The 7Ps of Marketing and your Business

Customers vs Consumers:

Before we examine popular marketing frameworks, let’s remind ourselves of the difference between customers and consumers. Customers are the people who buy a product from you. Consumers are the people who use that product. Customers therefore many not be the person that consumes your product. For example, in a Business to Business (B2B) transaction a corporate professional buyer may handle the transaction for other employees to then use your product.

coffeemultiplecupsdraftSimilarly, in a Business to Customer (B2C) environment a parent may buy a toy for their child to play with. The parent is the customer and the child is the consumer. However, many times the customer is also the consumer. Another example, every time you go to the coffee shop to get your morning cup, you are both a customer and a consumer.

Origins of the Mix:

Prior to the 1960s there was no standard agreement on the components that made-up marketing. In 1960 Dr Edmund Jerome McCarthy proposed a framework that made sense to both professionals and academics. McCarthy defined the ‘marketing mix’ as having four Ps: product, price, place and promotion. His textbook Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach published in 1960 and has had several editions published over the decades since it released becoming one of the most popular books used to teach marketing.


However, some marketing practitioners believed that by the late 1970s, the 4P framework by McCarthy was very good for the making and marketing of physical products but that it wasn’t sufficient for service products and service products were becoming increasingly popular. So in 1981 Booms and Bitner suggested a 7P framework that added additional Ps: People, Process and Physical Evidence.

Helicopter view of the 7Ps of Marketing:

What does all this mean in practical terms? Let’s look at a brief definition for each of the 7Ps of marketing.

Product: this item should fit the task customers want or need it for and should be what customers are expecting to get. It should also work properly.

Place: this is where your target customer shops. It could be online, from a store or through mail order catalogues.

Price: your products and services should always represent good value for money regardless of the actual sticker price.

Promotion: uses tools to put across a company’s message to the customer in a way that the customer would most like to get that information. These tools include PR, advertising, websites, social media and personal selling.

People: all the individuals in your team that in some way interact with a customer.

Process: this is how a service is delivered to a customer and is important because the service is part of what the customer is paying for. Examples include selling haircuts, subscription computer software, tax and legal advice and restaurants.

Physical Evidence: many services include some physical elements even if most of what the customer pays for is intangible. For example, an insurance company gives their customer some sort of printed policy document to explain coverage.  Even if this printed policy document arrives as a PDF, the customer is still getting a ‘physical product’.

This is a lot to consider when putting your marketing plans together but stronger marketing plans weave all these elements together. In our next blog we’ll take a closer look at the 5th P of marketing or ‘People’ and share why it is such an integral element to consider from the beginning of your marketing efforts.