What impact does technology have on the extended marketing mix?
What are the 7 P’s of marketing and what effect does technology have on them?
With technology rapidly changing and evolving, it can be hard to keep up. The impact that technology would have on the workplace was certainly not anticipated as in the early 1940s, IBM’s CEO, Thomas J Watson, reputedly said: “I think there is a world market for about five computers.”
Technological advances can create many opportunities for businesses, but it often means changing their marketing mix e.g. to enable them to interact with customers through increasingly popular technologies such as online messaging and digital advertising.
The marketing mix (first introduced by McCarthy in the 1960 book called Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach), includes multiple areas of focus as part of a comprehensive marketing plan. The term often refers to a common classification that began as the four Ps: product, price, placement, and promotion. However, in 1981 Booms and Bitner created the extended marketing mix which added another three Ps: physical evidence, people and process. The extended marketing mix is more suitable for services marketing and online services.
Let’s have a look at the individual elements of the marketing mix and assess the impact of technology on each of them:
This factor decides the pricing strategy for each product/service. After the emergence of the digital world, competition among organisations has increased rapidly. Competitor information is more easily accessible and more transparent for consumers, so it has become essential for a business to strategize the pricing of their product or services. A business needs to understand what their online consumers are expecting from them and how much they are likely to pay for the value of their product.
Product characteristics play a major role in the successful marketing of a product, however, on the internet, a consumer cannot see the products in their real form. Therefore, the form of some products is modified with the use of technology. For example, electronic books, e-tickets, digital photographs, and online bill paying are all changes in the form of traditional products.
This element in the marketing mix involves a business selecting the right product for their customer (rather than selecting the right customer for their product). With the use of the internet, many companies mass customize a wide range of products. For example, Nike and Vans offer online shoppers the opportunity to customize their shoes, such as colour and design. Other custom manufactured products include eyewear, clothing, golf clubs, bicycles, fishing rods, and CDs.
This element of the marketing mix involves analysing the different distribution options and looking for the best placement strategy to reach customers. As a result of e-commerce, there is a much wider geographical reach than was previously possible. Technology decreases transportation costs and enables the movement of people and products. The lowered costs associated with entering new markets and moving operations to new countries can create new marketing and business opportunities.
Consumers typically use the internet to reduce costs, find products otherwise unavailable, or increase their shopping convenience. Because the speed of the internet is almost immediate, customers tend to expect quick access to customer-support information regarding products, prices, and shipping options. They often also expect the speed of distribution to be fast as well and may be unwilling to wait days or weeks for product delivery. Online consumers expect ordering and payment systems to be easy and secure and also want assurance that orders will be filled immediately and that there is an easy, low-cost way to return a purchase if it does not meet their needs.
This is where a business decides how it will utilise various traditional and online media to promote its products efficiently and effectively. In traditional marketing, advertising was typically impersonal involving a one-way mass communication approach paid for by sponsors. With the internet, interactive marketing was introduced, which enables advertisers to interact with customers directly and allows information to be accessed without geographical location constraints.
The use of social media has changed how much businesses use traditional promotional activities (e.g. TV advertisements) and advertising in other media types (e.g. newspapers). Nowadays, sponsorships and social media influencers are commonly used to promote products and services. Many businesses are using social media networks, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, to promote their businesses. By simply creating an account on these networks, they can easily reach the target audience in a few days and messages can be shared within minutes.
This element involves the people behind the company- anyone directly, or indirectly, involved in the business side of the enterprise that advocates for the company and communicates the business value to their customers. Good customer service is vital in an online setting as interactions with the consumer are not physical, therefore organisations need to plan their responses and strategy of keeping their customers happy at all times. Many businesses now use chatbots on their websites to contact users directly to answer their needs. Social media also offers a great way to help customers answer their questions regarding a product.
This refers to the various elements of service experience, such as facilities, interior designs, and employee uniform. However, in an online setting, these pieces of evidence will not have a physical element to them.
Therefore, a website’s design is essential as, in most cases, it’s the most important channel for an online business. The website’s design impacts the service experiences that customers face when interacting with an online business. Customer reviews are another example of physical evidence that can be found online, and many social influencers promote and review products, which helps the customer make a decision during the buying process.
This refers to the processes involved in delivering products and services to the customer. The ‘journey’ of a user entering a website, then buying a product, and being kept informed about delivery after the transaction has been concluded, is more important than ever. Businesses may benefit from a UX (User Experience) designer to make sure that the user journey is as smooth as possible through attractive website design. Other technical aspects of a website can also affect the process of a user’s journey such as website speed, device optimisation and e-commerce optimisation.
Any business that understands the above-mentioned 7 P’s of the extended marketing mix, and the effect that technology has on these, should be able to execute their marketing activities well with the integration of digital strategies.