If you have read the service marketing mix, then you would know that physical evidence is one of the additional 3 P’s of the service marketing mix. This is because it is specifically used for services. The problems with services is of differentiation. How do you differentiate a premium restaurant from a regular restaurant? To create such differentiation physical evidence is used.
Physical evidence comprises of the elements which are incorporated into a service to to make it tangible and somewhat measurable. At the same time, it also helps in the positioning of the brand and for targeting the right kind of customers. The best example of Physical evidence in use is the hospitality industry. Airlines offer premium travel as well as economy classes. Similarly, restaurants are known to be 3 star, 4 star, 5 star. All such differentiation, and the target customer that accompanies such differentiation, is because of the use of physical evidence in marketing.
Role of physical evidence in marketing mix
The marketing mix is always made after segmentation, targeting and positioning. The objective of the marketing mix is to incorporate the right elements which attract the desired customer profile. Thus, in services, to attract the right segment and target, and to achieve the right positioning, physical evidence is used. Off course, in marketing it is not used for services only but also for products nowadays. This is because products are nowadays sold through mainly retail and e commerce. Both these areas are services within themselves. And hence retailers always focus on elements which can make their services better.
Tools which can be used
Ambiance – The look and feel of a restaurant can be described as the ambiance. For example – the Sofa that the restaurant uses, the music that it plays, the lighting it has maintained etc.
Layout – Especially applicable in retail, the layout of the showroom contributes to the role of physical evidence in marketing. For example – in Ikea, the store is laid out in such a manner that the customer is able to get to his choice of furniture very fast.
Branding – Although part of promotions, the packaging, branding and use of corporate communications also plays an important role in physical evidence in the marketing mix.
How physical evidence effects other P’s in marketing mix
Incorporating physical evidence is not free of charge and has an inherent cost involved. Thus, if you want to establish a premium restaurant, then you need to invest for plush furniture, promote in premium areas, get the right people, so on and so forth. The pricing for a premium restaurant will be higher also. Thus, physical evidence in marketing is dynamic in nature, and a change in physical evidence factors will bring a change to all other P’s in the marketing mix.
Thus, if you want to succeed in your business endeavor, you need to plan all the P’s of marketing mix. And if you are in the services sector, then physical evidence as well as people are two of the most important P’s of the marketing mix.