The notion of a marketing mix was first mentioned by E. Jerome McCarthy in his 1960 book Basic Marketing, A Managerial Approach. McCarthy’s marketing mix was limited to product, price, place, and promotion – otherwise known as the 4 Ps of marketing. The 7 Ps of marketing is a model incorporating seven elements into the ideal marketing mix. Indeed, researchers Mary Jo Bitner and Bernard H. Booms added a further three elements to the original model: people, processes, and physical evidence.
Understanding the 7 Ps of marketing
The 4 Ps of marketing were created at a time when businesses were more likely to sell products than services.
What’s more, the role of customer service in branding was less well understood.
As the business landscape began to evolve, researchers Mary Jo Bitner and Bernard H.
Booms added a further three elements to the original model: people, processes, and physical evidence.
Though instituted in 1981, the 7 Ps of marketing is still widely taught today.
Businesses use the model to review and define issues likely to affect the marketing of their products and services.
In so doing, they are better able to satisfy the needs and wants of customers in their target market.
The 7 Ps of marketing
Let’s now take a look at each of the seven elements in more detail:
Above all, the product should live up to its expectations.
Does it do what the customer wants it to do?
Product marketing should incorporate the benefits customers will receive when buying goods or services.
These are most often tied to features such as design, quality, warranty, and accessories.
The marketing team must also identify how much the target audience is willing to pay for something.
At the same time, they must also be sensitive to company profit margins, overheads, and other associated costs.
Discounts and seasonal pricing may attract and retain customers.
The product must be located where the consumer finds it easiest to purchase.
This may be in a brick-and-mortar store, or it may be online.
This includes advertising, direct marketing, in-store promotions, and of course digital marketing in all its shapes and forms.
Understanding consumer purchasing patterns and targeting them at the correct stage of their buying cycle is paramount.
This takes two forms.
The first is physical evidence that a transaction took place and may include receipts, invoices, packaging, and postal tracking information.
The second form of physical evidence refers to the branding a consumer is likely to interact with before making a purchase.
This includes websites, logos, company headquarters, social media accounts, and business cards.
Who are those directly or indirectly involved in selling the product or service?
Here, it’s important to realize that a brand is only as good as the people selling it.
Employees must be adequately trained. For example, customer service representatives must display some degree of empathy toward others.
Managerial staff must be visionaries who drive the company forward with respect for its values.
This refers to the process of delivering a product or service.
For consumers, it describes how easy a company is to do business with.
Seamless delivery processes save time and money for the business. If a high standard of service can be maintained, this also builds brand loyalty.
7 Ps of marketing examples
Let’s now take a more comprehensive look at two 7 Ps of marketing case studies for Tesla and McDonald’s.
Tesla 7Ps Marketing Case Study
Everyone knows about Tesla’s assortment of electric vehicles, but the company also sells energy generation and storage products that are sustainable and scalable.
These include solar infrastructure for residential and commercial purposes, energy storage solutions, batteries, and other related products.
Tesla’s EVs are in a class of their own and dominate the industry in terms of quality, product aesthetics, features, and durability.
The way Tesla sells its vehicles is radically different from existing models. The company does not have dealerships in the traditional sense, instead utilizing stores that can often be found in malls with busy foot traffic.
There, the consumer can learn about EVs more broadly and get a sense of what it would be like to own one.
Note that at present, Tesla vehicles can only be ordered online. Brick-and-mortar stores can facilitate the sale, but there is no need for a consumer to visit one before ordering.
While the price of a Model 3 is lower than it once was, Tesla’s most popular vehicle is still more expensive than similar ICE models from other manufacturers.
As the company continues to innovate and the EV revolution takes hold, the price of Tesla’s products will likely continue to decrease.
Unlike most other car companies, the price one sees on a Tesla vehicle is the price one should expect to pay.
There are no hidden fees added on and since Tesla Store staff earn salaries, there are no discounts or aggressive tactics one normally associates with commission-driven salespeople.
Tesla does not tend to use traditional advertising channels such as television, magazine, radio, or even YouTube (at least not directly).
Instead, the company relies on a masterful public relations strategy.
This is particularly obvious whenever a new model is released, with consumers flocking to social media to discuss test drives, vehicle tech, and various other geeky topics not unlike an Apple smartphone fan.
What’s more, many consumers are just proud to be Tesla owners and feel compelled to show off their vehicles in a video.
