Critical Evaluation of the Marketing Mix “The Marketing Mix is a combination of Product, Price, Place and Promotion (The four P’s) that helps increase sales to the target market” (McCarthy, 1960 cited in Combe 2006 p126) This systematic tool is more commonly used once a business has decided on its overall competitive marketing strategy. This includes analysing marketing opportunities and selecting a target market. The development of the four P’s to the advantage of a specific business can be described as the third stage of the marketing process.
Subsequent to this stage is the managing of the marketing effort, better known as market implementation. This report will discuss the way in which the marketing mix has progressed and adapted the original four P’s in accordance with the growth in relationship marketing and interactive communication and distribution channels. The idea of a marketing mix was originally put forward by Borden in 1965 and consisted of twelve P’s.
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There have since been many adaptations of the marketing mix but perhaps the most successful, in terms of lasting, is McCarthy’s four P’s which outlined four principle aspects to marketing; Product, Price, Promotion and Place. Perhaps the reason behind this model’s sustainability is the way it can be revised to include a more elaborate description of each principle i. e. “Price Mix”. Within this section of the marketing mix are sub-categories such as Profitability and Value for money.
Due to technological innovations, particularly over the last twenty years, businesses have had to adapt the use of the marketing mix in order to maintain or establish themselves within a market. Arguably the most successful of these innovations was the World Wide Web (WWW) which has resulted in an enormous increase in information. Upon its creation and eventual common use, businesses have had to expand their repertoire of marketing mix techniques in order to sustain themselves within a growing market.
From a promotional point of view, the opportunity to promote a business has expanded but the deciding factor of its success can be characterised by the method that they use. According to Combe 2006 the internet is predominantly a “Pull Medium” where web users decide on which websites they visit. Therefore, from a promotion perspective, businesses must interconnect potential customers with some sort of business brand or information. Most firms are now moving away from disruptive designs such as Pop-Ups and opting for strategies such as Permission Marketing which involves the customer’s initiative to request information.
A customer may, for example, wish to be informed via e-mail of future Special Offers. This promotion aspect of the marketing mix is a sub category which involves the information passed on to customers, the way in which this is done and the design of a brand. Websites can be used in different ways to implement different promotional strategies. “London’s Vicarage Private Hotel, for example, has developed a quirky and well-reviewed web site which now accounts for the majority of its bookings” (Peattie 1997 Online Journal of Marketing Intelligence and Planning).
Neves, Zuurbier and Cortez (2001) claim that the huge amount of advertising actually causes a barrier to improve product differentiation. The “Place” segmentation has also expanded due to the creation of the WWW. When the marketing mix was created, shopping predominantly took place within a public area i. e. the high street. Now it is possible to buy online from the comfort of the customer’s home. Combe (2006) discusses the use of websites to sell products online which have opened up the geographical area of most businesses customers.
A website banner can potentially be more useful than a high street advertising board as it can be seen by anyone in the world who should be directed onto that website. “Product” has been affected by the opportunities in “Promotion” and “Place”. Previously tangible products can now be sent over the internet via an intangible form. The use of Encyclopedias is an example. The various channels of distribution have also significantly benefited from the emergence of information technology. B2B distribution from producers of goods or services to organizational customers can now be controlled more efficiently.
Some businesses have moved away from B2B distribution to intermediate distribution where a producer sells directly to the customer. Dot com businesses have taken advantage of this situation such as E-Bay, basing their whole strategy on this form of direct distribution. Businesses now have more options in respect to communication with customers. With this, they can gain valuable feedback which can ultimately lead to innovative products meeting the needs identified by the customers. This is similar to “Relationship Marketing” which focuses on the retention of customers through service orientation.
According to Kotler “Companies must move from a short-term transaction-orientated goal to a long-term relationship-building goal” (Kotler cited in Farhoomand 2005). This is a useful long term strategy but does not guarantee sales within the short term. Depending on the overall marketing strategy of an organization, this may or may not be a successful strategy. Combe (2006) looks at the way Microsoft bundles its software products with its operating system in order to optimize brand exposure.
Microsoft charges for the whole product including the extras which means it can be sold at a higher price while promoting itself simultaneously. Brassington and Pettitt describe the decision on a certain price as a “delicate balance between serving the customer’s needs and wants and serving the need of the organization to recoup its costs of manufacturing and marketing and to make a profit” (Brassington and Pettitt 2006) In conclusion the benefits of information technology are principally the advantages of communication.
Lovelock (2001) suggests that the success or failure of dot com business relies heavily on the strategies involved in its marketing. Many businesses failed due to insufficient market analysis and the reliance on short term. Perhaps a strategy of relationship marketing may have benefitted these businesses in creating customer loyalty. References Farhoomand, A. (2005) “Managing (e) Business Transformation: A Global Perspective”. Palgrave Macmillan. Armstrong, G ; Kotler, P. (2003) “Marketing: An Introduction” Prentice Hall: New Jersey. Combe, C. (2006) “Introduction to E-Business: Management and Strategy”.
First Edition. Oxford: Elsevier. Brassington, F ; Pettit, S. (2006) “Principles of Marketing”. Pearson: Essex. Rafiq, M ; Ahmed, P. K. (1995) “Using The 7 P’s as a Generic Marketing Mix”. The Journal of Marketing Intelligence and Planning [Online] Vol. 13 Peattie, K. (1997) “The Marketing Mix in the Third Age of Computing”. The Journal of Marketing Intelligence and Planning [Online] Vol. 15 Lovelock, C. (2001) “The dot-com meltdown: what does it mean for teaching and research in services? ” The Journal of Marketing Service Quality [Online] Vol. 11