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The modern marketing mix

Go beyond the 4 Ps of marketing - find out more about the modern marketing mix.

During the late 1970s, marketers acknowledged that the marketing mix should be updated, which led to the creation of the Extended Marketing Mix in 1981 by Booms and Bitner. [1]

They added three new elements to the 4 Ps, allowing the marketing mix to include products that are services. These new elements were:

  • People
  • Process
  • Physical evidence

Graphic shows an overview of the traditional elements of the marketing mix with additional new ones. These elements are product, price, place, promotion, people, process and physical evidence.

People

People play an essential role in the service delivery of the marketing mix. They are integral for delivering and maintaining this transactional marketing and play an important role in customer relationships.

Find out who your ‘people’ are by asking questions such as:

  • Who is directly or indirectly involved in your customer’s journey. They could be:
    • customers and prospective customers
    • employees
    • third-parties (re-sellers, contractors).
  • Who is delivering or providing the service or product?

What does this mean in our modern context?

Your customers and prospects are interacting with your brand, service, or product through different platforms, including digital touchpoints. Some of these platforms offer human or AI contact (e.g. email, social media, website, or live chat). It’s good to be aware of these touchpoints from the perspective of your customer’s journey.

Consider the following:

  • Is the tone of voice consistent throughout the touchpoints?
  • Are communications recorded in a central repository?
  • Are you using real people or chatbots?
  • Do customers have a primary point of contact at your company?
  • Can customers access your product or service online? Where is the portal?

Process

Process is the activities, protocols, and procedures by which products and services are delivered to your customer. What steps does the customer take to receive the final product or service?

The process varies, depending on what you’re selling. For example, in the context of e-commerce marketing, it’s essential to manage customer expectations. When they complete a purchase, you’ll need to inform them about the delivery schedule, send them a tracking number, share the final billing information, and offer them an easy returns/refunds process if they’re not satisfied. You should also inform them of customer service options.

3. Physical evidence

Physical evidence is an element of the physical environment that a customer experiences during the decision-making and buying processes.

This also applies in digital environments:

  • Online reviews are the best example of physical evidence online. Comparison travel sites such as TripAdvisor use physical evidence from customer reviews to gain a competitive edge.
  • Social media influencers review and promote your brand and product(s).
  • Positive customer experiences result in customers writing reviews and promoting your brand and product(s) on social media.

The layout and design of your brand’s digital space (including ambience, ease of access, and ease of use) have become essential considerations. Here are some considerations for enhancing a customer’s experience on your e-commerce site:

  • Is the information laid out clearly on your website?
  • Is it easy to navigate and find options?
  • What ‘calls to action’ do you have on your website?
  • Is contact information readily available?
  • Where is traffic coming from?
  • Is your content optimised for search engines?
  • Can you be found organically?

Next, you’ll explore how to apply the 7 Ps to a digital marketing strategy.

References

  1. Baalbaki, Y. History of Marketing Mix from the 4P’s to the 7P’s. LinkedIn. 4 November, 2015. Available from: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/history-marketing-mix-from-4ps-7ps-yousef-baalbaki/
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Fundamentals of Digital Marketing

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