Marketing Mix Extended Essay Topics

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Over the years, as the concept of marketing has evolved, and the definition of a product has grown more complex, the traditional marketing mix has also been redefined and extended. In this article, we will discuss some of these newer versions of the marketing mix by looking at 1) the extended modelsof marketing mix, 2) the 7P model for service marketing, 3) and an example of the McDonald’s marketing mix.

THE EXTENDED MODELS OF MARKETING MIX

The traditional marketing mix comprised of the 4Ps of product, price, place and promotion has enjoyed tremendous popularity over the years. When it was first articulated by McCarthy in 1960, it consisted of 12 parameters that were to be mixed like ingredients by a marketer. Eventually brought down to the much smaller number of 4, the framework became simpler and easier to understand but there was a lack of depth and several important elements were missed out such as the provision of services to the consumer.

A New Look At The 4Ps Of Marketing

 

Keeping in mind these shortcomings, marketing experts and researchers have expanded on these over the years. Some of these expansions have included:

The 5Ps Model

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Proposed by Judd in 1987, a fifth P was added to the model. This stood for People. The basis for this was that the people providing the product or service to the customer had an important role to play in communicating the right message and had a significant impact on the user experience.

The 6Ps Model

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In 1987, Kotler proposed an additional two Ps to the original model of 4. These were political power and public opinion formation. Kotler proposed that when entering foreign markets, there was a need to satisfy an audience beyond the target market. These were the governments, regulatory bodies, trade associations and even other interested groups who had power over the intended market. Hence the political power and public opinion formation was needed to gain their support.

The 7Ps of Services Marketing

This model has gained significant traction over the years as services and their marketing is increasingly being given due importance as an independent field of study. This model, proposed by Booms and Bitner in 1981, extends the marketing mix by 3 new Ps that directly relate to the service provision industry. These are people, physical evidence and process.

 

The 15Ps Model

The longest extension to the original model was proposed by Baumgartner in 1991 and includes people, politics, public relations, probe, partition, prioritize, position, profit, plan, performance, and positive implementations.

In an attempt to add depth, much complexity has also been added to the model. The most widely used extension of the traditional marketing mix is the 7P model for services marketing.

THE 7Ps MODEL

What is the 7Ps Model?

The traditional marketing mix was designed and gained popularity in an era where most businesses sold products. Any service provision and the role of good customer service was largely ignored and the potential impact on brand development and the user experience was not understood. This was remedied when Booms and Bitner proposed their extension to create the services marketing mix that we see today. The extended model should now be used to create competitive strategies in a more holistic manner.

Defining Services Marketing

Now a recognized offshoot of the traditional field of marketing, services marketing is the design of strategy to address the provision of services, both in a business to consumer context and the business to business scenario. Some examples of core services are telecom services, airlines, accountancy or tax services, the hotel industry and professional services such as hair dressers, dry cleaners or tailoring services. Services marketing may also cover elements in a traditional physical product sales environment such as customer services and tech support.

A service is ‘a type of economic activity that is intangible, it is not stored and does not result in ownership. A service is consumed at the point of sale.’ Given this definition, the new Ps added to the model gain new importance. Since the service cannot be owned and is consumed at the point of delivery, the process through which it is delivered, the person who delivers it, and the environment in which it is delivered become an indicator of whether a customer leaves satisfied and if they will want to return.

Fundamental Characteristics of a Service

There are five fundamental defining characteristics of a service. These characteristics are the basis of the 7P model for marketing. These are:

  1. Intangible – Primary to the definition of a service is the notion that there is no tangible result of the service in the customer’s hand. The customer does gain something when they leave. This may be legal advice or a checkup by a doctor. Tangibility needs to be created within the experience and this is done through the environment in which the service is delivered.
  2. Heterogeneous – All service experiences are unique. This means that there is a variety that needs to be anticipated and catered for. Factors external to a customer or a service provider such as traffic or a storm can impact the service experience. In addition, factors internal to either of the two participants can also have an impact such as personality traits or a bad day. Apart from this, the same person may react to the same situation differently on two different days. All these factors make it hard to provide a standard service experience.
  3. Production and Consumption – A service is created and used up at the same point in time. This means that the customer and the employee are both part of the process and are equally important to the experience. The employee needs to be trained extensively while the customer’s expectations can be managed through marketing communication activities.
  4. Perishable – A service can be stored, returned or resold. This means that it is immediate and bound by time. Proper processes need to be in place to make sure that service provision capacity is utilized to an optimum degree, to mitigate periods of high or low demand.
  5. Lack of Ownership – Because the customer does not end up retaining ownership of a tangible product, they have nothing to take away from the service except their experience. This means that over time, once the experience memory has diluted, there may be an issue with comparing brands. Companies are constantly trying to differentiate themselves from their competitors to build a loyal customer base.

