There is a model businesses can use to regularly evaluate their business activities. This strategy was originally devised by E. Jerome McCarthy and published in his book Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach. This marketing mix is often referred to as the 7Ps of Marketing. It consists of:
Business needs change rapidly, especially in today’s world. That’s why it’s so important to revisit the 7Ps regularly to ensure you’re achieving your goals in the most effective and streamlined way. Let’s dive into how you can use the 7Ps for your business.
Whether it’s physical products, digital products, professional services, SaaS, or anything in between–it’s crucial to look at your product from an outsider’s perspective. Ask yourself if your company is in the right business at the right time. Are your existing products and services suitable for consumers in today’s market? Are you innovating and improving? Are you becoming outdated?
Sometimes the answers can be difficult to face, but doing so can ensure you make the right decisions and pivots as the market changes. This can help you stay ahead of the curve instead of falling to the wayside as the market evolves.
Pricing is another factor you need to continually consider within your business. Sometimes, market changes will require you to lower your costs; and other times, material costs may increase, forcing you to raise prices to maintain your profits.
Too often, companies don’t want to raise prices when it’s appropriate to do so for fear of losing a portion of their customer base, so they instead take the hit on their profit margins. While this can be effective for temporary cost increases, it’s not sustainable for business. This method often results in brands dropping a product from the line, or worse, going out of business because they can’t maintain a solid profit margin.
Alternatively, innovation can often drive down costs for an industry as a whole. If your competitors are leveraging new technologies that allow them to drive down costs and pass those savings on to the consumer, it will directly impact your customer base and pricing.
These are all reasons to keep a close eye on your pricing strategy for your business. Doing so allows you to leverage innovation when available and control the impact of cost increases before becoming detrimental to your company. By analyzing your costs and price points, you may even be able to innovate at a rate faster than the rest of your industry, making you an industry leader, capturing a larger segment of the market.
By monitoring all the factors that go into your price model, you’re able to stay competitive, survive a fast-paced market, and possibly even become an industry leader through innovation.
The third factor in our 7Ps of marketing strategy is promotion. Promotion refers to all the ways you communicate with consumers and customers about your products or services. This may be direct or indirect.
Changes, even small ones, in how you promote your products and services can lead to drastic changes in your business–directly impacting your bottom line.
Changes to the way you promote your brand on social media, email marketing, advertising, etc. can lead to dramatic changes in your results. Utilizing experienced copywriters can often increase your conversions rate by leaps and bounds. We’ve seen dramatic differences in ad performance by simply changing the headline or creative design of a specific ad.
With the innovations in digital advertising, it’s easier than ever for companies large and small in various industries to continually experiment and improve upon their advertising and promotion efforts. However, as innovations continue, it’s essential to monitor your options, your messaging, and your methods of promotion to ensure you’re optimizing your efforts.
The fourth P stands for ‘place,’ referring to the location your product or service is sold. Sometimes that’s a physical brick and mortar store; sometimes it’s online, often it’s both.
For this reason, it’s important to develop a habit of continually reviewing these locations from a customer’s perspective. What is the experience like? Are there things that feel uncomfortable or are frustrating? How can you alleviate those issues?
Whether you’re selling at trade shows, a physical store, an office, or leveraging modern selling tactics by utilizing social influencers and social selling through independent representatives or consultants, always evaluate how you can improve the place(s) customers engage with and purchase from you. Better experiences lead to longer-lasting customer relationships.
The fifth element of the marketing mix strategy is that you should regularly stand back and take a look at your packaging. This goes beyond a box or label but includes every visual element surrounding the packaging. If you’re offering services, this may refer to your sales tools, brochures, flyers, etc. If you’re offering physical products, this may mean everything from the product tag, additional inserts, all the way to the box it’s shipped in.
People form first impressions within 30 seconds of seeing any element of your brand. Improvements to the external appearance of your product can lead to very different reactions to your customers.
You might consider testing different colors based on color psychology and other messaging and typography. Humans are emotional beings, and all of these elements evoke a positive or negative emotion that formulates that first impression. So, make it count, and make it as close to perfect as you can. Then, don’t be afraid to reiterate as the market changes to stay fresh and appealing to your audience.
Concerning the packaging of your company, your product or service, you should think in terms of everything that the customer sees from the first moment of contact with your company all the way through the purchasing process.
The sixth element we’re looking at is positioning. Positioning refers to how you position your company in the hearts and minds of consumers. Being intentional with your positioning can prevent unwanted negative impressions consumers may have. Continually evaluating your positioning will help you detect issues before they become cultural issues for your company.
Evaluate your brand’s positioning by asking yourself and your customers what they think about your brand. How do they talk about your company when they’re with friends and family? What specific words and phrases do consumers use when referring to your company? All of this information has to do with positioning.
Positioning is a critical element of a strong brand, and when left unchecked, it can be extremely detrimental to a brand.
The final element of the marketing mix is people. This refers to the people inside and outside your company responsible for the marketing strategy, customer interactions, management style, and the overall culture of the brand.
It’s essential to have people who are on board with the clear vision you’ve set forth for the company, who are willing to walk out the company’s core values in their everyday tasks and interactions with the community around them, both inside and outside the business.
Make sure you don’t just have the right people in the company, but make sure they’re in the right positions–the positions they thrive in, the positions they’re passionate about, the positions they’re good at. This doesn’t just ensure a higher level of productivity but also boosts morale overall. When people love what they do, they go the extra mile. When people are excited about the work as a whole, they become brand ambassadors.
Make it a habit to always be checking in with your team of people. Ask questions like, “What’s preventing you from doing your best work?” Create a culture where people feel valued and appreciated, and able to speak the truth when you do ask those questions. Train your key team leaders and managers to lead their teams in that same way. Doing so makes sure you’ve got the right people in the right place, happily carrying out the work, and ultimately–the vision of the company.