The last ingredient in the marketing mix is Physical Evidence. This is typically associated mostly with services, but it also applies to tangible products as well. Physical evidence usually means one of two things. First that your brand or product (service) actually exists. Secondly, a confirmation that the service was rendered.
Let’s take an accounting firm for example. When considering physical evidence for your firm first you must consider your office. When a potential client walks in your doors what do they see?
If they see a clean, well-organized office with modern technology, and professionally-dressed team members, they will initially feel confident in your competency in potentially managing their taxes even before they actually talk with you.
However, what if they walk in the door and see chaos, outdated computers, and some guys in flip-flops playing ping pong?
Knowing the consequences of poorly filed taxes, they probably will feel somewhat less than confident. Even if your staff is actually all Ivy School world class accountants.
But what if it was a social marketing consulting firm they were visiting? The reaction would probably be the opposite since creativity and free-thinking are considered valuable qualities in that industry.
Next, when the potential client sits down and talks to the partner that is trying to recruit their business, she shares some impressive collateral. The glossy brochure outlines the array of services that they offer. She then directs them to a case study outlining how they helped a similar company lower their tax burden. Before the potential client leaves, she hands them her business card and tells them to call if they have any additional questions or when they are ready to sign an agreement.
Feeling pretty good about the firm, the potential client looks up the social media company’s website and is impressed with what they see. They see several companies they admire on their Clients page. They especially like seeing the positive testimonials of other Inc 5000 companies.
The potential client makes the decision to hire them. The next year after they prepared their taxes they provide them with a thick packet. In it is a two-page document that provides a top-line description of the filing sitting on top of a copy of their tax return. Each of the partners plus the CFO received similar packets. The CFO also has an encrypted thumb drive with the returns as well as all the relevant back-up documents.
All of the above are examples of physical evidence: the office, the physical appearence of the people, the collateral, the website, testimonials, logos from other companies, and of course the ultimate product, a nicely organized, complete, and accurate tax return.