Physical Evidence – One of the Seven Ps of Marketing

Physical Evidence as Part of the Marketing Mix

OK, so we’ve all heard of the Four Ps of Marketing, right? But in addition to the well-known Product, Price, Place (Distribution) and Promotion, there are three others to consider if yours is a service business – Physical Evidence, People and Processes. In this post, we’ll look at the first.

Physical Evidence is about what it says on the tin – the idea that your service business needs to “look the part”. How can an intangible service achieve this? It’s about how your premises and other assets (along with your service delivery) match your branding message.

Physical Evidence
Physical Evidence is one of the Seven Ps of Marketing

A simple way to understand this concept is to think about the last restaurant you walked into. Typically, a restaurant is not located upstairs, because the need to walk up a staircase, peek inside the restaurant and retreat back down when we don’t like what we see is something that makes people uncomfortable. We prefer restaurants at street level, so we can comfortably look in and walk on by, if we so choose. We like to view the menu, see if there is a good crowd inside, check out the ambiance and get a “feel” for the place.

A friend of mine, who drives a lot for a living, once told me how he would never buy too big a company car, because it might give off the wrong impression to his clients.

To take a silly example : How would you feel if, when visiting a medical device manufacturing facility, the reception area in which you are seated, while waiting for your appointment, left a lot to be desired in terms of cleanliness? Impressive physical evidence? I wouldn’t think so.

Let’s imagine you want to open a pizzeria with a fun theme, rather than the traditional rustic “Italian Family” feel. In this case, you might design a bright, funky decor to reflect this concept. Physical evidence should be, therefore, a key cornerstone of your branding message and should fit with your pricing, promotion and other elements of your services marketing mix.

But the relevance of physical evidence extends beyond simply the bricks and mortar outlet your business might take place in. Imagine if you were a creator of signage for vehicles and didn’t have a good quality sign on your own van. Or if you were a website designer with an outdated, poorly optimised, non mobile-friendly website of your own.

Physical evidence is one of the Seven Ps of the Marketing Mix for service businesses, along with product, price, place, promotion, people and processes. Like the others, it cannot stand alone, but great physical evidence can greatly help your business set the right tone and thrive.

Review your Physical Evidence

So, whether you are providing kayaking tours at the riverside, running a small family hotel or involved in financial services, take a look around your premises (or where and how your service is provided to your customers) and see if your physical evidence matches what your customers would like to experience. You’ve heard it before, punters love to comment on how they “didn’t like the look of the place”.

How do your premises and other facets of your business look? Are you portraying the right type of physical evidence that will entice your target market to do business with you?

Read this thread on Quora about the differences between marketing products v services.

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