Online Marketing Mix
We will go through the 7 P’s online marketing that completely models and expects every aspect of a marketing mix to be online and to apply digital technologies to create a marketing mix for modern business.
A benefit of an online marketing mix in your business model is that understanding every element of your marketing process enables us to create better, highly functioning, and profitable businesses online.
To create and execute a proper digital marketing strategy, understanding how different elements of an online marketing mix connects to your business is essential.
How to use this information, you might ask? Every business model has different requirements, while others can benefit directly from complete online methods; others require a more mixed strategy to succeed.
In this article, we hope to give insight on how to build a business model only through online methods. With a little modification, you can utilize and implement it into your business model as well, even if it’s not a 100% online business.
First, we’ll go through what the traditional marketing mix is. Then we will go through each of the P’s individually through the lens of online marketing to benefit an online business model.
What Is A Marketing Mix
The marketing mix traditionally consists of four marketing decisions to drive business goals into a specific target market. These four marketing decisions are: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion (Also called the four P’s)
Since the inception of the marketing mix (coined by McCarthy in the 1960 book called Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach), the marketing mix has grown to include more core marketing decisions to make it a better tool for business.
The extended marketing mix, also called the 7Ps (Booms and Bitner, 1981), includes the original four with people, process, and physical evidence. The 8 P’s means adding performance as a core decision too. The extended marketing mix is more suitable for services marketing, therefore, for online services as well.
In the 1990s a set of more customer-driven marketing decision, shorten as the C’s were added to enhance the overall marketing mix: consumer, cost, convenience, communication (by Lauterborn), or commodity, cost, channel, communication (by Shimizu)
Using the marketing mix as a framework for business and marketing decisions creates appropriate strategies that are:
- Develops business’s strengths while minimizing weaknesses
- Improves competitiveness in the marketplace
- Flexibility and innovation of a business
- Improve team collaboration
In this article, we explore the 7 P’s through the opportunities that online marketing presents.
In an online marketing mix, the product has to be 100% online, meaning the product has no physical features. For example, selling traditional products on an online store won’t be good enough.
We have to look at the online product as something scalable in nature, which processes all revolve around being online such as:
- The creation and management of the product
- The pricing of the product
- Distribution of the product
If every step is online, you have achieved a genuinely scalable online product.
When creating an online product in an online marketing mix, we need to think about all the aspects that surround the product itself. Let’s think about the subject through questions that potentially helps us deliver a better online product.
- What is the online brand of the created product?
- Does the online product have a product line or a set of products in a range?
- What are the extra services around the product?
- How would the end cycle of the online product look? Is it upgradeable, or is it update-based, for example?
- What are the guarantees of the said online product?
- How to design your online delivery?
- How to design an online product?
- What features to include?
- The quality of the online product?
Answering all the questions above, you’re closer to producing a high-quality online product to modify your business model.
Online product Ideas
When looking at what types of online product ideas, we could include in the product section of our marketing mix. There are a couple of choices we can explore.
A prominent place to start is producing software with online distribution. Then there are product ideas that revolve around content: such as building downloadables (eBook, online courses) or creating high-quality content that functions as the product itself like a set of articles and blogs.
Digitalization of services also enables them to some extent being an entirely online experience for your customers, for example, online consulting services. At the same time, while distribution is online, it still would require the physical presence of the personnel as of now, making scale harder to achieve.
One way of innovating new online products and business models is by redefining existing physical products into a digital space. For instance, music and video streaming changed from a physical experience into a completely digital product.
When transforming into new online products, the combination of the decisions in the online marketing mix helps you develop for better outcomes. A critical defining factor of your online products would be its place of distribution or a pricing strategy.
Price in an online marketing mix refers to the cost of a product your customer will pay. In the price, we need to include secondary factors, for example, what is the customer’s perceived value of an online product and consider how much time it takes for a customer to acquire a product.
Including customers, time spent on acquiring your products in the pricing strategy helps you develop more accurate pricing for your products. We associate online products with being instant in the acquisition, but in most cases, there are multiple steps involved for the customer.
- Pre-registration and registration
- Checkout and purchase process length
- Download times
A long acquisition time increases the cost for the customers, which leads to a loss of sales.
Pricing online products the right way is the method of increasing revenues with scale. Inefficient pricing strategies will, in the end, become the end of the product. As with more scale, the smaller issues scale too.
An excellent pricing strategy includes the use of discounts, payment terms, and has opportunities for allowances.
Pricing Strategies of Online Marketing
If we look at the price with three typical pricing strategies like:
- The SaaS (Software as a Service, model, where a subscription gives access to an online product)
- Single purchase model (One price for one product for a one-time purchase)
- The free model (The product itself is free, and the monetization is through other means) both have their pros and cons to consider in your pricing strategy.
A subscription model for an online product is beneficial if the product itself is not static, meaning it has updates, levels of complexity of using it, or its upgradeability.
A one-time purchase is beneficial for finished products. When using a one-time purchase pricing strategy, you will have to include that even a finished product requires levels of customer support and onboarding.
A free model is beneficial when the product offers a precise problem-solving capability as free products that don’t have real purposes won’t work. The most common way of monetizing free products is through advertising.
Place in the online marketing mix means the place where and how you provide your customers access to your products. In online marketing, there are many options for you to sell on a wide range of platforms and methods.
The best place for your customer comes down to what is the best place to reach and is convenient for your target audience. If we look strictly at online products, what solutions for selling you have? Many such as:
- Social media platforms (Either by selling directly (Facebook Shop) or by referring traffic to another owned channel)
- Dedicated online store (Shopify, WooCommerce), landing pages with purchase features.
