4 ps of marketing mix – Critical Review – Journal Article

Critical review of journal Article

In the present article, the researcher identified the importance of 4P’s of the marketing mix in the present marketing management paradigm. Along with this, the researcher identified various factors that affect the future of marketing mixes such as changes in the environment, changing trends and taste of customers and market developments. In this article, the 4P’s in five traditional marketing areas such as Services, Marketing, Consumer Marketing, Retail Marketing, Industrial Marketing, Relationship Marketing, and e-Marketing reviewed critically. The researcher identified two limitations of the marketing mix: internal orientation and lack of personalization that are common in all marketing areas as well as various area-specific limitations.

Research Objective

The main objective of this research is to identify the importance of 4P’s of the marketing mix in the marketing management concept. In this article, different views and opinions of different authors and implications for future research were discussed.

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Theoretical framework

From last four decades, the development of commercial landscapes and changes in consumer and organizational attitudes encouraged marketing researchers to investigate new views and approaches that help to solve marketing problems as well as increase the scope of marketing. In this context, various significant evolutions have occurred in different decades such as in 70’s, the concept of marketing was broadened, in 80’s, exchange transaction was introduced, in 90’s, total quality management and relationship marketing were developed and in the 21st century, information and communication technologies have emerged. On the other hand, the taste and preference of consumers also changed during this long period. Along with this, the international market has changed in the form of global, customized, personalized and segmented market. This market has faced various major issues such as innovation; relationship building, customization, and networking.
The development of the 4Ps marketing mix framework is the subject of controversy and scientific debate. It is anticipated that academic discuss will generate new concepts and methodologies of marketing. The philosophy of marketing mix and the fundamentals of the management school of marketing have opposing views. The management school has given views that are similar to the marketing concept and the market orientation principles. These views focus on customer needs and want that should be used in marketing activities. At the same time, Kotler (2003) has given the model that has four controllable factors included with the market input.
The debate in this article focused on various issues such as changing behavior of customers and organizations, increasing use of technology in the marketing and enhancing the complexity of the environment. There is an increasing stress on marketers to understand and fulfill the changing needs of customers and organizations and develop long term relationship with clients. In this article, five traditional marketing areas are critically discussed with the importance and relevance of 4P’s of the marketing mix.

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Marketing mix and consumer marketing

From the last decades of 20th century, the technological advancement, demographic, social, cultural and economic factors influence the nature, behavior, and needs of customers. The new customer is neither reactive for marketing tools nor responsive towards brands. But his/her behavior is influenced by the family members and other types of reference groups. Along with this, more researchers stated that modern customer is more demanding, independent, individualistic and more critical to understand. The main reason behind the changes consumer behavior is the increasing power of consumers because of information technology, the internet, and communication technology that makes easy access for online business and market.
So, these developments encouraged marketers to use marketing activities that are helpful to direct communication and interact with customers. This direct communication is helpful for marketers to identify the changing needs of customers, give response for their queries and problems quickly and forecast trends of the market early as compared to competitors (Lewis and Bridger, 2000). At the same time, several researchers argued that 4P’s of the marketing mix is not suitable for the consumer marketing management due to several reasons such as lack of interaction with customers, lack of strategies and internal orientation. Doyle (1994) and Yudelson (1999) argued that the marketing mix avoids the changing nature of consumers who require great worth and high control on transaction and communication. Vignali and Davies (1994) argued that lack of the element of strategies is a big issue in this framework that makes it irrelevant in the strategic planning for external environment.
Various authors proposed other frameworks while some authors want to accept the modified versions of 4P’s. For example, Kotler (2003), proposed that marketing mix should include environmental variables, customers, competitive variables and two more Ps in traditional 4Ps such as political power and public opinion formulation. Doyle (1994) wanted to add two more factors in 4P’s of marketing mixes such as services and staff. Yudelson (1999) proposed 4 new Ps that are based on exchange activities: product (performance), promotion (perceptions), price (penalty) and place (process).

In the time period of 60’s and 70’s, marketers had main aim to increase the volume of sales with the help of intermediaries and traditional marketing tools. But the changes have occurred in marketing that shifts marketing from transaction oriented to relations building. Marketers need to offer personalization and lifelong customer value as well as develop the relationship with existing or new customers. For the relationship development, there are various drivers behind this such as saturation of the market, financial crises, and tough global competition and changing consumer behavior (Wang, Head, and Archer, 2000). At the same time, few researchers argued that relationship marketing needs a different approach for customers. It is identified in a research that advertising and other promotional tools are important in marketing to retain the customers but developing long term relationship with the customers is the main aim of marketing for the most of the companies.
At the same time, it is argued that the traditional 4Ps marketing mix framework is not helpful for relationship marketing due to some reasons such as product orientation, one way communication and no interactivity. All authors proposed new conceptual frameworks that focus on communication, personalization, and interaction. For example, Patterson and Ward (2000), proposed 4 information intensive strategies with new C’s of marketing including customization, communication, collaboration, and Clairvoyance. Lauterborm (1990) proposed 4Cs replacing of 4Ps that indicates the customer orientation such as customer needs, cost, convenience, and communication.

