Marketing Theories – The Marketing Mix – From 4 Ps to 7 Ps
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Marketing is a continually evolving discipline and as such can be one that companies find themselves left very much behind the competition if they stand still for too long. One example of this evolution has been the fundamental changes to the basic Marketing mix. Where once there were 4 Ps to explain the mix, nowadays it is more commonly accepted that a more developed 7 Ps adds a much needed additional layer of depth to the Marketing Mix with some theorists going even going further.
Before we get carried away though what is the Marketing Mix and what is the original 4 Ps principle?
The Marketing Mix
Simply put the Marketing Mix is a tool used by businesses and Marketers to help determine a product or brands offering. The 4 Ps have been associated with the Marketing Mix since their creation by E. Jerome McCarthy in 1960 (You can see why there may have been some need to update the theory).
The Marketing Mix 4 Ps:
- Product - The Product should fit the task consumers want it for, it should work and it should be what the consumers are expecting to get.
- Place – The product should be available from where your target consumer finds it easiest to shop. This may be High Street, Mail Order or the more current option via e-commerce or an online shop.
- Price – The Product should always be seen as representing good value for money. This does not necessarily mean it should be the cheapest available; one of the main tenets of the marketing concept is that customers are usually happy to pay a little more for something that works really well for them.
- Promotion – Advertising, PR, Sales Promotion, Personal Selling and, in more recent times, Social Media are all key communication tools for an organisation. These tools should be used to put across the organisation’s message to the correct audiences in the manner they would most like to hear, whether it be informative or appealing to their emotions.
In the late 70’s it was widely acknowledged by Marketers that the Marketing Mix should be updated. This led to the creation of the Extended Marketing Mix in 1981 by Booms & Bitner which added 3 new elements to the 4 Ps Principle. This now allowed the extended Marketing Mix to include products that are services and not just physical things.
The extended 7 Ps:
- People – All companies are reliant on the people who run them from front line Sales staff to the Managing Director. Having the right people is essential because they are as much a part of your business offering as the products/services you are offering.
- 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 – Almost all services include some physical elements even if the bulk of what the consumer is paying for is intangible. For example a hair salon would provide their client with a completed hairdo and an insurance company would give their customers some form of printed material. Even if the material is not physically printed (in the case of PDFs) they are still receiving a “physical product” by this definition.
Though in place since the 1980’s the 7 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.
Is there an 8th P?
In some spheres of thinking, there are 8 Ps in the Marketing Mix. The final P is Productivity and Quality. This came from the old Services Marketing Mix and is folded in to the Extended Marketing Mix by some marketers so what does it mean?
The 8th P of the Marketing Mix:
- Productivity & Quality - This P asks “is what you’re offering your customer a good deal?” This is less about you as a business improving your own productivity for cost management, and more about how your company passes this onto its customers.
Even after 31 years (or 54 in the case of the original P’s) the Marketing Mix is still very much applicable to a marketer’s day to day work. A good marketer will learn to adapt the theory to fit with not only modern times but their individual business model.
Want to learn more?
Professional Academy's Marketing Theories Explained is a video series that explains marketing models in more detail. Watch the recording for the Marketing Mix to see CIM tutor, Professional Academy trainer and all-round marketing pro Peter Sumpton talk about the model and how it can be used in practice.
At Professional Academy the Marketing Mix is used across all of our marketing qualifications and first taught as part of the CIM Foundation Certificate in Professional Marketing but every level of qualification there are nods back to the Marketing Mix P’s in some way, shape or form. This makes them key knowledge for any marketer to be used alongside other marketing theories such as SWOT Analysis, PESTEL Theory, the Boston Consulting Group Matrix and Stakeholder Mapping.
For more information on the Professional Academy’s Marketing Qualifications please download a Prospectus today.
For more in-depth information on the Marketing Mix you can download this Free CIM Guide to Marketing and the 7 P’s.
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