Everything matters in marketing

Knowledge base article to support your business aligning with customer needs

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article author

By: Tim Bowerbank
Role: Marketing Consultant

Infographic showing the 7ps to support aligning your business with customer needs

Marketing Cornwall Knowledge Base

Article level - Introduction
Time to read - 5 minutes

In today’s competitive world, all aspects of your business need to be performing. It isn’t only communication that matters. All aspects must meet the needs of your targeted segment(s). Ask yourself, how can I better align my business with my customers’ needs?

I want to share a well-known model with you that will help structure your thinking. It will help you better align with the segment of the market that you’re targeting. This model is in the toolbox of every consultant. During my career in Cornwall I have used this model many times.

Have you read our segmentation article yet? If you don’t know about segmentation then read my article on that first.

Better align your business with your customers using the 7Ps

The 7Ps are seven elements of your business that need to align with your customers’ needs. Once aligned it will boost the performance of your business. Use this model as a way of structuring your thinking. The 7Ps is also known as ‘the marketing mix’.

Let’s go through them. The following is a simple introduction to each one and each could warrant their own article (or book!).

1. Product

How aligned is your product, or service, with your targeted segment? What changes can you make to your product that will make a real difference to your customers? My son is 5 years old. I’m always impressed with a restaurant when there are activities for my son to do. It makes a real positive difference to our meal. The restaurant has adapted their product to better suit us. Great, I’ll come again!

2. Price

How can you change your price so that it’s profitable and appeals to your customers? Setting pricing is always a tough decision and worthy of another article.

There are many ways to calculate the ideal price. To keep it simple, the two most used strategies are…

  • Cost plus - calculating the cost of producing your product and then adding a profit margin. You will need to forecast demand. Here’s an extra article to read.
  • Market based - the price your targeted segment is willing to pay for your product. 

You may need to use a combination of both. 

There are other strategies that can help you with your pricing. You can be quite creative with it to help customers perceive a deal.

During my career, I was responsible for producing a business directory. I was also responsible for selling the advertising space in it. Customers always asked me for discounts, which I never did. To make the advertising more affordable I made two important changes to my pricing.

  • Part payment - the option to spread the payment over two or three months for orders over £250.
  • Discounts for multiple orders - I added discounts for extra ads. This helped incentivise customers to spend more.

It worked very well with increased sales and a profitable directory.

3. Promotion

What is the best way to communicate with your targeted segment? What do you need to be saying? How do you need to say it? Where do you need to be saying it? When do you need to say it, and how often should you be saying it? Answer all these questions so that you can maximize your return on your spend.

As a consultant, I spend most of my time discussing this P of the seven Ps. Please don’t ignore the other Ps though. If you have a dud product then you can spend as much as you like on  promotion but it won’t help your long-term success. Don’t make that mistake.

4. Place

Where do your customers buy? You need to be there. If it’s only online then you should prioritise the performance of your website. If it’s at an exhibition then make sure you maximise the opportunities at the show.

5. People

Have your employees got the right skills to ensure that they are meeting the needs of your customers? Brilliant campaigns can fall flat when a sales representative misguides an enquiry. You can have a great product but if your service team are poor with customer support it will reduce your sales.

Help your team gain skills and attitude to deliver customer delight. Support them in their roles so that they make an effective contribution to your business. 

6. Process

As your customers flow through your business what processes do they experience? How can you improve this to make it hassle-free for them, or more enjoyable, or quicker. I like to use the moments of truth model. It’s quick to identify issues (in fact with all aspects of the 7Ps).

7. Physical Evidence

What physical assets do you need to reassure your customers that they should buy from you? If you’re selling a high value product should you have a bricks and mortar showroom? When you do a sales visit should you leave your customer with a printed sales pack?

Further reading

CIM article

I hope you have enjoyed this run through of the 7Ps. My marketing consultant services are always here to help you.  And yes, we’ll most likely use the above model to support your business to improve its performance. We’re based in Cornwall but we’re happy to work with you wherever you may be.