With the service industry growing exponentially, the marketing mix also had to encompass these changes. The 4Ps of the marketing mix became 7Ps. The marketing mix is the set of controllable tactical marketing tools that the organisation implements to get the desired response from the consumer (Kotler and Armstrong 2010).
Now in simpler words, imagine you have to make a cake. The final cake can turn out to be the way you want--by altering the ingredients you put in it. The marketing mix works the same way.
Let’s understand the 7 Ps of the marketing services mix and take the fast-food chain, McDonald’s as an example.
This is the product or service that the company is selling. It includes the features and benefits the customer will get on using the product. It needs to have all the attributes that the customer wants. The company, to design the best-suited product, conducts thorough market research about the consumer’s tastes and preferences. This research-based approach ensures that the company manufactures a product that will sell itself. McD offers a standard set of products over the globe, of course with some local adaptations. For instance, a vegetarian menu in India, Halal meat in Muslim countries, etc. Despite this, the experience and the products largely remain the same.
This involves the pricing strategy decided for the product. This needs to be evaluated carefully keeping the consumers and their buying habits in mind. The company needs to understand how much customers would be willing to pay for the product/service. They also need to include all the overhead and advertising costs, profit margins, production cost, other costs, etc. Some manufacturers even give steep discounts on the product launch to attract mass customers. McD prices its offerings differently as per the nations it is present in, and price varies as per the demand, currencies, competition, and the costs.
The place is where the products or services are distributed to the customer and made accessible to them. Product placement makes a lot of difference. The company needs to make sure their product/service is reaching the target customer on time. Companies often try to put visual merchandising techniques into practice to set themselves apart and create a competitive advantage. A right location is very crucial for the product to perform. McD is present in 120 countries as of 2018, as strategic expansion helps the food chain grow.
The product and the service need to be marketed to reach the customers via the proper channels. The features and benefits need to be communicated to the customer so that they will buy it when they feel it’s necessary. These activities involve advertising, sales promotion, branding, PR, digital marketing, influencer marketing, exhibitions and events, etc. In the case of McD, they make TV ads and print out brochures in newspapers whenever there is a new food item launched.
The process refers to the steps involved in the delivery of the product/service to the customer. These steps will decide the customer’s experience of the product. If the companies have good processes in place, it will increase their efficiency and save time and costs. These processes may include delivery time, waiting time, transit time, customer support, etc. The companies should make it a point to have processes in place even after the product is sold. McD pays careful attention to its food-making process. There are a lot of protocols to be followed which are standard across all outlets. The defined processes make it easier for the entire process of food preparation, to the delivery.
People are the backbone of any product success. They form the staff and salespersons who work for the company. The company’s staff gove out a solid brand image especially the staff at the counters, the salespersons, the service providers. The product may be top-notch, but if the people aren’t right, the marketing mix will fail. Hence it is essential the organisation recruits the right talent. McD employs people with careful scrutiny and trains them all as per their American origin standards. They also promote employees for motivation.
Evidence constitutes the environment. It refers to everything that the customers see when they interact with the product or service. Product packaging, design, shop interiors, branding, etc. Have you seen the costliest jewellery is always placed in boxes in the jewellery store and not for any customer to touch and feel instantly, kids’ chocolates have colourful wrappers, etc. This is the environment which is necessary for the product experience to be consistent. McD’s physical environment is family-friendly, with a clown present in every location for the kids to play with. Kids’ meals have toys and all services are always done with a smile. This is done across the globe to ensure a consistent customer experience.