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The service marketing mix is a marketing concept which factors in all of the different aspects that come into play when trying to market a service to the public. Marketers must adjust the focus of different elements of the mix depending on the service being sold and the particular market they inhabit. Four of the elements of the mix, the so-called "Four P's," which are product, price, place, and promotion, are similar to the product marketing mix. Since the service business is inherently different than the business for those selling products, the service marketing mix adds three more P's, people, process, and physical evidence, to give service marketers the "Seven P's" on which they must focus.
Marketing a product and marketing a service require two different schools of thought. That is because a service doesn't provide any physical product to the consumer. Instead, the service provided is more of an intangible thing given to consumers. In addition, there is often competition in the market that offers the same exact service to the public. These are concepts that must be understood by marketers in control of the service marketing mix.
There are certain factors that the service marketing mix shares with the product marketing mix. In the service industry, the product is the service rendered, such as washing a car or doing someone's taxes. The place is the location where the service is rendered, which can be important to marketers if their location is beneficial to business. Promotion refers to the measures used to market the service. Rounding out the Four P's is pricing, which can be crucial in an industry where many competitors offer the same service.
In addition to these concerns, three other factors are unique to the service marketing mix. People are those employees who render the service and often interact with consumers. Process refers to the way the service is rendered, in terms of speed, efficiency, and positive impact on the consumer. Finally, physical evidence can roughly be defined as the experience the consumer has at the place where the service is provided.
That gives marketers a total of seven major factors — the seven P's — to consider in the service marketing mix. All of these elements, and the import placed on them, can be juggled to reflect the strengths of the company in question. For example, a company can promise fast pizza delivery should concentrate on the process. By contrast, a separate company that boasts the best-tasting pizza would be wise to focus on the product. Marketers can budget according to the elements of the mix that are most useful to them.