The choice of tools when creating a marketing plan depends on many factors: goals of marketing strategy, specifics of goods and industry, market conditions, capabilities of the company.
Marketers “mix” working tools in different ways, taking into account the influence of external and internal conditions. However, there are ready-made models of the marketing mix that can be used as a basis for developing a marketing strategy.
The basic model of the marketing mix and its elements
In order to simplify and systematize the selection of promotional tools, American marketers Neil Borden and E.D. McCarthy in the second half of the XX-th century have developed a basic model of a marketing mix – 4P.
This model includes four elements: product, price, place, distribution, promotion. For each of them a plan of action is developed in order to solve marketing tasks of the company.
All four main elements of the marketing mix should be interconnected to form a single, easily controllable concept of product development in the market.
Extended marketing mix models and their elements
As the market and technology have evolved, the basic model of the marketing mix has evolved and improved.
Extended marketing mix models have emerged that encompass new levels of consumer interaction.
The 5P model. In addition to the four main components, in this model there is one more element – people. The emergence of the 5P model is associated with the increasing complexity of the relationship between companies and consumers.
In today’s world, it is not enough to offer a well-publicized product in an accessible location at an attractive price. The relationship between the seller and the buyer, between business partners, between the company and society comes to the fore.
As part of a marketing strategy, the people element is most significant for companies that provide B2B services.
In addition to comprehensive work with personnel, people element management in the marketing mix includes all tools that help improve the relationship with consumers. For example, collaboration with opinion leaders among customers (brand ambassadors, bloggers, experts), loyalty programs for regular and important customers (VIP-service, brand club memberships), digital communications and other tools for getting feedback.
7P Model. The 7P model includes two additional elements – process and physical evidence (physical embodiment, environment). Thus, the extended model of the marketing mix of 7P consists of seven components: product, price, place, promotion, process, physical evidence.
The process element (process) characterizes the procedure for providing a service or concluding a transaction, the order of interaction between company representatives and consumers. The purpose of this direction is to form the most comfortable conditions for customers.
To improve the service process, marketing uses customer surveys, additional employee training programs, develops standards and rules of service provision, and introduces digital services to speed up procedures.
The element of physical evidence (physical embodiment, environment) emphasizes the special importance of the environment in the process of providing services.
Hotels, restaurants, spas, clinics and beauty salons are the most obvious examples of how much decisions in the organization of space can affect the customer experience of interaction with the company.
The 7P model best meets the marketing management needs of service and B2B companies.
Current Marketing Mix Models
The previously considered models of the marketing mix were based on the classical elements of the marketing mix. Let’s consider other options that modern companies use.
The 4C model was developed as an alternative to the classic 4P model in the 90’s of the last century. Its author R.F. Loteborn urged to rethink the outdated, in his opinion, the concept of 4P and shift the emphasis in marketing planning from the idea of improving the product to the fullest satisfaction of customer needs.
The model includes four key elements of marketing strategy:
- Cost (customer costs)-the material, time and moral costs consumers incur in purchasing a product or receiving a service.
- Customer needs and wants – the needs of the target audience that the company can best meet in order to sell its product.
- Convenience – the choice of sales channels that are most convenient for target customers.
- Communication – promotion of goods and services, based not on the manipulation of emotions of consumers, but on communication with them. The task of marketing in the field of promotion – to conduct an open dialogue with the customer, to respond to his needs, to learn and take into account his opinion.
SIVA model. It is essentially a variation of model 4C: also focuses marketing activity on the needs of consumers and contains similar components of the marketing mix:
- Solution – the company’s product, which is a solution to some problem of consumers, a reflection of their requests and needs.
- Information – communication with the purpose to inform consumers about the way to solve their problem, which the company can offer.
- Value – final benefit of consumers taking into account the cost of purchasing the product.
- Access – actions of the company, aimed at ensuring maximum availability of the product to quickly and easily solve the problems of consumers.