The 7Ps of Marketing has been an essential tool for marketers for decades, but it’s time for an upgrade.
With the ever-evolving world of business and marketing, the 7Ps no longer reflect the essential elements for a successful strategy for all marketers, especially heart-centered ones.
The times have changed, and the customers have changed.
I, Sarah Santacroce of Humane Marketing, believe it’s time for an improved version of the 7Ps of Marketing that reflects the new digital age and, most importantly, the needs of today’s conscious clients.
It’s time for the 7Ps of Humane Marketing: Marketing for the generation that cares. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the original 7Ps.
What are the 7Ps of Marketing?
The 7Ps of Marketing are a habit framework that’s been taught in business and marketing programs for over 60 years.
The 7Ps of marketing stand for
- and Physical Evidence.
Together, they form the 7Ps of Marketing, also known as the 7Ps of The Marketing Mix.
As I mentioned, I have some new ideas about the 7Ps of Marketing, but let’s first look at the traditional 7Ps that were developed.
If you are a heart-centered entrepreneur, don’t forget to scroll down to see how I’d like to shake things up – a new way of thinking about marketing.
Product is the first of the 7Ps of Marketing and refers to the goods or services a business offers.
A business owner should look at the product as though they were an outside marketing consultant and ask critical questions like “is the product suitable for the market of today?”.
Looking at the product helps to understand if the products and services are suitable for the customer and help explore why there is difficulty selling.
You could develop a superior product for the current marketplace that would genuinely help your clients.
Price is the second P and is about setting the right price for each product or service.
A business owner should take a fresh look at pricing and make a habit of doing so to ensure products are always appropriately priced.
You may be able to combine a product and service, use special offers and promotions, or include additional items to make prices more appealing.
Promotion is the third P and is about getting the word out about your business through advertising or public relations.
The third P refers to how a business lets its customers know about its products. Keep experimenting; small changes lead to dramatic results.
Place is the fourth P and refers to distribution: making sure your products and services are available where your customers are.
Continuously review where your products are available and offer them to customers in different places.
The word ‘place’ doesn’t only refer to a geographical location like retail outlets, expositions and trade shows. We must also consider other advertising places like catalogs and external e-commerce websites.
Each outlet gives the customer an easier way to make a purchase.
People is the fifth P and is about developing customer relationships.
At the forefront of any company are the people who interact with the customer via messages, phone or physical meetings.
The team’s knowledge of the products and services helps sell the product, so the people within a business must have the proper training and be empowered and motivated by the company.
Process is the sixth P and is about delivering your products and services and how the customer goes on a journey.
Understand the customer journey steps from the first contact with your business. Give the customer a positive experience.
Finally, Physical Evidence is the seventh P of the 7Ps of Marketing and is about creating a pleasant physical environment for customers.
When the business has a location, like a restaurant, we reassure a customer with the ambience and the surroundings.
Physical evidence also includes the website and social platforms. They hold valuable information like background stories, testimonials and case studies.
Who Came Up with the 7Ps of Marketing?
E. Jerome McCarthy (1960) was the first person to identify the four Ps of marketing—pricing, promotion, product, and delivery—as being the most commonly used marketing.
In 1981, Bernard Booms and Mary Bitner created a model consisting of seven Ps. They included “people” to acknowledge the importance of human involvement in all marketing aspects.
Booms and Bitner included “process” to acknowledge that services, rather than physical products, are experienced as a process at the time of purchase.
Let’s explore if the original 7Ps are still relevant in today’s economic climate.
It’s Time for an Improved Version of the 7Ps of Marketing
The 7Ps of Marketing framework has served us well over 60 years, but it’s time for an update.
With new technology, customer expectations, global trends and the climate crisis, the traditional model of the 7Ps of Marketing is no longer relevant.
We need an improved version that considers the current climate, reflects the digital age and is adapted to a modern, empowered and conscious client who buys with a completely different mindset compared to 60 years ago.
In his book Marketing Rebellion, Mark Schaefer shares that many of his clients— chief marketing officers of big corporations—express their frustration over a steady decline in marketing results.
It’s true that what worked ten years ago no longer works today.
The client’s needs are different, and the tolerance level for pushy marketing has hit an all-time low.
The Improved Version of the 7Ps of Marketing
While watching a video about the 7Ps of Marketing, with the different Ps represented in separate circles (see above), the image of a mandala came to me.
My mum sometimes colored mandalas, but I didn’t know much about them. So I did what you would do as well: I started Googling.
And here is what I learned: “Mandala” is Sanskrit for “circle,” “essence,” or “container.” Any creative process that happens in a circle can be referred to as a mandala. It’s a creative process that brings us closer to our center.
Mandalas are cosmic diagrams— an attempt to represent the essential elements of the macrocosm in an ordered, coherent manner.
Psychoanalyst Carl Jung, in his exploration of his own interior life, began to make mandalas and discovered how beneficial the process was for helping him peel away the layers and get to his center.
