Marketing Mix and the 4 Ps: Traditional Marketing Theory

Marketing communications has expanded immeasurably in importance since the 1950s and a variety of concepts have been developed since then. Their function is to use promotional techniques to underpin and support brand identity and to move products and services forward into the hands of the paying consumer recipients.

My essay focuses on the following marketing communications concepts: “Marketing Mix and the 4P’s of Marketing” and “Marketing Mix and the 4C’s of Marketing). Marketing Mix: Marketing Mix is a marketing concept introduced by Neil H. Borden

, in his American marketing Association presidential address in 1953. It is an integrated set of marketing “tactics” to realize organizational objectives and create a closer higher relationship between companies and customers.

The selection of a target market leads the marketers to focus their activities towards profitability of the target segment. For this purpose they need to manipulate many variables. Such variables were named “Marketing Mix.” It is a framework designed to help companies structure their approach to each market and can be best circumscribed as “a set of marketing tools that a company uses to pursue its marketing objectives in the target market.”

Since the introduction of the marketing mix concept the question has continuously been: What is the best mix? Two main conceptual approaches have emerged over time: “The Marketing Mix and the 4 P’s” and “Marketing Mix and the 4 C’s.”

Marketing Mix and the 4 Ps: Traditional marketing theory and execution relies on the “4 P’s.” In 1960 E. Jerome McCarthy

proposed a classification of marketing mix in 4 areas (4 P’s) as per the needs and preferences of the specific target market. Since then marketing managers around the world have become familiar with them. The methodology of the 4 P’s concept is to look at how each aspect of marketing is seen by the company. The 4 objective of the 4 P “s concept is to blend four product-centered elements McCarthy regarded to be the most important for companies’ to look at to create the “right” marketing mix. Businesses have to meet the following conditions: The right product: quality, features, style, brand, packaging, warranties etc.; sold at the right price: list price, discount, payment period, credit terms and also the “switching cost” — the cost (time, money, effort) of changing to/from a different product or service; in the right place: distribution channels, market coverage, locations, inventory, supply chain logistics; using the most suitable promotion factors: advertising, sales promotion, public relations. Moving away from the jargon, the 4P’s simply mean:

Product — what is it and what does it do? Price — how much does it cost and how profit is there? Place — how do you get it to the customers? Promotion — how do you tell potential customers that the product/service is available? In evaluating the value of the 4 P’s concept I think that in general it has to take into consideration the marketing world was different when the model was introduced by McCarthy when physical products represented a larger portion of the economy.

The “4 P’s Marketing Mix Model” was particularly useful in the early days of the marketing concept, because it created a greater awareness of the marketing of products as an important discipline for organizations. The model’s simplicity allowed fast adoption and at the same time, its scope of competitive factors was wide enough to help coordinate key decisions for product introduction, positioning and interaction with target markets. I also regard it as a “pro” that the concept stressed the importance of combining long-term planning with short-term planning and control cycle in order to service a target market on an ongoing basis.

The model seems to be still relevant when applied to “dotcom” products and physical goods of the internet era.

The limitations of the “4P’s Concept” are the following: As Kotler (2002, p. 14 ) noted: “We can say with some confidence that “the marketplace isn’t what it used to be.” It is changing radically as a result of major forces such as technological advances, globalization, and deregulation. Today’s economies are dealing not only with marketing of physical products. I n previous, organizations may have relied on product features, manufacturing processes or other product-centered techniques to create barriers of entry into the marketplace for their competitors. This is no longer an option in the modern economic environment.” Grabers (2006, pp. 1, 2.)

rightfully points out that this is no longer an option. Plus, when these factors are combined with other emerging trends, such as globalization and/or technical advances, such as electronic communication, standing out in the marketplace is even more difficult than it has ever been in the past.

In addition, it has to be noted as another limitation of the “4 P’s Concept” that t works less well with industrial products and services where interaction and relationships are more important.

From today’s point-of-view I would suggest to extend the number of P’s by the following “two P’s” to cover also services (including information services): People and Process. I think that “people” should be added because good information services are not likely to be delivered by people who are unskilled or unmotivated.

The factor “process” should be added because it is important to document

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