Minding Your "P's"

Almost anyone who has taken a business marketing course has learned about the so-called “Four P’s” of marketing – product, price, promotion, and place. It’s worth another look at the “P’s,” because they can also be used to build your understanding of net customer value and ultimately, your net customer value proposition or position.

Those in the services business, or who added a significant service component to a product, revisited the four P’s and turned them into 7 P’s, which includes the traditional 4Ps plus Process, People and Physical evidence, the last being the sensory environment of a facility or even a communication being delivered. The last 3 “Ps” represent the systemic vision from the marketing point of view,

Now, services marketing academics and experts from the sector have recently added an 8th P. From Lovelock and Wirtz’ Service Marketing: People, Technology, Strategy (6th edition, Pearson International, 2007) we now have 8 “Ps” of services marketing, defined as follows:

[NL]Product elements – the core and periphery service elements at the centre of the company’s marketing strategy;

[NL]Place and Time – delivering product elements to customers can be done physically and/or electronically, depending upon the service. Speed and convenience are essential to the customer and are important value-adds;

[NL]Price and Other User Outlays – money is only a part of what customers may part with when purchasing a service; one must also consider time and convenience;

[NL]Promotion and Education – speaks for itself, but the marketer must make sure communications not only provide information, but also persuade the customer of the service’s relevance to the customer’s particular ‘problem’;

[NL]Process – the means by which the firm delivers product elements;

[NLPhysical Environment – the appearance of the place where the services are delivered may have a significant impact upon whether the service was satisfactory;

[NL]People – front-line staff will have a direct impact on perceptions;

[NL]Productivity and Quality – improving productivity is a requisite in cost management; but quality, as defined by the customer, is essential a service that differentiates itself from other providers.

Mind your 8 P’s, and you’ll be on the right track to net customer value success.