One of the most commonly known and used marketingconcepts to marketers is the preeminent marketing mix, the four Ps – Price,Product, Promotion, and Place. The traditional marketing mix is an important tool to enable one to see that fromthe marketing manager’s point of view, to leverage on the strengths in themarketing mix against its competitors. Marketing managers have to strategicallyallocate available resources amongst the various competitive tools within themarketing mix and by doing that; a marketing philosophy and brand identity isbeing instilled in the organisation. Tracing the roots of the original marketingmix, Neil H. Borden first introduced the concept of the marketing mix thatoriginally has 12 elements: – Product Planning, Pricing, Branding, Channels of Distribution (Place),Personal Selling, Advertising, Promotions, Packaging, Display, Servicing,Physical Handling, Fact Finding and Analysis (Borden, 1964). It is a starkcontrast from the simplified version that we know today and the main reason whythe four Ps is such a powerful and popular concept is because it makesmarketing easy to manage as it categorises the four broad key elements of aproduct. But over the past few decades since the conceptualization of the four Ps,drastic changes have occurred due to the exponential rise of modern-daytechnology that are unheard of before the growth of social media and thepopularization of Internet of everything.
Due to this change, there are manywho have argued that the four Ps have become obsolete today. According to Gronroos(1997), the traditional marketing mix is thought to be too restricted and thishas resulted in discussions towards a new marketing landscape where theimportance of services and relationship marketing has been stressed. Therefore,this essay aims to critically assess the answer to the question: does thetraditional marketing mixes that have been used so prevalently by marketers forthe past fifty years still hold the same value and standing in the marketinglandscape today. The largest change to the traditional marketingmix is the onset of services marketing as an apparent business strategy bymanagement (Lovelock, 1996) due to the factthat products offered today differ greatly of those from the yester-years whenthe four Ps were theorised: the rise of services goods in many advancedeconomies such as tourism, financial products and telecommunication. Therefore, aconsiderable amount of effort to distinguish between product and servicesmarketing has been prioritised on re-evaluating the traditional marketing mix forservices marketing. The marketing of services is being presented as specificand exclusive by demonstrating that different decisions-making metrics areneeded when compared to goods marketing. There is also an increasing agreementamongst marketing academics that services marketing are inherently differentfrom goods marketing because of their intangibility, perishability,heterogeneity and inseparability (Berry, 1984; Lovelock, 1979; Shostack, 1977)so therefore, a different marketing mix will be necessary (Booms and Bitner,1981).
What is so different from services marketing when compared to the four Psis the augmentation of three new elements that must be considered during themarketing processes in order to make it systematic and competent. With theaddition of another three Ps: Personnel, Physical assets, and Procedures, theseven Ps framework is formed. This transitioncaused a reassessment of traditional marketing elements thought process byblurring the lines between goods and services and causing a cognizance ofreality that many products today is a hybrid between tangibility andintangibility (Goldsmith, 1999).
These changes have exacerbate the stresson marketers to shift their approach away from mass marketing to ways thatfacilitates personalisation and customer interaction. This switch allows themarketers to enhance communications with their intended customer groups, beingable to precisely pin-point the perpetually evolving customer needs, pre-emptand react swiftly to any shifts in trends (Constantinides, 2006). There area few flaws in the four Ps that has lead to the point where most academics haverecommended that the framework should not be the basis of groundwork for consumermarketing management (Constantinides, 2006).
The primeconstraint is that it is too product-centric and not customer-oriented(Popovic, 2006). Lauterborn (1990) also claims that each of the elements in thefour Ps should be looked at from the customer’s point of view. Möller (2006)highlighted certain criticisms where external elements such as customerbehavior are not considered and they are taken as passive which in truth, theyaren’t. Therefore, this approach restricts any form of interaction and it doesnot capture any relationships nor offer help for personalisation of marketingstrategies to individual customers. Doyle (1994), and Yudelson (1999) also concurthat the four Ps disregards the changing characteristics of the consumer wholooks out not only for better value but also more control on the transactionprocess. By approaching marketing with an agenda to buildrelationships by the long haul through pleasing customers, it has altered goodsmarketers’ way of addressing their marketing strategy through the inclusion oftheir customers instead of just being product-centric.
As a result of thechange in marketing theory, there is an overhaul in marketing practices bybusinesses and the management are now forced to use the extension of the sevenPs, as they are able to identify that, with the nature of the products beingoffered today, one thing that is certain would be features of services such ascustomer service and warranty are definitely very prevalent. Many businesseshave benefited from the shift to service-centric connection with theircustomers (Taylor, 1998). By inclusion and improvement of the services that aretagged along side with the physical products have resulted in higher customercontentment and profits due to the fact that customer satisfaction levels areraised. Due to intensifying global competition and companies looking for newideas and ways to stay competitive, one of the most exceptional differences inthe marketing strategies has been the distinct attention shift from producttransaction to relationship building. There has also been a recent realisationby marketers of the advantages to provide personalisation and long-term valueto customers; recurrent customers are just as vital as seeking new ones (McKenna1991; Rozenberg and Czepiel 1992). Therefore, Goldsmith (1999) proposed the 8thP paradigm: personalisation.
Massproductions methods, principles of uniformity, effective operations, and anall-purpose manufacturing outlook have caused in the past: a mindset ofbusiness that emphasises selling as many standard products as possible (Lampeland Mintzberg, 1996). Marketingexecutives who have sought out to pinpoint and approach consumers moreaccurately have used a reversed method. Thus, there has been a progressivelychanging move in the thoughts and practice of the traditional marketing mix inthe 1950s where mass marketing was widely preferred and throughout the decadestill the turn of the century, marketers have gradually pushed for tinier markettargets (Schiller, 1989). At this present moment, with this wide array ofstrategies available to managers, they have a choice to use them in a situationwhere it suits them the most. The marketing practice of the future will beshaped by the abundance of approaches from customers. Marketers will and areable to implement a multitude and combination of strategies targeting the boththe masses and niche markets.
Part of this combination will be personalisation,where certain customers are aimed independently in an exclusive and personalrelationship (Logman, 1997; Peppers and Rogers, 1993; Taylor, 1998).