Is the 7P Marketing Mix Still Relevant Today with Online?
This blog is for the CPG and service-based small business owners looking to grow their business with marketing strategies.
We will cover three items:
- The 7p's Marketing Mix
- 7p's Applied to Online
- Cautionary Tale even with the perfect Marketing Mix
Before focusing the marketing, I need to add that in our Business Growth Diagnostic & Growth Program, two pillars sit outside of marketing; Purpose and Planet.
Whereas, in larger businesses, the Purpose and Impact are mostly handled by the marketing teams.
Purpose - relates to ‘why’ you are in business?
Planet - relates to the impact you are creating with your business.
Our research piece argues why explores the Purpose, Planet and People Pillars in detail.
As part of any Business Growth Plan, a key component is the marketing strategy.
The marketing strategy allows the business to predict and act on the next phase of growth.
However, one of the greatest advertisers of all time, in Ogilvy, famously repeated– ‘advertising works 50% of the time. The challenge is to work out which 50%’.
Marketing is certainly not advertising – it is artful and yet a science.
The marketing mix comprises of generally 7P’s and these make up the marketing mix.
The 7P’s started as 4P’s by Jerome McCarthy: Product, Price, Place and Promotion.
With the service sector growing, some of the P’s changed, and three new P’s were born: Physical Evidence, Processes and People.
There are variations of this and all the 7 P’s can apply to online marketing on its own - we'll cover this below.
The 7P’s and their element are visible in the following diagram:
What is the product or service, and who is it for? The product can also be described as the value proposition. This is the most critical question to answer. The product is designed to fill the gap in the marketplace. All the attributes related to the product like quality, value, packaging, branding etc. are all significant.
Which channels will you use to sell your product? We know the usual channels like online, retail, distributors, wholesale etc. There are also peer to peer approaches for specific products. Multi-level marketing works using peer to peer.
For example, when we work with clients who pass the proof-of concept phase, we identify all the different market models available to them and align this to the vision they have for their business.
What’s your price point? Pricing strategies depend on the audience you are serving and your cost build. For example, using premium ingredients and packaging, your cost of goods will be high. If this is the case, your retail price for your product will need to be higher to factor all the other costs, like selling, marketing and general administration, including overheads.
Previously, I have shared a bottom-up strategy for pricing, where you calculate your full costs, including overhead, and add a profit margin. This approach is referred to as “cost plus”,
An alternate approach is where you compare what the consumers are willing to pay for the product, and you build your costs accordingly.
Loss- leader pricing like Uber/Door Dash/Amazon, is all about gaining market share before increasing the pricing. Alternatively, men’s shavers or home printers use this approach and have large profit through the sale of blades and ink, respectively.
The opposite of loss-leader approach is skimming, which is like Tesla’s approach—going for the higher end of the market first, then entering lower-priced products for different segments.
The psychology of pricing and how you display pricing is a whole art in itself. Why are all prices ending in 9.95? 😉
Do you see from the table above there is no mention of digital marketing? And yet, that’s usually in front of mind.
Special Offers/Advertising/Endorsements/User Trials/Free Gifts/ Competitions/ Collaborations/ Joint Ventures are all different approaches.
From the blog on Covid-19, the easiest way I find the small businesses can gain market exposure is to collaborate with other brands who are like-minded.
With small businesses, there is a lot of emphasis on social media. Based on the successful implementation, the return on investment for social media can be significant.
As your business grows, traditional forms of promotion are just as relevant today.People: How will your staff live up to your brand? When I work with clients, I value the People pillar on its own. It’s not merely marketing responsibility; People form the fabric of the business. And this links back to Purpose.
Physical Environment How will the physical elements marry the value proposition? Like People, in our approach this topics forms part of the Purpose and how you keep your the physical environment and workspace. For example, some start-up brands focus on the customer-facing side, and not so much on the ‘back-end’. This can work on the short-term, but and not in the long term.
Process How are the products consumed? This element was introduced in the 1980s as the service industries started to flourish. If a brand/product or service promises a certain delivery, all aspects of the delivery of the item need to reflect the value proposition.
For food products delivered at home, how would you like to have the parcel delivered? Some brands use dedicated delivery drivers who message the customer when they have dropped off the parcel. It’s these extra touches that make a difference. Compare this to a low-cost delivery driver who drops the package in any location.
Now how does the marketing mix translate to the digital world?
Many aspects of the marketing mix migrate well to their own online counterparts. See the diagram below from Engaio Digital. They write a detailed article on applying 7P’s to online. Its well worth a read.
Cautionary Tale for Business Growth
One of the biggest challenges in growing your business is focus.
According to Drucker, a strategy is not actually about adding but removing distraction so that you can focus.
If you have a wide range of products serving different markets, but you only have a limited marketing budget, you are effectively conflicted.
You are not servicing each of these customers to their full potential.
Service-based business face the same dilemma.
If this is your case, it’s time to evaluate which products you would like to focus and trim the range.
In summary, reviewing the marketing mix provides valuable insight to take your business to the next level. Of course, there could be other challenges like production constraints, lack of sales training, and insufficient funding which holds back your marketing efforts.
When I work with clients, I start with a Business Growth Diagnostic to identify strategic gaps and then we work on the Business Growth plan, to not only grow the business but magnify the impact.
If you know anyone who could benefit from this piece, please do share with them.