7Ps Elements

The 7Ps includes the traditional elements, plus three new elements. In the services marketing concept, these are defined as following.

The Traditional Elements

1. Product
In the service industry, the production and consumption of the product are simultaneous and the product is intangible, diverse and perishable. The nature of this ‘product’ allows for on the spot customization. This also means that the point at which this activity is occurring becomes very important. Ideally, to ensure repeat experiences of similar quality and a consistently good user experience, most service providers aim to give some customization within an overall standardized mode of delivery.

2. Pricing
Since a service cannot be measured by what material goes into its creation nor is the actual tangible cost of production measurable, it can be challenging to put a price tag on it. There are some tangibles of course, such as the labor costs and overheads. But additionally, the ambiance, the experience and the brand name also factor into the final price offering.

3. Place
As mentioned, the service is produced and consumed in the same place. It cannot be owned and taken away from the location. This is why the place at which this transaction occurs is of vital importance. The location of the service provision is carefully analyzed to allow ease of access and the desire to make the effort to reach it. Fast food restaurants and sales and service centers may be located in busy main streets to allow walk in customers, while a fine dining restaurant may be located in a quiet street to maintain exclusivity and privacy.

4. Promotion
Promotion fulfills the same role as it does in any other marketing context. A service may be more easily replicated than a physical product. To prevent a service becoming interchangeable with its competitors, it becomes vital to create a desirable brand image and name in the market. Differentiation becomes a key goal in order to attract both new and repeat customers.

The New Elements

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5. People

This is a vitally important element of the service marketing mix. When a service is being delivered, the person delivering it is not unique from the service itself. When dining at a restaurant, if a rude waiter is encountered, the entire experience will be labeled as bad service. This is why many businesses invest in defining the right kind of person to fill their service role and then making efforts to find or train people to fit this definition.

6. Process

Since service provision needs to strike a balance between customization and standardization, the processes involved in the activity require special mention and attention. A process needs to be clearly defined for the service provider. This basic process should ensure the same level of service delivery to every customer, at any time of day, on any day. Within this process, there should be defined areas where a customer preference can be accommodated to provide a unique experience.

7. Physical Evidence

The location of the service delivery also takes on significance. The level of comfort and attractiveness of a service location may make a lot of difference to the user experience. A calm and soothing environment with thoughtful comfort measures may provide a sense of security to a new customer which will make them return.

Service Marketing Mix – 7p’s/Extended Marketing Mix

 

Important Questions in Designing a 7P Model

When setting out to design or improve a marketing mix for a service provider, the marketer should ask the following questions:

  1. How can we develop our ‘product?
  2. How can we price fairly?
  3. How can be provide the right place for the customer to access and experience our product?
  4. How can be promote our product to create an impact, differentiate from competitors and further brand image?
  5. What is the process we will use to deliver our service to the customer?
  6. Who are the people who represent us and what are the skills that they need?
  7. How can be provide physical evidence of the superior nature of our product?

EXAMPLE – 7Ps MARKETING MIX AT McDONALD’S

The Company

McDonald’s was created by Richard and Maurice McDonald in 1937. They created food processing and assembly line techniques at a tiny drive-in restaurant near Pasadena, California. In 1954, the restaurant was franchised in the USA. In 1967, the restaurant went global with a foothold in Canada. The key to Mcdonald’s successful global presence has been franchising. Through this activity, the product and its delivery are translated to fit local sensibilities while maintaining an essential McDonald’s experience.

The McDonald’s Marketing Mix

© Flickr | Rupert Ganzer

An effective and relevant marketing mix has enabled the restaurant to flourish while remaining true to its ‘think global, act local’ philosophy.

1. Product

The product offered is a standard set of items that are similar in taste and appearance wherever in the world they are being sold. There is some adaptation according to local tastes and laws. For example, a more vegetarian menu is offered in India, where a majority does not eat meat. In Muslim countries, any pork products are eliminated and halal meat is used. There are also taste adaptations such as beer in Germany, yogurt drinks in Turkey and espresso in Italy. There are also burger variations in different countries. Despite these differences, the menu is structured in the same way which allows for the same experience everywhere.

2.Price

The organization attempts to price differently across its operations. This means that the right price is selected for the right market. Pricing decisions are made by setting a pricing objective, determining demand, estimating costs, analyzing competing offers, deciding on a pricing method and then finalizing a price. By following this method and primarily assessing competitors, the company can understand what the customer is willing to pay and what value they attach to the product.

