lovely on the phone, she took my details and called me back later to let me know they had shipped out another unit – FREE OF CHARGE! A $200 unit, can you believe it? Needless to say, I was so enthralled that I immediately left them a review on every possible online channel and actually bought another system for a girlfriend of mine who was expecting a baby. Great customer service = customer for life – shout out to VTECH!

Process

What processes are involved in getting your product or service to the Target Market? If the process is too hard the customer is likely to checkout before the desired action has taken place.

To assess your processes review what is needed to ensure you deliver the same standard of product of service to your Target Market.

Ever heard the saying eaten at one McDonalds, eaten at them all? There’s a reason a Big Mac tastes the same regardless of where you purchased it. McDonalds have process down packed! They have saved on time and money by creating a full proof plan that ensures EVERYBODY is following the same protocol and they’re franchised. Take a minute to understand how amazing it actually is for them to achieve such widespread adoption of its process.

So, if you’re looking to inject a bit of life back into your business, increase that hoarded market share and get a leg-up on the competition put the customer first and undertake the 7P’s analysis. As a business owner you have control over every, single, element and by putting the customer first you might just be rewarded with dividends beyond your imagination!

This post is written by Small Business First Business Champion, Marie Breguet. 

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