He used Mandalas in therapy to help others get to their center.
I was hooked. My audience of heart-centered entrepreneurs would also really resonate with this new version of the 7Ps of Marketing – in the form of a Mandala.
How is the Humane Marketing Mandala Different from the 7Ps of Marketing?
When comparing the two frameworks, you’ll notice that certain Ps remain the same (People, Product, Pricing, and Promotion).
I found that those areas are essential in any kind of marketing, so I kept them.
But I also kicked some out: Physical Evidence, Place, and Process. These three were less important than some of the new aspects of Humane Marketing that I needed to bring in.
The discarded Ps are also more related to brick-and-mortar companies (Place and Physical Evidence), so I took the liberty to replace them with Passion, Personal Power, and Partnership.
Here’s a breakdown of how the new 7Ps framework differs from the old one:
Passion Replaces Place
Physical location is no longer relevant in our global online marketplace. However, starting with your WHY, or your passion, is the key to marketing your business with joy!
People Are People
The need to reach and connect with your conscious customer is ever-present, so it was obvious to me that People needed to be in the Humane version of the 7Ps of Marketing.
Personal Power replaces Physical Evidence
Signage, packaging and brick-and-mortar locations are less visible online. Knowing yourself, your values and what you stand for matters more in today’s overcrowded online market.
Product is still your unique Product or Service, but we focus on value creation for your conscious customer and the world.
Pricing is key for any business, but in Humane Marketing, we align value creation with fair pricing to create win-win-win situations. There’s a win for the client, a win for you, and a win for the world. Your result is satisfied clients who always receive value for their investments.
Promotion remains, but the promotion methods transform from fear-based and fake to conscious and authentic.
Partnership replaces Process. Yes, processes have merit, but the real fuel for your business lies in the power of partnership and collaboration.
Looking at my new Humane Marketing Mandala, it became clear that marketing is not just about doing!
The first two Ps (Passion and Personal Power) are the most important ones, and they have nothing to do with marketing but everything to do with being.
Download the 7Ps of Humane Marketing (PNG)
Passion and Personal Power in the 7Ps of Marketing
Every marketing course I ever took went on about how important it was to know your client’s avatar or customer personas.
I thought I knew my client well.
He wanted more: more leads, more clients, and more money. He was a consultant or executive coach working with corporate or B2B decision-makers. Thus, his clients were on LinkedIn. He made about $150,000 to $250,000 per year, had a single detached house, and drove a Prius or a Lexus. He was in his fifties, married or divorced, experienced in his field, and a nice guy.
I did my homework on my avatar, right?
Why, then, did it always feel like a Tinder date gone wrong?
Because I didn’t start with MYSELF.
I didn’t know what I wanted.
I suggest we reverse the model and selfishly start with ourselves.
That’s why the 7Ps of Humane Marketing start with yourself – with your passion and your Personal Power.
Because I want you to build a Humane Business based on who you are, your definition of success, your values, your story, and your worldview.
In the Marketing Like We’re Human book, I talk about three stages, the first one being RUMBLE.
That’s what the Ps ‘Passion’ and ‘Personal Power’ are all about: rumbling with your WHY and who you are.
Partnership in the 7Ps of Marketing
The other new P is Partnership.
Similar to the 17th Sustainable Development Goal, which is also ‘Partnerships for the Goals’, I included Partnership as the 7th P of Humane Marketing. Together we’re stronger!
The new business paradigm is no longer based on ‘killing the competition’, but instead, it’s based on collaboration.
The businesses with the best partnerships will succeed – those who believe in abundance, not scarcity.
Or, in Pamela Slim’s words, those who spread the widest net, and I recommend her book The Widest Net – a step-by-step method for building a thriving business.
Simple Steps to Get Started with the New 7Ps of Marketing
To integrate the 7Ps of Humane Marketing, I created a simple One-Page Marketing Plan, which is available to download.
You can get your copy of the One-Page Marketing Plan of Humane Marketing and have
the questions below sent to you in a daily email with a copy of the One-Page Marketing Plan Mandala.
Fill out the One-Page Marketing Plan every time you create a new service, program, or workshop; it helps you get very clear about how you will communicate and market it.
The plan will also help you align with who you truly are.
When you’re aligned with your authentic self, there is no fear, and marketing will be easy and fun.
Here are the questions on the One-Page Marketing Plan:
On your One-Page Marketing Plan, write the answer to the following question in the first pie piece of the Humane Marketing Mandala:
- Why are you passionate about bringing this new program, workshop, or service to your audience?
Passion is contagious, and people can really feel it when you’re passionate about your work. Reflect your passion within all your communications.
On your One-Page Marketing Plan, write the answer to the following questions in the second pie piece of the Humane Marketing Mandala:
- Who are you, really? Which personal stories can you tell to market this new service/product?
- What are your superpowers? Are you sharing them clearly?