3. Place

McDonald’s has presence in 116 countries of the world. The organization believes in strategic expansion that focuses on a location’s long term potential.

4.Promotion

By first understanding cultural differences, a localized promotion strategy is employed. The focus is on both the brand’s global image and its local sensitivity.

5. Process

In all of the thousand’s on McDonald’s worldwide, the same process is used for making the food. The food specifications for size, weight and content are the same everywhere. All suppliers need to meet these specifications. Kitchen and restaurant layouts are the same. To cater to language differences, the menu displays contain images that help create similarities everywhere. There are also defined processes for service delivery such as all orders need to be filled within 90 seconds in the restaurant while drive through wait time is 3.5 minutes.

6.People

The company staffs locally and also promotes from within. This allows the team managing the operations to understand local cultures as well as the corporate philosophy. The people chosen are trained in both technical skills and customer focus. A Hamburger University in the USA as well as other training centers in different parts of the world teach standard practices that are to be employed in restaurants all over the world. This training helps standardize product and service delivery.

7. Physical Evidence

All McDonald’s locations are similarly created with a family friendly environment. There is a play area for children, and service is always provided with a smile. All menus are structured in similar ways with fries and drink combos. The children’s meal always has toys. These are all elements of physical evidence that are standard in all Mcdonald’s locations.

Image credit: Flickr | Rupert Ganzer under Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

IB students around the globe fear writing the Extended Essay, but it doesn't have to be a source of stress! In this article, I'll get you excited about writing your Extended Essay and provide you with the resources to get an A.    

If you're reading this article, I assume you're an IB Student getting ready to write your Extended Essay. If you're looking at this as a potential future IB student, I recommend reading our other introductory IB articles first: What is the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program? and What is the IB Curriculum? What are IB Diploma Requirements?

 

Why Should You Trust My Advice?

I'm a recipient of an IB Diploma, and I happened to receive an A on my IB Extended Essay. If you don’t believe me, the proof is in the IBO pudding,

If you're confused by what this report means, EE is short for Extended Essay, and English A1 is the subject that my Extended Essay topic coordinated with. In layman’s terms, my IB Diploma was graded during May 2010, I wrote my Extended Essay in the English A1 category, and I received a grade A. 

 

What Is the Extended Essay?

The IB Extended Essay (or EE) is a 4,000 word structured mini-thesis that you write under the supervision of an advisor (an IB teacher at your school), which counts towards your IB Diploma (to learn about all of the IB diploma requirements, check out our other article). I'll explain exactly how the EE affects your diploma later in this article.

For the Extended Essay, you choose a research question as a topic; this topic needs to be approved by IBO (which is not very difficult). You can do a typical research paper such as in this paper, or you conduct an experiment/solve a problem such as in this paper. Most schools allow you to pick your advisor (an IB teacher preferably at your school, although you can also get access to one at another school through the Pamoja Education). I'll explain how to pick your IB EE advisor below. 

The IB Extended Essay must include: 

  • A cover page
  • An abstract (one-page synopsis of your essay)
  • A table of contents
  • The 4,000-word essay (which will range from 10-20 pages depending on whether your topic requires illustrations such as an experiment would)
  • A bibliography
Your completed Extended Essay will then sent to the IBO to be graded (I will go into more detail on grading below). 

 

 

What Should You Write About in Your Extended Essay?

You can technically write about anything, so long as the IBO approves it. However, you should choose a topic that falls into one of theIB Course Categories, (such as Theatre, Film, Spanish, French, Math, Biology, etc.) which shouldn’t be difficult because there are so many class subjects. Here is a range of sample topics with the attached extended essay: 

You can see from how varied the topics are that you have a lot of freedom when it comes to picking a topic. So, how do you pick when the options are limitless? I will help you with that next:

 

 

6 Tips for Writing a Grade A Extended Essay

Below are the six key tips you need to follow to write an outstanding Extended Essay.

 

Tip #1: Write About Something You Enjoy 

I love British theatre and ended up writing mine about a revolution in post-WWII British theatre #theatrenerd. I really encourage anyone who pursues an IB Diploma to take the Extended Essay seriously. I ended up receiving a full-tuition merit scholarship to USC’s School of Dramatic Arts program and in my interview for the scholarship, I spoke passionately about my Extended Essay. I genuinely think my Extended Essay helped me get my scholarship.   

How do you find a topic you are passionate about? Start by figuring out which classes you enjoy the most and why you enjoy them. Do you like Math because you like to problem solve? Or do you enjoy English because you like to analyze texts?

