One misconception most people have with digital marketing is that it’s a different discipline from marketing, I understand that this idea is based on the fact that digital marketing as a subject of discussion is very vast.
But the thing is Digital Marketing, which has two major channels of implementation, online marketing and offline marketing, is part of marketing in the department of business, digital marketing is simply the act of implementing activities with and through digital tools and resources.
If you are not to clear about what digital marketing is, I have written a post where I explained about digital marketing, you can go over and read it here, then come back for this post.
In this post, we will look at the topic of online marketing strategy, we will learn how to use a well-known marketing concept to create an online marketing strategy.
To be able to implement effective online marketing, one needs to understand at least some basic marketing concept.
You don’t need to apply for a degree course before you can understand marketing, understanding marketing Mix can give you a clear understanding of what marketing is all all about.
What is Marketing Mix
I was introduced to the marketing mix concept, I think within the first two lectures I received as a marketing student back in 2013.
Here is what the marketing mix is all about, it’s a framework that can be used to develop marketing strategies or plans. It’s like a guideline that you can follow to implement marketing activities with respect to products and services.
There used to be 4Ps in the marketing mix, known as 4Ps of Marketing, it was known to be created by Edmund Jerome McCarthy in 1960, that was when marketing was mainly about physical products and when marketing activities where implemented basically through traditional marketing channels (offline) but to accommodate the growing service industry and advancement of digital means, additional 3Ps were added by Booms and Bitner in 1981 to make it the mix 7Ps.
The 7Ps of Marketing
The 7Ps of marketing stands for:
- Physical evidence
Products represent what you intend to offer to the market, it’s all about what you intend to market as a marketer.
It can be physical products or services, even your ideas can also be seen as a product, for example, in a situation where there’s no physical product or service, a marketer can also sell an idea to people in form of shaping people perception about things in life, for example in the case of branding.
Price in the 7Ps deal with how and what you are going to price your product, it includes every possible pricing strategy that you can adopt.
Place talks about the geographical location of your market, like identify where your potential customers are, are they located in the international or national or local market. You will also have to consider culture, beliefs and political ideology when analysing place.
Promotion talks about how you intend to reach your potential customers, what marketing strategy are you going to use, every other Ps has to be put in place before promotion can be finalized.
People represent the workforce that is going to implement the overall marketing strategies
Process is all about how you are going to get the products and services you have decided to offer to your customers, what are the channels that can be used to reach your potential customers.
7. Physical evidence
This address the issue of where people can find you, how people sees you and what other people are saying about you, trust is the major focus here.
There are more things that can be said about each of the Ps in the marketing mix, but having this basic idea about them is enough to enable you create an online marketing strategy or plan with various aspect of marketing in check.
7Ps in relationships with Online Marketing
The Marketing Mix (7Ps) was not originally created for online marketing, it was created for marketing as a whole, but when it’s understood, it can be used to create an effective online marketing strategy or plan.
Here is how to use the 7Ps framework in creating an online marketing strategy.
First what you need to do is create 7 rows column with each Ps place in them, we will define actions to be taken in each Ps.
Product in its core nature exits to solve problems, creating a product is all about creating solutions.
There might be different processes in creating different types of products (digital or physical products) but the thing is all products, whether physical or digital can be sold online.
If you are developing an online marketing strategy for a product in a situation where you are not the creator or producer of the products, one thing you need to do is understand the product.
If you are the producer of the products you sure will know what your product is all about, but if you are not, you need to know the features, the quality and characteristic of the product if any, this is important because it defines every other thing in your online marketing strategy.
It defines the price, where you will market it, how you will market it, whom you will market it to and what you are going to say about it to people.
On the product column define the attribute and characteristic of the product you intend to market, including the problem it’s created to solve which should be mostly based on marketing research.
Price like we said earlier, is about how and what you are going to price your product, there are many factors that can be considered in pricing product.
