Marketing mix, also known as 7Ps of marketing includes individual marketing elements that form overall offer to customers. The concept was developed by marketing professor E. Jerome McCarthy and originally published in his book Basic Marketing. A Managerial Approach in 1960.
Initially the concept consisted of 4 Ps – product, place, price and promotion. As the field of marketing became more sophisticated additional 3 Ps – people, process and physical evidence were added by Bitner and Booms. The additional 3Ps are also called ‘service mix Ps’, because they integrate important aspects of services into the marketing mix concept.
Furthermore, in 2007 Larry Londre introduced another 2Ps – Partners/Strategic Alliances and Presentation. However, this latest addition has not been widely accepted among marketing researchers and practitioners, thus here we will stick to 7Ps of marketing.
Marketing mix is a useful tool to tailor your products and services to the needs and wants of the target customer segment, but it is not a one-stop-shop for developing a comprehensive marketing strategy. A successful marketing strategy needs to address a range of other frameworks such as segmentation targeting and positioning, marketing communication mix and others.
Product Element in 7Ps of Marketing
Product or a service is the starting point in the marketing mix. Companies need to take into account the following variables, among others when developing new products:
- In what type of packaging is the product offered?
- Are products offered in various colours sizes etc.?
- What design and technical features differentiate the product in the competition?
- Are products durable and robust enough to appeal to the needs and wants of the target customer segment?
- What are the levels of quality and functional performance?
- Can he product be customized to individual users?
- Is the product easy to use and maintain?
- Is the product upgraded regularly?
Place Element in 7Ps of Marketing
Place refers to where customers find offerings and where they buy products and services. This may include physical store, website, an app or a combination of all. Place element may also include ‘middlemen’ or distributors.
Price Element in 7Ps of Marketing
Pricing refers to what customers are willing to pay for products and services. In the most basic level prices of products and services should be higher than the costs incurring in producing them.
The most popular pricing strategies include the following:
– Penetration pricing. Business sets artificially low prices to gain the market share.
– Economy pricing. No frills low pricing. Businesses pursuing economy pricing have to keep marketing and promotion costs at a minimum.
– Price skimming. Company can charge a higher price because it has competitive advantage in the market. In other words, company capitiizes on its unique selling proposition and competitive advantage.
– Psychological Pricing. Businesses appeal to an emptional, rather than rational thinking of customers. For example, Price Point Perspective (PPP) 0.99 Cents appears much cheaper than 1 US Dollar, although the difference is only 1 cents.
– Product Line Pricing. Companies can produce different quality grades of the same product and put different price tag on each grade. For example, a basic toothpaste can cost GBP 1.50; herbal GBP 2.25 and sensitive GBP 2.80.
– Optional Product Pricing. A business can increase the overall price of products and services once customers start to buy. For example, airlines can charge for optional extras such as guaranteeing a window seat or reserving a row of seats next to each other.
– Captive Product Pricing. Using this strategy companies can make more money from product’s components over customer lifetime than the product itself. For example, a shaving razor producer can offer a plastic razor for a low price, but the blades for the razor will be priced expensively.
– Product Bundle Pricing. Businesses can combine several complimentary products in the same package for a total lower price than if the products were sold separately. For example, mobile phones sellers can bundle the mobile phone with sim-card and internet data plan.
– Promotional Pricing. Companies can offer temporary price reductions in various forms such as seasonal sales promotions, money off coupons, discount vouchers and loyalty cards
– Geographical Pricing. International companies can price the same products differently in different parts of the world. Pricing in any given location depends on a wide range of factors such as shipping costs, supply and demand, taxation, wages, costs of raw resources etc.
– Value Pricing. External factors such as COVID-19 pandemic or economic recession can motivate producers to offer value products and services to retain sales. Value meals at McDonalds and other fast-food restaurants is a good example for value pricing.
– Premium Pricing. Company can attach a higher price tag on products due to the uniqueness of the brand. For example, Apple uses premium pricing strategy extensively.
– Freemium Pricing. A pricing strategy by which a product or service (typically a digital offering or application such as software, media, games or web services) is provided free of charge, but money (premium) is charged for proprietary features, functionality, or virtual goods.
Promotion Element in 7Ps of Marketing
Promotion is needed to communicate the brand value offering to the representatives of the target customer segment. Promotion element in the marketing mix deals with the methods used to advertise products and services.
Process Element in 7Ps of Marketing
It is important to critically evaluate the range of processes related to sales systematically with the aim to improve processes. Companies need to pay attention to the following in terms of processes:
- Any possible internal barriers for delivering excellent customer service
- Duration of time before a customer receives a response to her inquiry
- Activities that take place after the order is placed
- Post-sale follow up processes, if any
People Element in 7Ps of Marketing
People element in marketing mix refers to customer interactions with company employees during the sales process and after-sale service. This element encompasses each individual in the company that contacts with the target customer segment directly, as well as, indirectly. Corporate culture has a direct and considerable influence on the people element of the marketing mix.
Physical evidence Element in 7Ps of Marketing
Physical evidence refers to items related to the recognition of brands. Physical evidence provides tangible cues of the quality of experience that a company is offering. Packaging, physical or digital receipts, invoices, or follow-up email newsletters are all parts of physical evidence.
The importance of the marketing mix is that businesses need to address all of its elements effectively. If a company gets just one element wrong the whole marketing efforts can be jeopardized.
In this portal you can find 7Ps of marketing application on some major companies.
 McCarthy, E. J. (1964). Basic Marketing. Richard D. Irwin. Homewood, IL.
 Bitner, M. J. and Booms, H. (1981). Marketing Strategies and Organization: Structure for Service Firms. In Donnelly, J. H. and George, W. R. (Eds). Marketing of Services, Conference Proceedings. Chicago, IL. American Marketing Association. p. 47- 52.