Once you have figured out a general subject area such as Physics, you should brainstorm more specific topics by putting pen to paper. What was your favorite chapter you learned in that class? Was it astrophysics or mechanics? What did you like about that specific chapter? Is there something you want to learn more about? I recommend spending an hour on this type of brainstorming. 

 

Tip #2: Chose a Topic That Is Not Too Broad or Too Narrow

This is a fine line. You need to write about something specific, but not so specific that you can’t write 4,000 words on it. You can’t write about WWII because that would be a book's worth of material. You don’t want to write about what type of soup prisoners of war received in POW camps because you probably can’t come up with 4000 words on it. However, you could possibly write about how the conditions in German POW camps were directly affected by the Nazis successes and failures. This may be too obvious of a topic, but you get my point.

If you're really stuck trying to find a not too broad or narrow topic, I recommend trying to brainstorm a topic that uses a comparison. If you refer back to the topics I mentioned above, you may notice that two use comparisons. 

I also used comparison in my EE, comparing Harold Pinter's Party Time to John Osborne's Look Back in Anger in order to show a transition in British Theatre. Topics with comparisons of 2-3 plays/books/diets/etc. tend to be in the sweet spot of not too narrow or broad because you can analyze each portion and after doing in-depth analysis on each, you compare and explain the significance of the comparison. The key here is that the comparison needs to be significant. I compared two plays to show a transition in British Theatre.

Comparisons are not the only way to get a grade A EE. If after brainstorming, you pick a non-comparison based topic and you are still unsure if a topic is too broad or narrow, spend 30 minutes doing some basic research and see how much material is out there. If there are over 1,000 books/articles/documentaries out there on the exact topic, it may be too broad. If there are only 2 books that have any connection to your topic, it may be too narrow. If you are still unsure, ask your advisor! Speaking of advisors:

 

Don't get stuck with a narrow topic!

 

 

Tip #3: Choose an Advisor Who Is Familiar With Your Topic 

If you are not certain of who you would like to be your advisor, I would start by creating a list of your top three choices. Next, create a list of pros and cons (I know this sounds tedious, but it really helps!).

For example, Mr. Green is my favorite teacher, and we get along really well, but he teaches English, and I want to conduct an experiment to compare the efficiency of American Hybrid Cars to Foreign Hybrid Cars. Ms. White teaches Physics, I had her a year ago, and she liked me. She could help me design my experiment. I am going to ask Ms. White! 

Do NOT just ask your favorite teacher to be your advisor. They may be a hindrance to you if they teach another subject. I would not suggest asking your Biology teacher to guide you in writing your English EE.

EXCEPTION: If you have a teacher who is passionate and knowledgeable about your topic (as my English teacher was about my Theatre topic), you can ask that instructor. Consider all of your options first before you do. There was no theatre teacher at my school, so I could not find a theatre-specific advisor, but I chose the next best thing.

Some IB high schools require your IB Extended Essay advisor to sign an Agreement Form. Make sure you ask your IB coordinator if there is any required paperwork. IBO does not require any paperwork. If your school needs a Form signed, make sure you bring it with you when you ask a teacher to be your EE advisor. 

 

Tip #4: Choose an Advisor Who Will Push You to Be Your Best

Some teachers may just take on students because they have to and may not be passionate about reading drafts and may not give you a lot of feedback. Choose a teacher who will take the time to read several drafts and give you extensive notes. I would not have gotten my A without being pushed to make the draft better.

Ask a teacher that you have experience with through class or an extracurricular activity. Do not ask a teacher that you have no connection to; a teacher who does not know you is unlikely to push you. 

Note: The IBO only allows advisors to suggest improvements to the EE, but they may not be engaged in writing the EE. The IBO recommends that the supervisor spends approximately two to three hours in total with the candidate discussing the EE.

 

Tip #5: Make Sure Your Essay Has a Clear Structure and Flow

IB likes structure. Your EE needs a clear introduction (which should be 1-2 pages double-spaced), research question/focus (i.e. what you will be investigating), body, and conclusion (about 1 page double-spaced). An essay that has unclear or poor organization will be graded poorly. Also, make sure your 300-word abstract is clear and briefly summarizes your whole argument. An ambiguous abstract will make it more challenging for the reader to follow your essay’s argument and will also hurt the grading of your EE. 

The body of your EE should make up the bulk of the essay. It should be about 8-18 pages double-spaced (again just depending on whether or not you include diagrams). Your body can be split into multiple parts. For example, if you are doing a comparison, you might have 1/3 of your body as Novel A Analysis, 1/3 as Novel B Analysis, and the last 1/3 as Comparison of Novel A and B Analysis.