Some factors included the cost of the product, cost of getting it to the intended customers and the people the products is meant for.
Your goal with your target market has to be considered also, do you want everyone, regardless financial level, to have the opportunity to have access to your products, or do you want your products to be for high income earners.
Sometimes the nature of your product will determine this, but in some cases it’s a pricing strategy that can be used.
While you can decide on a pricing strategy to adopt, you will have to define other columns in the 7Ps, before coming to a final conclusion on Price.
Some of the things to define here include, what is the cost of the products, what is the nature of your market (behaviour, interest, income level etc) what is your pricing strategy?
Place is based on understanding a targeted market.
Let say you are in Lagos, and you have a product that will help people become more healthy, you already have an understanding about your products, some questions to ask to define your place could be, whom will this product be of most benefits? This questions can be broken down into different parts, like who have a problem that this product can solve? Where are the people having a problem that this product can solve live? who is willing to pay to get this product?
This questions can help you create what is called customer avatar or personal, it will help you define the demography, interest, behaviours and some other attributes that make up your ideal customers, it will help you define your promotion column.
Promotion via online marketing is a different ball game from traditional marketing, the channels used online are different.
To define your promotion column, you need to decide on various marketing strategy, are you going to use content marketing or paid advertising or the two combine.
Actually, the strategy to adopt is going to be determined by the findings in your other column like PLACE, It will determine the platform, and channels you will use, the marketing strategy and even the tools and resources needed.
Questions like, who are my customers? Where do they hang out? What tools and resources are available for me? These questions can help you define your promotion column.
Like we said earlier, people define marketing activities implementers, those who are going to implement the whole online marketing strategy. It’s about the online marketing skills and understanding of the strategy.
In some instances, this column requires only two to three words, just your name in full, because you are the only one to implement the strategy. But sometimes you need external hands or you might be working with other departments or maybe there are areas of some marketing activities that are in your promotion column that you don’t have good skills on you may need to work with a team.
For a sole proprietor of a small business, the people column can contain areas of incompetence, that you can improve.
Let say your promotion column contain that your ideal customers use a lot of Google and to reach them you need to do Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and they are areas you lack skills on, this approach can help sort best ways to get the right skills needed to implement the online marketing strategy.
Questions like, who are my going to work with? What skills do I need? can help you define the People column.
When it comes to online marketing, understanding where your potential customers hangout plays a major roll in how you are going to reach them.
Where they hang out define other marketing strategies, the channels, the tools and resources you will use to get your product to them, all these are what defines your process.
For example, if your products is a course and it requires that people take the course online, this will define the platform, the methods of payment and other things.
Asking questions like, How is your product going to go from you to your customers? How are your customers going to pay for the products, can help you define your process column.
In online marketing, physical evidence is focused on how you are going to convince people that you are genuine and that your products can deliver in your advertising promises.
This is very important column in your 7Ps column. One of the most important virtue that enables online business is trust, people want to do business with people they trust.
In traditional marketing, physical evidence may include something like a brick and mortar store or office where people can visit and get clear about who they intend to do business with, but in the online business world, it’s more about trust.
Physical Evidence for online marketing includes having your own platforms online where people can get all the information they need in building trust or making buying decisions.
Answering questions like, how are my going to let people find me? How are my going to let people know more about me or my product? How are my going to show people that my products works? These questions can help you define the physical evidence column.
7Ps of Marketing can be used to create an online marketing strategy for any kind and level of business, small, medium or larger, the tip here is to use each Ps to interpret the business and state workable actions by answering questions about the business in relationships to each Ps.
Another thing here is, when using the 7Ps framework to create an online marketing strategy, there are rooms for flexibility, any P can come before others, the goal is to define actions that can be taken when implementing marketing activities related to any particular P, on your business.
I hope this post helps widen your perceptive on how to use 7Ps in creating an online marketing strategy.
Do you have questions? Ask on the comments section below.