Before there were seven pillars of marketing, there were only four: product, price, promotion and place. These are the OGs of marketing mix pillars.
Three pillars were added to this model way back in the 1980s. A pair of academics felt that the first four pillars were only considering the marketing of products and should encompass the marketing of both products and services.
Pretty insightful of those two. Fast forward three decades and sales of services is growing at an exponential rate.
What are the three new additions? People, Processes and Physical Evidence.
When combined with the four components of marketing mix, these additions are known as the Extended Marketing Mix.
Marketing Mix vs. Extended Marketing Mix: What’s the Difference?
Themarketing mix pillars work together to support decision-making for marketing strategy and activities. These pillars determine where your brand excels, and where there is room for improvement.
The four original marketing mix pillars are:
- Product: what your company sells.
- Place: where you sell to customers. In other words, what is the preferred method of shopping for your target audience? Website? Or brick-and-mortar shop?
- Price: how much at what price you need to sell in order to meet revenue goals while maintaining a competitive advantage.
- Promotion: this pillar helps determine the methods that will be most effective in engaging customers.
Pretty basic, right?
Your business needs something to sell. Those products need a price, a place to be sold, and promotional strategies to effectively reach an intended audience.
Any of the four pillars can drive the others. Promotions need a product to promote, a price strategy, and places to promote the message.
Ultimately, when you select any pillar as a driving force, you’ll be able to easily see how the other three fit.
The New Pillars
Extended marketing is exactly what it sounds like. It’s an extension of the four original pillars. But these three relatively new pillars were developed with a focus on how the marketing of services requires a different and more customized approach.
The Harvard Business Review performed a study to investigate how to develop profitable services. They uncovered a wide variation in revenues and profits from service offerings.
- One group of companies derived up to half of their sales from services, and margins up to eight times those on product sales.
- A second group reported a very different experience: Although those companies had made significant investments in the development of services, customers proved unwilling to pay, revenues were low, and the companies barely broke even.
How these services are marketed makes a significant difference in determining the ultimately profitability derived. Hence the need for the three new pillars.
Let’s take a look at the three additions that address the difference:
There is an acronym in sales that can sometimes transfer to the marketing approach. ABC: Always be closing.
When selling a service, your marketing approach needs a major shift.
- Communicate that the people at your company are committed to putting the needs of the buyer first with an “always be helping” philosophy.
- Obviously, the people providing the service will be essential to your customers. The “always be helping” philosophy pairs well with marketing strategies to sell services because the people at your company will also serve as trust advisors and stewards of your product throughout the sales beyond and beyond.
What will your company do to delight the consumer?
The process pillar addresses how you will meet and exceed customer expectations.
Here, you must know your competition and differentiate your brand from theirs:
- Gather information by connecting with them through industry associations or other opportunities to interact.
- Check out competitor reviews to identify needs and gaps in processes that your brand can fill.
- Develop your own niche. Becoming known as a specialist in a certain area immediately sets your brand apart.
A bestselling book on influence coined the term “social proof.” The book explains that, in order to determine what is correct, most people look to what others think is correct.
This physical evidence is especially important for service providers. Because consumers have no opportunity to “test” your service, they rely heavily on the opinion of others.
Social proof for service businesses include:
- online reviews
- influencer mentions
Whether designing marketing strategies for products or services, each of the seven pillars focuses on selling who you are.
Your company is already unique, so be authentic in your messaging and you will develop trust with consumers. Use these pillars to guide you toward you own unique branding and prospects will be excited about buying from you.