3.1 Returning to the Ps
The seven Ps, or ‘marketing mix’, have been presented as a series of dimensions on which one might vary a product or service. Getting the right mix means engaging customers and matching the mix at different stages of your enterprise and product/service development. In early phases you might work with customers to get the product right, to provide physical evidence of the quality or the process, to get the people element right and establish the optimum price. For example, imagine you open a sandwich shop surrounded by offices and other similar eateries. If the value you offer is the same as all the others (i.e. no discernible differences in the quality of food, service or environment) then your price may need to be competitive. If you are an artisan baker selling sandwiches, then price might be a less dominant factor than fresh bread baked on the premises using traditional recipes and locally sourced fillings.
Activity 5 Differentiating your enterprise from the rest
Which Ps are dominant for your enterprise? Run through the seven Ps and think how you could positively differentiate your offer from others in relation to each of them. Once you have done this, try to think where you want to be in the short term (a year), medium term (five years) and long term (ten years), and how your focus may switch.
Unless your aim is to situate yourself in a particular niche or occupy the same position for the next ten years, then as you shift from introducing a product through to mature markets, moving from early adopters to mainstream markets, different aspects of the seven Ps will be accentuated at different stages. For example, those areas that are not considered price sensitive may become so. At some point if you set a price that is your cost plus a margin, this may no longer be appropriate as you seek to maximise your market share and take it from competitors. Also consider how you might expand and control costs to grow, while maintaining the value you offer to your customer. You can begin to see how marketing cuts across all aspects of an enterprise. The course returns to these questions later.