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By Jon Steiert Updated on April 20, 2022

What Businesses Need to Understand About the 7 P’s of Marketing

To properly develop and refine your business’s strategy, you need to understand the 7 P’s of marketing:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Promotion
  • Place
  • People
  • Process
  • Physical Evidence

At their core, these 7 principles of your marketing mix are the building blocks you need to establish a marketing plan that will help your company achieve its objectives during a specific period of time.

Let’s break down the 7 P’s of marketing, how they affect a marketing plan and how they help you to prepare, measure, assess, address and achieve the goals you’ve set for your company.

Letter p graphic

What Is the Marketing Mix?

The marketing mix is a tool businesses and marketers use to determine the go-to-market strategy for a brand, product or service. The marketing mix originally consisted of only 4 elements known as the 4 P’s — product, price, place and promotion. These elements focused primarily on businesses operating in a B2C (business-to-consumer) industry.

Today, the term “marketing mix” includes 3 additional marketing P’s — people, process and physical evidence — covering companies operating in the B2B (business-to-business) space, as well as incorporating new technologies, measurement and other customer centricities.

  • History of the 7 P’s of Marketing

    Marketing professor and author E. Jerome McCarthy introduced the 4 P’s of marketing — product, price, promotion, place — in the early 1960s. Then-professor and -consultant, respectively, Bernard H. Booms and Mary J. Bitner in 1981 expanded the 4 P’s by 3 to become 7 parts of marketing. Adding the trio of “people, process and physical evidence”  makes the 7 P’s inclusive to the marketing mix of services-based businesses.

    The Traditional Marketing Mix

    (The 4 P’s)

    The Extended or Services Marketing Mix

    (The New Trio)

    E. Jerome McCarthy, 1960 Bernard H. Booms and Mary J. Bitner, 1981

    Product

    Price

    Promotion

    Place

    People

    Process

    Physical Evidence

Letter p going in a circle graphic

Product

Product is the combination of any goods and/or services provided by your company to your intended customer. Your task is to objectively determine whether or not the product or service you are evaluating is right for both the business and your customer. Ask yourself questions, including the following:

  • Is this product/service appropriate for our customer right now?
  • How does this compare to what our competitors offer?
  • How would I feel as a consumer interacting with this product or service?

During this stage in the 7 principles of your marketing mix, you need to anticipate and troubleshoot any and all challenges the product may face before it has been delivered to the customer.

Price

Price is the cost asked of a customer in exchange for a good or service. While your goal is to make a profit on a product or service, you need to consider the value perceived by the customer. Meeting the needs of both parties will determine how you approach this part of the P’s in your marketing strategy.

Establishing a price is a delicate balance. For example, businesses can attract new customers and increase volume by lowering prices. However, even if you reach your goal, the price decrease might also reduce the perceived value of the product, ultimately cutting into your sales volume once you raise prices again.

Be aware of — and adaptable to — the number of customer needs, market factors and industry trends that impact each pricing decision.

Promotion

Promotion is every tactic your business uses to inform consumers about your goods and services and to encourage potential customers to patronize your business. These promotional tactics include, but are not limited to, advertising through traditional media (television, radio, billboards, print and transportation media), digital media (Google, Facebook, Twitter and display advertising) and public relations.

It’s important to remember that as time goes on, the promotional tactics that bring the highest return on investment (ROI) today might not work in the future. As you work with the 7 P’s of marketing, remember that developing new promotional strategies that evolve with your market will help you generate sales, regardless of medium.

Place

Place is both the facilities you use to create and distribute a product as well as the outlets — whether brick-and-mortar stores or the web — where it is sold. There are countless places where your product can be sold.

Place is also important in the 7 P’s in the marketing mix of services. It can be the location where a service is administered, such as a mobile van for pet-grooming or a barbershop for haircuts. Place can also be your own website or a third-party site where potential customers can book your services.

People

People are the most significant element of any service or experience your company provides. In the 7 P’s of marketing, people are any human who is involved in part of the product handoff or influences the product journey. This includes your employees, contractors and subcontractors, customers — present and past — and any other consumers who could impact the public’s opinion of the product.

Customer service and user experience are integral portions of this P of marketing and can pave the way for return business.

Process

What is “process” in the 7 P’s of marketing? Anything that influences how the product is delivered, developed or directed is part of the process. Process accounts for any method of operation that gets a product from conception to the consumer, covering every element of the 7 P’s in the marketing mix.

While process may be most commonly associated with production flow, each part of your business benefits from having a proper methodology in place.

Physical Evidence

Introduced in the 1980s in the service marketing expansion of the 7 P’s, physical evidence is applicable to any type of business. Physical evidence is the look, layout and overall “feel” of where you conduct business, from your storefront to your website. It also includes other materials that are part of your branding, including your:

  • Business cards
  • Signage
  • Dinnerware at a restaurant
  • Packaging
  • Any type of receipt

When you’re working on the physical evidence stage in the 7 P’s of marketing, you can look to an example from another company, such as Target’s recognizable logo and store layouts or Starbucks’ holiday cups.  Whether you’re a manufacturing company or a grab-and-go cafe, how the consumer “remembers” you is heavily tied to physical evidence.

A woman reviews notes, possibly about the 7 Ps of marketing, on a large sheet of paper at her office.

How You Can Use the 7 P’s of Marketing

To properly apply the 7 P’s of marketing to your business and ensure the mix is appropriately balanced, ask yourself the following questions:

Product How can the business improve its products or services?
Price What changes can we make to our pricing model that would increase sales and perceived value?
Place How — and where — can we enhance our customer’s experience through new areas of distribution?
Promotion How can we augment our current combination of paid, owned and earned media?
Physical Evidence How can we reassure our customers through our employees, facilities and branding materials?
People How can we continue to improve the skills our people have to better the customer experience?
Process How can we improve the systems and methods in place to create more efficiencies and increase profitability?
Jon Steiert is a content writer focused on making business and financial information accessible to any business owner. He’s always on the lookout for fascinating stories that just haven’t been told properly.
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