Elon Musk also contributes to promotion on occasion via the publicity he drums up on Twitter.
One tweet in 2018 featured a photo of a Tesla Roadster in orbit around the Earth attached to one of the company’s Falcon rockets.
As the movement behind electric vehicles grows, so too must Tesla’s infrastructure.
It may come as no surprise that Tesla owns and operates the largest charging network in the world with over 35,000 so-called “Superchargers” able to recharge a vehicle in 15 minutes.
Tesla’s aforementioned Stores and even the Model 3 also represent the company’s carefully curated branding, logo, and customer experience.
Elon Musk is undoubtedly the face of the Tesla brand, but many individuals work behind the scenes from assembly line personnel to more customer-facing roles in Tesla Stores.
Staff are trained at Tesla START, an intensive 14 to 16-week program where they develop technical expertise via various theoretical and practical exercises.
Tesla devotes more resources to battery manufacturing than any other competitor and, at one point in 2018, was producing 60% of all EV vehicles around the world.
This devotion means the company can produce batteries more cheaply than it could by outsourcing to a third party.
Once a consumer takes delivery of their vehicle, Tesla also has well-established systems in place to ensure they get the most out of their purchase.
Topics include Tesla app setup, accessing the vehicle, charging the vehicle, learning the vehicle’s various proprietary features, and additional resources such as video tutorials and live education sessions.
McDonald’s 7Ps Marketing Case Study
Now that we’ve taken a look at Tesla, let’s repeat the process for McDonald’s.
McDonald’s is well known for its burgers, fries, wraps, shakes, children’s meals, desserts, and coffee.
Most of these products (and combinations thereof) are fast food items and the company retains many of its iconic meals today.
While the McDonald’s menu has evolved to include healthier items over recent years, the experience of visiting a restaurant – which could also be considered a product – has remained more or less the same.
McDonald’s restaurants are beacons around the world with their distinctive Golden Arches which were incorporated into the company’s logo in 1962.
Each restaurant is adapted to the customs, cultures, food preferences, and laws of the region or country in which it operates.
The company has also released an app that allows consumers to order food across any one of five channels: front counter, kiosk, delivery, drive-thru, and the mobile app itself.
McDonald’s is one of the cheapest retailers in the crowded fast-food market, with even its most “gourmet” products relatively affordable.
The prices of menu items in restaurants can differ based on unique characteristics such as product demand, customer traffic patterns, and the store’s trading hours.
Pricing is also influenced by services such as drive-thru and the presence of a McCafé.
The company uses TV advertising to build its brand with campaigns designed to elicit an emotional connection and improve memory recall.
McDonald’s also utilizes out-of-home (OOH) advertising near stores such as bus stops, subways, and billboards. This targets consumers in places where they are more likely to be in the mood for fast food.
In-store promotions include the Saver Menu (known as the Loose Change Menu in some countries) where customers can purchase menu items for as little as a dollar or two.
McDonald’s restaurants and their Golden Arches are found all over the world.
Many are found in odd locations such as within the naval base at Guantanamo Bay and the inside of a decommissioned aircraft in Taupo, New Zealand.
Brand colors are heavily repeated across the company’s food packaging and uniforms, with Happy Meal toys also serving as physical evidence that connects kids and adults to fond memories of eating in McDonald’s restaurants.
McDonald’s has a world-renowned training program that ensures employees embody and adhere to brand values.
These employees, which the company calls “crew members”, number around 2 million and are responsible for food preparation, customer service, and the maintenance of strict food and hygiene standards.
McDonald’s also relies on people to manage its restaurants and increase brand awareness, with around 93% of the 38,000 locations around the world run by franchisees.
McDonald’s is a master of process and has developed numerous efficient procedures that dictate how food is ordered, prepared, served, and delivered.
These processes are supported by a vertically integrated supply chain, and, as we touched on above, methodical employee training.
- The 7 Ps of marketing describes the ideal marketing mix consisting of the following elements: product, price, place, promotion, physical evidence, people, and process.
- The 7 Ps of marketing is a modern adaptation of the 4 Ps of marketing. The latter was developed in the 1960s when businesses were product-focused and devoted less time to customer service.
- The 7 Ps of marketing enables businesses to meet the needs and wants of their target audience. The model remains relevant today as marketing trends shift predominantly online.
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