Marketing mix and service marketing

In the time period of 70’s, various researchers focus on the unique features of services, various methodologies and marketing conceptual frameworks for service marketing. The service marketing area is acquired an important position among other marketing areas due to some reasons: services are main producer of money in economy and main resource of revenue in corporate sector and services are important part of physical product because of product differentiation and competitive advantages. Beckwith (2001) argued that in present world, marketing of services needs to pay attention about the customer satisfaction through using new marketing framework and refuse traditional marketing mixes.
Most of authors agreed on the unique features of services that must be highlighted in service marketing. Human element is important in service marketing because the personnel are important element for customer influence and major factor that affect the perception of customers regarding the quality of delivered services. Along with this, direct interaction with customers and good quality of services is main factors that are missing in 4P’s framework. Additionally, some important elements such as direct communication and developing relationship with customers are not included in the 4P’s of marketing mix. So, most of researchers proposed new elements for the traditional marketing mix or other alternative mixes with different approaches. For example, Beckwith (2001) proposed four keys of service marketing such as price, brand, packaging, and relationships.

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Marketing mix and retail marketing

Before twenty years, it was considered by most of consumer products manufacturers that direct communication with the end customer is the main goal of marketing and business. So, they organized mass marketing campaigns to increase awareness about the product, brand recognition in the minds of customers and share their values and ideas with customers. At that time, in the marketing process, retailers and other intermediaries were measured as secondary actors for stocking and re-selling of products. But globalization and private branding have changed the retailing sector. Through the power of supply chain power, retailers gain more control in the marketing process. So, marketers and business organizations put pressure on them to use some professional and advanced commercial techniques that help to develop good market positions and gain competitive advantage over the competitors.
In the retail marketing theory, elements of both service marketing and relationship marketing are included. At the same time, it is argued that 4P’s of service and relationship marketing can be extended in retail marketing. Along with this, retail marketing involves some additional features such as shopping experience, physical evidence, atmosphere and personalized contacts. The researchers argued that 4Ps of marketing are not adequate for developing marketing and promotional activities in retail marketing. So, authors suggest replacing the marketing mix with new frameworks or adding new aspects such as employees, format of retail market and presentation.

Marketing mix and industrial marketing

The industrial and business-to-business marketing is an independent marketing sub-discipline. In this context, some researchers agreed with the same concept of industrial marketing and consumer marketing but various researchers argued that industrial marketing is completely different from consumer marketing due to some factors such as buying behavior of customers, decision making process, differences in choices and special demands of the industrial customer (Melewar and Saunders, 2000). At the same time, it is argued that industrial marketing focuses on personalized and collaboration approach that is different from traditional marketing mix which focuses on mass oriented, impersonal and acquisition oriented approach. Along with this, relationship of buyers-sellers in industrial marketing faces two more issues like lack of strategic elements and operational orientation. So, various authors proposed new elements and alternatives for the marketing mix.

Marketing mix and e-marketing

The increasing use of internet emerged a new platform for business and commercial activities that are known as e-commerce. At the same time, it includes various challenges such as new methods of communication and interaction, more customer empowerment, business operation at global level, greater transparency in marketing and business activities and hard to maintain competitive advantage for the firms (McKenna, 2003). In 90’s, the online users and internet firms are increased that are motivation for other online projects. At the same time, researchers argued that traditional marketing mix is not suitable and relevant for the e-marketing. Other authors argued that minor changes in 4P’s framework makes suitable for the internet environment. But there are some limitations of marketing mix such as lack of strategic components, lack of interactivity, personalization, lack of community building and internal orientation that are not suitable for e-marketing.
Summary: In this article, most of researchers and authors argued the relevance of 4P’s of marketing mix in different areas and they proposed alternative approaches, new elements to mix and replacing elements. Along with this, some weakness are identified such as lack of human element, interactivity & strategic components and offensive posture. But the two limitations are common in all areas: lack of personalization and internal orientation.

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Lewis, D. and Bridger, D. 2000. The soul of the new consumer: authenticity – what we buy and why in the new economy. London: Brealey.
McKenna, R. 2003. Total Access: Giving Customers What They Want in an Anytime, Anywhere World. UK: Harvard Business School Press.
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Yudelson, J. 1999. Adapting McCarthy’s Four P’s for the Twenty-first Century. Journal of Marketing Education, 21(1), p. 60.

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