- Online marketplaces (Amazon, eBay, Etsy, other niche marketplaces)
The goal of a place in the online marketing mix is to consider the convenience factors for your customers. Enabling the most convenient places for your customers to access your online products is crucial for the overall experience.
Your target audience should guide your decisions on your places, and the product’s online distribution comes down to what is the best distribution model within your chosen place.
When deciding place opportunities in your online marketing mix, the need for figuring out how much market coverage you’re able to reach within that place.
For example, marketplaces (like Amazon or eBay) have more initial coverage due to organic views, although lacking control otherwise. An online store can potentially have broader coverage if there’s a budget available for reaching your audience.
All in all, an owned channel (website, online store) will come necessary for every online business, and the need to expand for other platforms increases the more global your reach and how targeted audiences are.
Promotion in the online marketing mix is the use of online marketing communication tools to reach your target audiences. Promotion includes the use of online advertising, public relations, direct communication, and sales promotions to reach and influence an audience.
Online marketing offers many effective strategies to choose from to include in your marketing mix. Every business and its online products require different approaches when reaching their customers.
Some methods revolve around directly advertising on a variety of platforms, while other strategies revolve around building authority with the content or gaining a following on social media.
You can’t invest in every channel out there, just because it exists, the need to understand your audience first is crucial for producing and executing an effective marketing strategy online.
Are you restricted by budget, time, locations, technology, or something else, every business can find and utilize effective methods of online marketing to boost their results.
Your initial marketing strategy will have to include your restrictions to avoid plans that you can’t implement properly.
For example, investing in website content to boost your search engine positions takes time, when your business requires revenue today, the strategy won’t help you keep on the lights.
An excellent online marketing strategy includes your business goals with practical methods of gaining them. Innovation in your marketing decisions is essential for keeping growth achievable.
If we look again at the example of search engine positions, while not increasing your business today, it will in the future, by combining it into your online advertising flow is beneficial in the long run.
Methods Of Online Marketing Promotion For Consideration:
- Search Engine Marketing (Google, Bing)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Content Marketing
- Online PR
- Social Media Advertising
- Email Marketing
- Learn more marketing channels
The benefits of online marketing are the ability to track the results used strategies in real-time with the use of web analytics. Web analytics in online marketing allows for constant optimization of strategy.
Online marketing develops fast, and new ideas on how to improve your tactics arise often, and improved methods of collecting data helps you find new opportunities all the time.
In promotion, it’s essential to have clear strategies on how your brand and its messaging display across platforms. A wide range of platforms can lead to ununified experiences for the customers, and that leads to worsened brand awareness.
Controlling your brand and its communication in online marketing promotion is essential.
People as a marketing decision in the online marketing mix is crucial. Great products and businesses require people that are involved in the online distribution and personnel who are in direct contact with customers.
To accurately answer the question of people in your marketing mix is to measure and evaluate the interactions between a business and it’s customers and the interactions between personnel and customers.
In the end, it’s the people involved in the company that represents the values of a brand.
How we do, customer service is vital in an online setting when interactions are not physical. Designing better customer support systems where your customers and your employees can interact with each other seamlessly and scalably, enables us to produce a more consistent experience for both.
There are many options and combinations of online support you can introduce into your business workflow. For example, at the most basic, you can integrate social media as a channel for customer support or utilize online reviews (like Google My Business) as well.
Depending on the place in your marketing mix, you need to get the most appropriate way of support that functions effectively in that place. For example, an online store or online consulting firm can use chat software to connect support personnel with customers directly on the website.
How we plan our responses and our strategy of keeping our customers happy at all times is a critical marketing decision that, when unanswered will seriously harm any business when they reach a critical mass.
The process as a marketing decision in the online marketing mix defines the needed procedures and its optimization of delivering online products and the core experiences of it. What task are necessary for a product to provide its core experience for its users.
Process optimization relies on collected data and measuring the data with key performance indicators (KPIs) in mind. To have an optimized process, a constant need for tracking the success of your operations in your marketing mix is essential.
The better the process we have in place, the more ready we are at scale, and documenting every step we take, increases our chances of understanding the health of a business through the online marketing perspective.
Tracking processes and the performance of the overall system enables us to find critical errors at best before they happen or, at the very least, finding them very early before any significant failures have occurred.
Contextualizing online marketing processes in everything we do in our strategies helps us understand the core principles that make our approach viable at any given time.
Physical Evidence (Online Evidence)
In the extended marketing mix, physical evidence refers to the different elements of service experience, such as facilities, interior designs, livery, and post-purchase artifacts (souvenirs).
In an online setting, these pieces of evidence will not have a physical element to them. However, the digitalization of this physical evidence is still possible, and an important marketing decision to have.
Online brand awareness across multiple channels is an excellent example of online evidence. How well these channels expand service experiences, for instance, through the number of followers, likes, and other social engagement metrics.
A website’s design is essential online evidence as, in most cases, it’s the most important channel for an online business. The elements of your website’s design crucially impact the non-human service experiences your customers will face when interacting with your online business.
A controlled and complete multi-channel online experience enables us to enhance our online evidence in a way that improves our marketing decisions significantly.
Including the model of 7 P’s of online marketing into a company’s marketing decisions flow will develop a better marketing strategy for your business.
The benefits of marketing decisions around product, price, place, promotion, people, process, and physical evidence are vast. Businesses that understand how to connect all the pieces can improve their competitiveness in the marketplace through marketing.
While the article centers around using an online marketing mix with only online methods, the reality is that many companies are a combination of physical and online. The goal here is to, through an extreme example, showcase the opportunity that online marketing can have on modern business.
Showing what is possible enables us to think about our businesses in a different light to maximize its potential performance.