Explore our Marketing Campaign Planning Toolkit

How to use the 7Ps Marketing Mix

Author's avatar By Annmarie Hanlon 14 Apr, 2023
Essential Essential topic

What is the 7Ps Marketing Mix and how should it be used?

The marketing mix is a familiar marketing strategy tool, which as you will probably know, was traditionally limited to the core 4Ps of Product, Price, Place and Promotion. It is one of the top 3 classic marketing models according to a poll on Smart Insights.

It's an essential part of a marketing plan structure that defines the tactics to be used to implement the marketing strategy.

The traditional 7Ps of marketing consist of:

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

Who created the 7Ps marketing mix model?

The 7Ps marketing model was originally devised by E. Jerome McCarthy and published in 1960 in his book Basic Marketing. A Managerial Approach. 

We've created the graphic below so you can see the key elements of the 7Ps marketing mix. More details are provided in the next visual.

The 4Ps vs The 7Ps

The 4Ps marketing mix was designed at a time when businesses were more likely to sell products, rather than services. The 4 Ps represented an early focus on product marketing, when the role of customer service in helping brand development wasn't so well known.

Over time, Booms and Pitner added three extended ‘service mix P’s': Participants or People, Physical evidence, and Processes. Later 'Participants' was renamed as 'People' - the marketing mix covering marketers, customer service reps, recruitment, culture, training and remuneration.

Today, it's recommended that the full 7 elements of the marketing mix are considered when reviewing competitive strategies - across product, customer service and more.

The 7Ps helps companies to review and define key issues that affect the marketing of its products and services. A popular marketing model, the marketing mix is can also be referred to as the 7Ps framework for the digital marketing mix.

In Dave Chaffey's book: Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice, this model was refreshed and applied to online channels to give a practical approach which works well for multichannel businesses.

An eighth P, ‘Partners’ is often recommended for businesses to gain reach online (first mentioned in Digital mMarketing Excellence by Dave Chaffey and PR Smith although some would argue it's part of Place). 

How can I use this marketing model?

Although it's sometimes viewed as dated, we believe the 4Ps are an essential strategy tool to select their scope and is particularly useful for small businesses. For startups reviewing price and revenue models today, using the Business Model Canvas for marketing strategy is a great alternative since it gives you a good structure to follow.

Companies can also use the 7Ps model to set objectives, conduct a SWOT analysis and undertake competitive analysis. It's a practical framework to evaluate an existing business and work through appropriate approaches whilst evaluating the marketing mix elements.

What are the 7Ps of marketing?

  1. Products/Services: How can you develop your products or services
  2. Prices/Fees: How can we change our pricing model
  3. Place/Access: What new distribution options are there for customers to experience our product, e.g. online, in-store, mobile etc
  4. Promotion: How can we add to or substitute the combination within paid, owned and earned media channels
  5. Physical Evidence: How we reassure our customers, e.g. impressive buildings, well-trained staff, great website
  6. Processes: Are there internal process barriers in the way to delivering the best customer value
  7. People: Who are our people and are there skills gaps
  8. Partners: Are we seeking new partners and managing existing partners well?

An example of a company using the 7Ps marketing mix in their strategy

Take a look at HubSpot as an example, which was founded in 2006; Hubspot now boasts over 86,000 total customers in more than 120 countries. Comprised of Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub, CMS Hub, and a powerful free CRM, HubSpot adds value for customers in every aspect of the 7Ps.

What does an example of a successful marketing mix look like?

This is a top-level overview; you would take this into greater detail and ask the following questions:

1. Products/Services: Integrated toolset for SEO, blogging, social media, website, email and lead intelligence tools.

2.  Prices/Fees: Subscription-based monthly, Software-As-Service model based on number of contacts in database and number of users of the service.

3. Place/Access: Online! Network of Partners, Country User Groups.

4. Promotion: Directors speak at events, webinars, useful guides that are amplified by SEO. Social media advertising, e.g. LinkedIn.

5. Physical Evidence: Consistent branding across communications.

6. Processes: More sales staff are now involved in conversion.

7: People: Investment in online services.

8. Partners: Hubspot looks to form partnerships with major media companies such as Facebook and Google plus local partners including Smart Insights who it is collaborating with on research in Europe.

What to watch for

When using the 7Ps as a model to conduct a marketing audit, I look at each of the Ps. It’s unwise to ignore an area unless it is completely outside your control.

We are now seeing AI and machine learning techniques informing more developed Marketing Mix Modeling techniques such as regression and forecasting. Note that this is different to the different elements of the marketing mix described in this article and focuses more on the mix of budget investment in different media.

9Ps of marketing?

As the scope of marketing continues to develop, so does the marketing mix. Since 2007, Larry Londre's 9Ps of marketing has included:

  • Planning, Process or Marketing Process
  • People/Prospects/Potential Purchasers/Purchasers (Target Market)
  • Product
  • Price/Pricing
  • Place/Distribution
  • Promotion
  • Partners/Strategic Alliances
  • Presentation

Original References and sources of 7Ps marketing mix

Bitner, M. J. and Booms, H. (1981). Marketing Strategies and Organization: Structure for Service Firms. In Donnelly, J. H. and George, W. R. (Eds). Marketing of Services, Conference Proceedings. Chicago, IL. American Marketing Association. p. 47- 52.

McCarthy, E. J. (1964). Basic Marketing. Richard D. Irwin. Homewood, IL.

Author's avatar

By Annmarie Hanlon

Annmarie Hanlon PhD is an academic and practitioner in strategic digital marketing and the application of social media for business. Dr Hanlon has expertise in the strategic application of social media for business and the move from digitization, to digitalization and digital transformation for business. Her expertise spans consumer touch points, online customer service, the use of reviews, the role of influencers, online engagement and digital content. You can follow her update on Twitter https://twitter.com/annmariehanlon

Recommended Blog Posts