- What are your values? How can you integrate them in marketing this new service/product?
- Which of your imperfections are you ready to share with the world?
The traditional version of the 7Ps of Marketing discussed client avatars or target audiences.
I like to call them “my people” because we genuinely do our best work if we work only with our ideal clients.
On your One-Page Marketing Plan, write the answer to the following questions in the third pie piece of the Humane Marketing Mandala:
- Who would love this new offer?
- Whom are you best aligned with?
- Who shares the same values as you?
- Who gets you?
Get into your ideal client’s head and emotions, and use words that describe them and that would resonate with them.
If you’ve read my book, Selling Like We’re Human, perhaps you can revisit the Empathy Map exercise in chapter nine.
Download the Empathy Map worksheet here – just scroll down the page a little.
Yes, it’s about empathy and understanding your client’s struggles and needs – often, we find out that we (ourselves) are our ideal client.
More than ever, today’s customer pays attention to beauty and design. Big, ugly headlines urging you to “buy now!” are a thing of the past.
What matters today is how your offer combines utility with significance.
On your One-Page Marketing Plan, write the answer to the following questions in the fourth pie piece of the Humane Marketing Mandala:
- Is your product/service description of this new program aligned with your passion, ideal client, and values?
- Does your new product or service reflect your unique personality and superpowers?
- Is your offer beautiful and well-designed?
- How can you position and design your product (service) so that your ideal client gets it?
On your One-Page Marketing Plan, write the answer to the following questions in the fifth pie piece of the Humane Marketing Mandala:
- What’s a fair price for this new product or service?
A fair price means that you don’t overcharge or undercharge.
- Do you have different options for different budgets available?
For example, could you offer a group program of the same service to make it more affordable for some people?
- Is your pricing congruent with your values?
Promotion is where we take the “less is more” approach. You need not be everywhere.
On your One-Page Marketing Plan, write the answer to the following questions in the sixth pie piece of the Humane Marketing Mandala:
- What type of content will you create to share about this new offering? In which format? Blog posts, videos, podcast episodes, or something else?
- What is your social platform of choice to communicate this new offer to your ideal clients?
- Which vehicle will you use to get your offer in front of more people? Networking, ads, podcast guesting, summits, or something else?
- Did you ditch the “shoulds”?
If you’re conscious of constantly marketing from the inside out by reminding yourself of your passion, personal power, and people, then the promotional activity becomes almost effortless.
We are daring to be different; using vulnerability and authenticity are essential.
For far too long, I used my introversion as an excuse: “I’m an introvert. I can build this business by myself.”
If I had to start over, that would be the one thing I’d do differently: I’d start to find partnerships and collaborations to help each other’s business grow!
On your One-Page Marketing Plan, write the answer to the following questions in the seventh pie piece of the Humane Marketing Mandala:
- Who could you ask for feedback and offer feedback to on one of their offerings in return?
- Who could you ask to help you share this new offering?
- Are you reaching out to two people every day?
To build a thriving business, you need other people. Make collaboration with others a priority.
Integrate The New 7Ps of Marketing
I love that the Latin root of the word “integrate” is “integrare,” which means “to make whole.”
Once you’ve explored the One-Page Marketing Plan, you are ready to make a difference, reach more people, and touch their lives profoundly.
You also understand that learning about yourself and your unique strengths is an ongoing reflection and requires you to go deeper into some topics.
To truly integrate, you can color your Humane Marketing Mandala whilst reflecting on the following questions:
- What does it feel like to market from within?
- How are you connecting (marketing) differently after applying the 7Ps of Humane Marketing?
- How are you going to be more yourself in your marketing?
Conclusion Regarding The 7Ps of Marketing
The marketing landscape has evolved in the digital age. Clients have become more conscious of their purchasing decisions.
It is necessary to update the traditional 7Ps of Marketing (Product, Price, Place, Promotion, People, Process, Physical Evidence) to better reflect the current environment and the needs of today’s consumers.
The 7Ps of Humane Marketing offer an improved version for customer-centric selling and heart-centered entrepreneurs.
Here at Humane Marketing, we consider factors such as:
- the expanded role of online entrepreneurship,
- the importance of starting with ourselves
- marketing from within, and
- the power of partnerships to grow.
Reflect on your 7Ps of Humane Marketing, and download your One-Page Marketing Plan.
Other Resources You Might Enjoy
Blog post: Unlocking the Power of Human Marketing: Strategies for Success
Podcast episode: Conversations about the 7Ps of Marketing with Penney Peirce, Clairvoyant (recorded in June 2020, when Humane Marketing was still called Gentle Marketing)
Podcast: The Humane Marketing podcast, conversations with guests, organized around the 7Ps of Humane Marketing
Manifesto: The Humane Business Manifesto (no opt-in)
Creed: The Humane Marketing Creed (no opt-in)
The One-Page Marketing Plan (email opt-in)
The Humane Marketing Circle is our community of Humane Marketers.