The fundamental aspects of traditional marketing remain the same even though it had evolved over the past years. When businesses were more likely to sell products rather than services, the 4 P’s of Marketing were designed. Over time three more P’s were added. When reviewing or creating competitive communication strategies, all 7 P’s of the marketing mix are recommended.
The seven P’s assist in defining key issues that affect marketing of products and services. The 8 P’s of marketing include:
- Product – What is it they want to buy? These are the products or services that the customers buy.
- Price – How much will the customer pay for the product?
- Promotion – How is the customer found and how they are persuaded to buy it?
- Place – How and where are the products or services distributed to the customer?
- People – Who are you selling to? Who are our people and are there skills gaps?
- Processes – 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.
- Physical Evidence: How we reassure our customers and build customer and brand loyalty.
- Productivity / Performance: The supply of the best product or service at all times.
Products can be a tangible good or a service offering that meets demands and requirements of consumers or potential consumers. Benefits are the products or services need to be based on a unique selling proposition and potential consumers need to be identified and understood. In depth research needs to be done before finding out what products or services need to be produced, promoted and sold. These products or services need to follow a logical life process which is vital for marketers to understand and plan for the various stages and for any challenges that may arise.
Marketers need to answer the following questions:
- What products or services can I offer that will outsell my competitors?
- What do consumers want from the products / services?
- How will the consumer use it and where will they use it?
- What features are required to meet the consumers’ needs and are there any features that have been missed?
- What is the name of the product and is it a catchy, call to action name?
- Does the product / service stand out from the competitors?
The prices are the amount or the cost that consumers will pay for the product or service. Pricing or cost will affect how well the product or service sells. If a product or service is too expensive or too inexpensive it will not sell. If the consumer perceives the product or service to be more valuable than what it is selling for, they will not buy it. Underpriced products or services come across as low valued in the minds of the consumers. It is paramount to understand the perception of the consumers. Therefore, pricing cannot be set too high to too low. This is an important aspect of the marketing plan as pricing all affects the company’s bottom line. It also affects the sales and demand of the product or service. When setting the pricing, organizations need to take the following into account:
- How much did it cost you to produce the product?
- What are the customers’ perceived product value?
- Do you think that the slight price decrease could significantly increase your market share?
- Can the current price of the product keep up with the price of the product’s competitors?
Promotion is the communication aspect of the marketing function. It involves the different methods of communication such as traditional and digital advertising, sales promotions, sales or special offers, corporate identity, exhibitions, social media, content and influencer marketing and public relations. Whichever channel the marketer chooses, it must be relevant for the product or service and be aligned with the relevant target market. Any form of promotion and advertising must keep businesses ahead of their competitors. Promotion’s main goal is to boost sales, build the brand and maintain a consistent brand reputation.
The following questions need to be answered for an effective promotion strategy:
- How can you send marketing messages to your consumers or potential consumers?
- When is the best time to promote your product or service?
- What is the best way to get your message out to the potential consumers?
- Is it best to use digital / social media, traditional marketing or both in an integrated communication campaign?
- What are your competitors doing?
Promotion strategies depend on budget, the message that needs to be communicated, the channels used and the defined target market.
The place is how the product or services are distributed. The various channels are assessed and an understanding of which channels will be most effective to get the message out to the end users. This includes location, distribution and delivery of the message to the consumer. For placement, businesses need to have a deep understanding of their consumers and potential consumers.
Some relevant questions need to answered such as:
- Where do your clients look for your service or product?
- What stores do consumers use? Retailers, supermarkets or do they shop online?
- How do you access the different distribution channels?
- How and does your placement strategy stand out form your competitors? What are they doing?
- Do you need an online store?
- Do you need a strong sales force?
The people include both the target market and the people directly related to the relevant business. The business employees are vital in the process as they are responsible for the delivery of the messaging as they need to believe in the product to deliver the right messages. These same employees will give more honest feedback and thought into the products and services and will invest themselves in the business.
This refers to the processes involved in delivering the products and service to the consumer. The systems and processes of the business affects the execution of the service. Therefore, in order to minimize costs and maximize profits, the process needs to be sharp and well thought out. Having a good process in place assists in delivering the same standard and service to the customers and saves time and costs by increasing efficiency. The processes involved will affect the consumers experience, level of satisfaction and loyalty to the business. These can include: website user experience, delivery time, delivery methods, in-store wait time, communicating with customer support and after sales service.
In addition to the relevant processes, there needs to be processes for crisis management in case something goes wrong or there is a bad consumer experience
7. PHYSICAL EVIDENCE
Physical evidence refers to proof of delivery of the products / services as well as how they are perceived in the marketplace. Physical evidence refers to everything your consumers see when interacting with your business. This includes: the physical environment where the product or service is provided, the layout or design, packaging and branding. These aspects need to exhibit qualities that consumers expect in order to keep the businesses credibility and sector standards. Every component of the service or products needs to adhere to the same brand values as the product itself. This creates a consistent convincing experience for the consumer.
Productivity or performance relates to how well a business’s products or services compete in the marketplace. It refers to consistency and how well the features of the product or service translates into benefits as it is being delivered. This is less about internal productivity and more about delivery to consumers. It is therefore combined with quality and that businesses need to deliver the best quality at all times. Performance or productivity is also about measuring financial goals and whether they are achieving their ROI.
Marketing is a continually evolving discipline and businesses find themselves left behind the competition if they remain stagnant for too long. It is more commonly accepted that a more developed 8 Ps adds a very relevant additional layer of depth to the Marketing Mix.
The 8 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.