If you are conducting an experiment or analyzing data such as in this EE, your EE body will have a clear and obvious parts following the scientific method: stating the research question, discussing your method, showing the data, analyzing the data, discussing uncertainties, and drawing a conclusion/evaluating the experiment.  

 

Tip #6: Start Writing Sooner Rather Than Later!

You will not be able to crank out a 4,000-word essay in a week and get an A. You will be reading many, many articles (and, depending on your topic, possibly books, plays, and watching movies). Start the research possible as soon as possible. 

Each school has a slightly different deadline for the Extended Essay. Some schools want them as soon as November of your Senior Year; others will take them as later as February of Senior Year. Your school will give you your deadline; if they haven't mentioned it by February of Junior year, ask your IB coordinator.

Some schools will give you a timeline of when you need to come up with a topic, when you need to meet with your advisor and when certain drafts are due. Not all schools do. Ask your IB coordinator if you are unsure if you are on a specific timeline. Here is my recommended timeline, it is earlier than most schools, but it will save you so much heartache (trust me, I remember):

  • January/February of Junior Year: Come up with your final research topic (or at least top 3). 
  • February of Junior Year: Approach a teacher about being your EE advisor (if he or she says no, keep asking others until you find one - see my notes above on how to pick an EE advisor). 
  • April/May of Junior Year: Submit an outline of your EE and a bibliography of potential research sources (I recommend at least 7-10) to your EE advisor. Meet with your EE advisor to discuss your outline. 
  • Summer between Junior and Senior Year: Complete your first full draft over the summer between Junior and Senior Year! I know, I know no one wants to work during the summer, but trust me this will save you so much stress come the fall when you are busy with college applications and other IB internal assessments for your IB classes. You will want to have this first full draft done because you will want to complete a couple of draft cycles as you likely won’t be able to get everything you want to say into 4000 articulate words the first time. Try to get this first draft into the best possible shape you can, so that you do not have to work on too many revisions during the school year on top of your homework/college applications/work/extracurriculars/etc.  
  • August/September of Senior Year: Turn in your first draft of your EE to your advisor and receive feedback. Work on incorporating their feedback into your essay. If they have a lot of suggestions for improvement, ask if they will read one more draft before the final draft. 
  • September/October of Senior Year: Submit second draft of EE to your advisor (if necessary) and receive their feedback. Work on creating the best possible final draft. 
  • November-February of Senior Year: Submit two copies of your final draft to your school to be sent off to IBO. You likely will not get your grade until after you graduate. 

 

The early bird DOES get the worm!

 

How’s the Extended Essay Graded?

Extended essays are marked by external assessors (examiners appointed by the IB) on a scale of 0 to 36. There are "general" and "subject-specific" criteria, at a ratio of 2:1 (24 possible marks for the general criteria and 12 marks for the subject-specific one). The total mark is converted into a grade from A to E, using the below parameters:

Rubric Assessment Points Earned Descriptor Letter
Grade 30 – 36Excellent: A
25 – 29Good: B
17 – 24Satisfactory: C
9 – 16Mediocre: D
0 - 8Elementary: E

Here is the typical breakdown of scores (from 2008):

% Awarded Grade

A

B

C

D

E

Extended Essay

10.59%

16.50%

38.88%

27.62%

6.41%

How Does the Extended Essay Grade Affect Your IB Diploma?

The Extended Essay grade is combined with your TOK (Theory of Knowledge) grade to determine how many points you get towards your IB Diploma. To learn about Theory of Knowledge or how many points you need to receive your IB Diploma, read our other articles on What is the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program? or IB Diploma Requirements. This diagram shows how the two scores are combined to determine how many points you receive for your IB diploma (3 being the most, 0 being the least). 

 


 

So, let’s say you get an A on your EE and a B on TOK, you will get 3 points towards your diploma. Note: this chart is slightly outdated. Prior to the class of 2010, a diploma candidate could receive a failing grade in either the extended essay or theory of knowledge and still be awarded a diploma. However, as of 2014 (for the first examination in May 2015), a student who scores an E on either the extended essay or TOK essay will not be eligible to receive an IB diploma.

 

Sample Extended Essays

In case you want a little more guidance on how to get an A EE. Here are 50 Excellent (grade A) sample extended essays for your reading pleasure:  

 

What’s Next?

Trying to figure out what extracurricular you should do? Learn more about participating in Science Olympiad, starting a club, doing volunteer work, and joining Student Government. 

Studying for the SAT? Check out our complete guide to the SAT. Taking the SAT in the next month? Check out our guide to cramming. 

Not sure where you want to go to college? Check out our guide to finding your target school. Also, figure out your target SAT score or target ACT score.

 

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

 

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