The 8 elements of the marketing mix in services
As we know, the classic teachings of marketing tell us that the four elements of the marketing mix (the "4Ps") are: product, price, place (or distribution) and promotion (or communication). We are aware of the extreme importance of this strategic approach for the management of marketing. But, we need to ask ourselves:
Can the classic “4Ps” approach to the marketing mix be used in service marketing?
The underlying questions are:
- Should marketing managers who manage services necessarily limit themselves to 4Ps or should they adapt this model to their specific situation and the applications that will make the model in their company and in their markets?
- What happens when in a certain situation there are key elements for success that it is practically impossible to fit into one of the four classic components?
Let's look at an example: In an investigation carried out by La Londe, cooper and Noordeweier executives were asked companies buyers of products belonging to seven strictly industrial sectors what relative importance they attributed to the different factors that they usually used to make the decision to buy a product and / or a specific brand, instead of another of the competition. The sectors investigated were: food, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, paper, electronics, and clothing / textiles. This investigation determined that these types of customers basically take into consideration four factors: the product, the price, the service and the promotion (advertising, promotion, etc.). Some of the final results of that investigation are the following:
- In all business sectors, service was considered more important than promotion (an activity in which companies invest millions of dollars). In the weighted totals, the the service received a score of 25,3%, while the promotion obtained 11,9%.
- In the automotive sector, service was the most important factor (with 35,9 percent of responses), even above product (26,1%) and price (29,3%).
- In two sectors (electronics and clothing and textiles), buyers attribute more importance to service (24,5% and 27,8%) than to price (23,8% and 20,5%).
MARKETING MIX EVOLUTION IN THE SERVICES AREA
As a result of the weaknesses identified in the classical model of the marketing mix, at present a conceptualization applied to service marketing has been reached:
Based on eight elements that make up what is known as EXTENDED MARKETING MIX.
The reason for this expansion is that:
If those responsible for a service focus all and only their attention on the classic “4Ps”, they will surely be DANGEROUSLY NEGLECTING other factors and elements that are, for clients, more important and decisive than the four traditional elements.
If those responsible for a service focus all and only their attention on the classic “4Ps”, surely THEY WOULD BE LIMITING THEIR OWN MANAGEMENT, negatively affecting the possibilities of achieving high levels of satisfaction among customers of the services that their companies commercialize.
And we must remember that customer satisfaction is the path that leads directly to market share (there is no other path in services).
THE EXPANDED MARKETING MIX
The version of the marketing mix that is applied in services is called extended because it uses the four classic components, but also includes four other elements that:
They are decisive in the service sector and, consequently, require individualized, constant and precise treatment and attention.
|We refer to:
In service marketing, these four elements must be considered as independent components of the marketing mix in order to give them very special attention.
The reason for the inclusion of the four additional elements is that:
|First||All four can be decisive in customer satisfaction.|
|Second||All four are involved in the purchasing decision processes of customers.|
|Third||All four can be used to differentiate one basic service from another and, consequently, can be a source of significant competitive advantages.|
|Fourth||All four can be used to increase the value perceived by customers, which increases the probability of acceptance of the services marketed by the company.|
In summary, the expanded marketing mix is based on the following eight elements and hence its name "8Ps model":
- BASE PRODUCT / SERVICE
- DISTRIBUTION (PLAZA)
- DELIVERY / DELIVERY
- COMMUNICATION (PROMOTION)
- PHYSICAL EVIDENCES
SUB-COMPONENTS OF THE “8PS”
In lists that we include only as an indication (not exhaustive), the sub-components that intervene in each of the eight elements of the extended model are the following:
As can be seen, any of the elements included in the extended version of the marketing mix that is applied in the services can have a positive or negative impact on the perception of customers. If this impact is negative, due to carelessness, ignorance or because those responsible do not pay the proper individual attention to it, the consequences can be disastrous for the market success of the service in question. Hence the great danger involved in limiting oneself to considering only the four classical elements. (Never fall into that trap!)