Marketing Mix Revisited

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Journal ofMarkeHng Management 2006, 22,407-438

The Marketing Mix Revisited: E. Constantinidesi Towards the 21^* Century Marketing The paper assesses the current standing of the 4Ps Marketing Mix framework as the dominant marketing management paradigm and identifies market developments, environmental changes, and trends, as well as changing academic attitudes likely to affect the future of the Mix as theoretical concept and also the favourite management tool of marketing practitioners. It reviews the criticism on the 4P's emanating from five "traditional" marketing areas - Consumer Marketing, Relationship Marketing, Services Marketing, Retail Marketing, Industrial Marketing and the emerging field of Electronic Marketing. The paper identifies two main limitations of the Marketing Mix as management tool, common in all examined domains, namely the model's internal orientation and lack of personalisation. It also identifies several area-specific limitations and underlines the need for further research on the issue. The weaknesses identified in the study seem to support the frequently expressed suggestion that marketing scholars should focus their efforts in formulating the conceptual foundations and marketing methodologies that better address the needs of today's and tomorrow's marketer.

University ofTwente

Keywords: 4Fs, Marketing Mix, Marketing Management, E-Marketing, Consumer Marketing, Retailing, Industrial Marketing, Retention Marketing, Services Mcirketing Introduction Few topics of the commercial theory have so intensively inspired as well as divided the marketing academia as the 4Ps Marketing Mix framework, "the Rosetta stone of marketing education" according to Lauterborn (1990). The 1 Correspondence: E. Constantinides, University of Twente, Faculty of Business, Public Administration and Technology, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands, email: e.constantinides@utwente.nl ISSN0267-257X/2006/3-4/00437 + 31 £8.00/0 ©Westburn Publishers Ltd.

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E. Constantinides

Mix has its origins in the 6O's: Neil Borden (1964) identified twelve controllable marketing elements that, properly managed, would result to a "profitable business operation". Jerome McCarthy (1964) reduced Borden's factors to a simple four-element framework: Product, Price, Promotion and Place. Practitioners and academics alike promptly embraced the Mix paradigm that soon became the prevalent and indispensable element of marketing theory and operational marketing management. The majority of marketing practitioners consider the Mix as the toolkit of transaction marketing and archetype for operational marketing planning (Gronroos 1994). While empirical evidence on the exact role and contribution of the Mix to the success of commercial organisations is very limited, several studies confirm that the 4Ps Mix is indeed the trusted conceptual platform of practitioners dealing with tactical/operational marketing issues (Sriram and Sapienza 1991; Romano and Ratnatunga 1995; Coviello et al. 2000). A largescale study carried out among executives of 550 Dutch companies (Alsem et al. 1996) revealed that about 70% of the companies surveyed apply formal marketing planning as basis of their operational marketing plans but responsibility for the Mix decisions is divided among different departments. According to the same study market leaders trust the formal operational marketing planning based on the 4P paradigm much more than the market followers^. The wide acceptance of the Mix among field marketers is the result of their profound exposure to this concept during college years, since most introductory marketing manuals embrace it as "the heart of their structure" (Cowell 1984) and identify the 4Ps as the controllable parameters likely to influence the consumer buying process and decisions (Kotler 2003; Brassington and Pettitt 2003). An additional strong asset of the mix is the fact that it is a concept easy to memorise and apply. In the words of...
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