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Sunday, May 8, 2022

Service Marketing Mix 7Ps

The Marketing Mix refers to several areas of focus to be managed in harmonious conjunction with each other in order to appropriately attract and keep a brand's target market. For instance, if you changed your brand from a budget to luxury offering, each of the areas of focus will need to be managed appropriately. Most people are aware of the 4Ps that include the product, price, place and promotion. However, these 4Ps are inadequate alone when dealing with services. For this reason, the marketing mix for services (and digital information products) is extended to also include 3 other Ps, process, people and physical evidence. This post will not focus on the 4Ps. Rather, it will discuss the additional 3 Ps. Furthermore, since the mix of Ps is very production-based, I will also discuss it from a customer-centric approach as Cs (versus only Ps) as follows.

1 - Product - Customer solution
2 - Price - Cost to customer
3 - Promotion - Communication with customer
4 - Place - Convenience for customer




What are services?
Services refer to intangible deliverables. In that case, they are inseparable from their production and then are entirely perishable in that they can not be extended after their delivery. Services also do not involve the transfer of ownership. They are also heterogenous, ie they can not be mass produced. Example(s):
  • Airline flights (core service) and extended services like in-flight movies, snacks and so on
  • Amusement park rides (core services) along with extended services like restaurants.
  • consulting services (core services) with extended services like free courier of original documents 
  • education services
  • health care services
  • banking services
  • Legal services
  • Logistics
BTW. Rest assured that it is normal for marketers to find some overlapping with the service Ps and product Ps. For instance, some of the service Ps include elements from the 4Ps.

Physical evidence (or confirmation of value) of the service is the collection of signals. Do you remember how the 4Ps can be configured to trigger target audiences? For instance, the price value can signal a level of quality or be presented to psychologically trigger target audiences. Physical evidence can do the same. 

Physical evidence is anything from which your client will gather an impression of your service. The most obvious forms of evidence of what the client can expect include content you provide about your service. However, remember that evidence is from the client's perspective and can be extrinsically related to your service. For instance, a lawyer's dirty parking lot may be perceived by leads as evidence that that lawyer is disorganized and likely incompetent. Needless to say, recognizing this, a marketer can configure all of the physical evidence to signal appropriately to the target. This P is a reminder that perceptions are very important in marketing. So, in the absence of a physical product, physical evidence signals your value proposition.

In short, physical evidence can be described as signals that help, on one hand; marketers to communicate and render the service and, on the other; customers to understand and access the service. These signals are described as existing in the 
1) 'servicescape' and 
2) 'tangibles'. 

Marketers can therefore use physical evidence in several ways that include new customer acquisitiontop of sales funnel marketing and evangelism. Marketers can also use physical evidence for analysis (of the customer perceived value and how the customer acts in response to the service).

A servicecape refers to the physical environment where services are delivered and or consumed. It includes functions, ambient conditions, symbols, signage and artefacts. Common tangibles include promotional elements like brochures; correspondence elements like the letterhead; equipment; staff uniforms; online presence like websites, apps and so on.

Example(s):

  • Hotel room with expensive fixtures signals very differently to another with cheap fixtures. Needless to say, either type of fixtures should be consistent with the value proposition and the other Ps (servicescape)
  • A restaurant with a clean bathroom encourages customers to assume that the food is prepared in a clean environment, even if that is not the case. (servicescape)
  • Layout of MacDonald's production line that revolutionized the way fast food was prepared and promised efficiency (servicecape)
  • amusement park facility (servicecape. See video analysis presentation of the Universal Orlando Resort servicecape) 
  • limousine pickup (servicescape)
  • check-in desk (servicescape)
  • brochures, signage and product packaging printed with a high end finish instils confidence in clients (servicecape)
  • Past customer reviews, especially as they relate to your unique value proposition (UVP)  and or brand positioning (tangibles)
  • Websites and any promotional branding elements like the logo, packaging or any other aspect of the brand personality. (tangibles)
  • When using the services of DHL or FedEx, you expect to have free access to tracking services. (tangibles)

Process (or coordination) refers to the procedures, mechanisms and flow of activities when the business and target market interact. These processes are usually outlined within a Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) guide. Sometimes, the analysis of processes are even done visually through 'service blueprinting'. Example(s):
  • your business' sales funnel accounts for the interaction from the time a lead makes the first call to book a flight until retrieving her baggage.


People refer to the individuals, usually those who personally and directly deliver your brand's services to customers. Typically, this refers to employees, subcontractors and even evangelizing customers. Marketers often categorize people according to levels (high to low) of customer contact as it relates to the amount of time required for the interaction and communication, highly skilled people, non-professional people and support / no-contact personnel.

  • hotel staff (high-contact people)
  • customer service call center staff (low-contact people)
  • lawyer (professional people)
  • messenger (non-technical / professional people)
  • restaurant chef, laboratory technician (no-contact people)
  • Some key aspects of managing this aspect of the marketing mix include interviewingselecting and onboarding new staff.


CONTENT RELATED TO THE 7Ps OF MARKETING MIX FOR SERVICES

 

Case study: Servicecape MacDonald

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