What is Extended Marketing Mix
About two decades back when manufacturing dominated almost all progressive countries such as the UK, the US, France and Germany, the physical layout of production units such as factories was not very important to the end consumer because they never went inside the factory. However, today’s consumers are keen to know how goods are processed, what goes into it, how safe is the product for usage, the package, aesthetics etc besides the price of course. Today customers are becoming very demanding because of the dominance of e-commerce and retail chains in supply chain, and ever increasing substitution of products available to them.
The entire value chain is stressed to offer various facets in the product and that too for a multiple segments. Today’s customer seeks high level of presentation in the retail outlets; the retail business literally depends on visual merchandise for a perfect presentation, customers want to easily find their way around the store, and want an enjoyable shopping experience.
The importance of quality physical layout is important in a range of service providers, including: students going to college or university have far higher expectations about the quality of their accommodation, mentoring, and learning environment than in the past. As a result colleges and universities are forced pay far more attention to creating attractive learning environments, student accommodation, shops, libraries, playgrounds, bars and other facilities; which is of course good.
Air passengers expect attractive and stimulating environments, such as plush departure lounges, with activities for young children, good food on flight and efficient flight attendants.
Hair dressing and beauty salons are expected to provide pleasant waiting areas, with attractive reading materials, access to coffee for customers, good music and of course good beauty products and efficient beauticians.
While the fact is nobody likes to go to hospitals; but when they need to go patients these days expect services of five star hotels, good lounges, restaurants, helping and positive attitudes of healthcare workers, cleanliness and all under one roof services. If organizations ignore marketing, they find themselves lagging behind.
The man behind the four Ps was Jerome McCarthy. He suggested the 4 Ps classifications in 1960. McCarthy emphasized on product, price, place and promotion as the main four elements and just few about years back, Philip Kotler talked about shift from the four Ps to four Cs. He expressed in one of his interview that the 4Ps have become 4 Cs because of the customer imperative, the value challenge, and the increasing value of mega distribution. The skills and talents of the marketing manager recline in making the offer to customers in the most attractive manner. The Marketing Manager is no less than an artist; he has to proportionately add, subtract, replace, and centralize the elements of the mix – The Product; The Price; The Place and The Promotion. Hence, the marketing mix is a value-delivering tool of the marketing function.
One of the glaring challenges that most brands across the world face today is of lowering brand loyalty from the consumers. The brands are ‘commoditized’ no sooner they enter markets. At the consumer level, on one hand we are seeing an increasingly more globalised consumer – one who is tuned in almost real time to trends and aspirations across the globe. Increased access to electronic and traditional media, the Internet, and more frequently (and more adventurous) travel outside the home frontiers are some of the factors that have led to the globalization of the average consumer. At the business level, the most challenging development is consolidation across all kinds of industries – be it travel, education, health, transportation, telecommunication, banking, consumer durables, or retail. The consolidation is not limited within the traditional geographical boundaries but is increasingly becoming cross-national and cross-continent; as a result, local and national brands are struggling literally to retain their identities in the consumer’s mind share. Many brands are living a very short shelf life.
The evolution has been brought in fundamental changes to the basic Marketing mix. Where once there were 4 P’s to explain the mix, nowadays 3 more Ps have added to layer of depth.
In the late 70’s it was widely acknowledged by marketers that the Marketing Mix should be updated. This led to the creation of the Extended Marketing Mix in 1981 by Booms & Bitner which added 3 new elements to the 4 P’s. The older 4Ps and 3 more new Ps of marketing mix are extended to both tangible and intangible products.
The extended 3 Ps are as follows:
People: Organizations are reliant on the people right from shop floor to the Managing Director. Having the right people is crucial because they are as much a part of business offering as the products/services offered by the organization. The three main tasks for employee engagement are: culture, managing style, and hiring. The performance and attitude of people can result in the success or failure of a business.
Processes: The delivery of a product or service is usually done with the best of management practice. The thumb rule for success of any product is that when the customer pays for the product/service he should feel satisfied. Most competitive organizations use 6 SIGMA tool for optimizing best product output. Continuous efforts to achieve stable and predictable process results by reducing process variation. Manufacturing and business processes have characteristics that can be measured, analyzed, controlled and improved. Achieving sustained quality improvement requires commitment from the entire organization. This happens particularly from top-level management. Six Sigma project helps a clear focus on achieving measurable and quantifiable financial returns. 6 Sigma works efficiently when an increased emphasis is laid on strong and passionate management. It doesn’t give room for assumptions and guess work.
Physical Evidence: This refers to the way a product, service, and everything about the company, appears from the outside, or is perceived by the customer. The physical evidence is about packaging. It is about the presentation of an organization, person or thing in an advantageous way. In physical packaging the size, shape, color, material, UPC bar code, and label of the packaging matters as much as its aesthetics. This should be customer tested and updated when needed. It should fall in line with organization’s other product offerings as well. Packaging involves the visual layout, practical setup, and when needed for products, clear and precise installation instructions. Product liability insurance is needed in case anybody suffers any harm from the product. Engineering tests are also needed to make sure that the package can stand any break. There may also be regulatory issues to consider. Visual packaging of a tangible product can make or break a purchase. Small improvements in the packaging or external appearance of the product or service can lead to completely different responses from customers.
Is there place for 8thP? Some marketing experts are of opinion that the extended marketing mix should evolve of Productivity. It is about how well people combine resources to produce goods and services. It is about creating more from available resources, such as raw materials, labour, skills, capital equipment, land, intellectual property, managerial potential and finance. With the right combination, higher production, higher value and higher incomes can be achieved for every hour worked. Productivity helps in managing costs.
In conclusion, even after 54 years the original marketing mix cannot be ignored. It is applicable for every business every day. Jerome McCarthy’s well thought 4 Ps – Product, Price, Place and Promotion and additional 3 Ps added in 1981 by Booms & Bitner’s People, Process and Physical Evidence are the core of any business. In my opinion, the 8th P – Productivity should also be added to the extended marketing mix. And, a good marketer is the one who adapts the Ps suitably to his offering.