American marketing professor and book author E. Jerome McCarthy first introduced the original and modern marketing mix composed of the 4 Ps in 1960. Another American marketing professor and consultant name Phillip Kotler was responsible for popularizing the model both in the realm of the academe and the actual practice or profession of marketing.
The original 4 Ps of the marketing mix which represents product, price, place, and promotion underwent numerous modifications and expansions. For example, marketing strategists and authors B. Booms and M. J. Bitner proposed the 7 Ps model in 1981 which includes the 4Ps of McCarthy and the addition of process, people, and physical evidence.
Advertising and marketing professor Robert F. Lauterborn proposed a more consumer-oriented version of the 4 Ps model in 1990 which he called the 4 Cs classification. This model consists of consumer, cost, convenience, and communication and it is somewhat similar to the 4 Cs model introduced by Koichi Shimizu in 1973 and the 7 Cs Compass Model.
Importance of the Marketing Mix: Applications
The marketing mix and all the relevant models associated with it collectively represent one of the fundamental concepts used in business schools and marketing programs. Furthermore, the entire mix in itself represents a generic model for developing a business or marketing strategy and for analyzing an existing business organization or its competitors.
Of course, to appreciate the importance of the marketing mix further, it is also critical to highlight the fact that it provides business owners and marketers with a framework for defining their products and all of the relevant strategies and tactics needed to sell them to the target market. It is one of the foundations of marketing theory.
The following are the specific benefits and applications:
• One of the benefits of the marketing mix is that it provides budding entrepreneurs and even established business owners and marketers with a template on how to approach product development from conception to distribution.
• Considering specific models such as the 4 Ps of McCarthy or the more expansive Ps of Booms and Bitner and the 4 Cs of Lauterborn, it is also a broad guideline for putting the right product in the right market, as well as at the right price and time.
• The identification of the elements and pointers relevant to the development and marketing of a particular product can also help in guiding decision-makers allocate resources across all stages of product development and marketing.
• It is interesting to note that the concept also considers all aspects of product development as an integral part of marketing, especially in the development and implementation of a marketing strategy and marketing activities.
• Another notable application of the marketing mix is that it can also be used as an analytical framework for analyzing the marketing strategies of competitors or profiling other business organizations.
• It can also complement or be used alongside other analytical models and strategical frameworks and tools such as the infamous SWOT analysis, the Porter Five Forces model, and the PESTLE strategic framework.
Criticisms of the Marketing Mix: Limitations
The importance of marketing mix has been recognized across the marketing literature, including textbooks used in the academe and the manuals used by marketing professionals. Remember that it is one of the fundamental principles or concepts discussed and used in business management. However, it has some notable drawbacks or shortcomings.
It is important to note that the introduction of specific models beyond the original 4 Ps of McCarthy has highlighted the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for approaching marketing or the more specific product development initiative. The mix can limit the potential of a business organization or its capabilities in introducing products in the market.
The following are the specific drawbacks and limitations:
• One of the major criticisms of the marketing mix is that it can limit the creative potential of entrepreneurs and marketers. Both the general model and the specific models or frameworks confine an individual or an organization within an established set of elements that can restrict creative and critical thinking.
• Some practitioners have noted that it is also more focused on goods or tangible products for end-use consumers or so-called consumer products. The model is not entirely suitable for marketing services or intangible products and commodities, as well as for some organizations that operated based on a business-to-business model.
• Another limitation of the marketing mix is that it does not readily take into account the need to align financial goals and objectives with marketing goals and objectives. Most often make the mistake of creating a mix that can lead to unprofitable decisions because of their failure to consider revenue and profitability.
• Furthermore, when used as a tool for analyzing competitors or profiling other business organizations, it cannot stand on its own when it comes to getting deeper market insights or more detailed commercial intelligence. It must be used alongside other analytical tools. Note that it is also dependent on the quality of information obtained.
• The aforesaid disadvantages of the marketing mix also highlight the drawbacks and limitations of other generic models and frameworks used in business. These include the SWOT model, the Five Forces model and the Generic Strategies of Micheal E. Porter, and the PESTLE strategic framework, among others. These concepts can be too broad and general.