• Debbie Goldfarb

7 F’s of Marketing — when the old marketing mix models don’t work anymore.


You see a gorgeous girl at a party. You go up to her and say, “I’m rich. Marry me.” That’s marketing!


If only my Marketing professor in business school explained the subject in this way, things would’ve been so much simpler and easier — But no… they had to make it seem like Greek to me!


Every marketing student knows the 4-Ps developed by E. Jerome McCarthy in 1964. As a matter of fact, the 4-Ps (Product, Price, Place and Promotion) have been considered anathema to the marketing discipline explaining specific tools (marketing mix) we use to ensure business success. Of course marketing being marketing, 4 specific elements are not enough — so, in 1981 Bernard Booms and Mary Bitner added People, Process, and Physical Evidence to the mix creating the 7-Ps shown below:

  1. Product — a good or service — ideally, fulfilling an existing consumer need or creating a new consumer want.

  2. Price — the amount consumers pay for a product.

  3. Place — where the product is sold and being distributed

  4. Promotion — advertising, public relations, social media — whatever media/medium used to deliver the right message to the right people.

  5. People — new/prospective target audience, internal/external constituencies, staff, salespeople & local community

  6. Process — the infrastructure/method used to deliver products and services to customer in timely & efficient manner

  7. Physical evidence — everything your customers see when interacting with your business including retail stores, packaging, and branding.

It’s been decades since the marketing model was created, and many things have changed including: rise of the dotcom in the late 1990s, introduction/ proliferation of the internet, growth of social media, and global pandemic to name a few…The question now is whether the marketing mix of “old” is still relevant in today’s environment?


As a result and evolving focus on customer service — in 1990 — Robert F. Lauterborn recommended revamping the marketing mix into the 4-Cs (Customer, Cost, Convenience, and Communications). And, of course marketing being marketing quickly increased the 4-Cs to the 7-Cs by adding Consideration, Consistency, and Circumstance to the mix as well.


Over time many other versions have been crystallized like 7-Ss, 7-Ms, etc. So, of course being a marketing person and in-tune with the never-ending pandemic, disruptions in the global supply chains, creeping inflation, labor shortages…I thought it was time to jump on the bandwagon as well….

The 7 Fs of Marketing (and it’s not what you think!)

  1. Face — collective set of characteristics that we call your “brand.

  2. Freebies — free stuff to entice consumer buying behavior.

  3. Facebook — presence in digital and social media platforms.

  4. Function — acts/works exactly as designed.

  5. Flexibility — ability to adapt to market changes.

  6. Fulfillment — delivery of unique brand/customer experience.

  7. Frustration — need to constantly reinvent brand experience and market positioning.

I have no doubt marketing people can work up and down the alphabet and come up with a wide swath of 4 to 7 marketing mix combinations. The point-being… Whatever approach is taken must be consistent and used correctly to ensure market and business success. Just for fun — what letter of the alphabet would you choose?


Call me curious…keep in mind you can’t start with an expletive… on second thought… go ahead start with the F word…


For more business tips, check out my other blogs. And email for help with marketing and branding for your small business.

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