Chief amongst the criticism levelled against the traditional
marketing mix (i.e. 4Ps) rests on the argument that 4P’s mix is too product
oriented. Critics of this standpoint (Lauterborm, 1990) hold that a successful
marketing plan must place the customers in the centre of the marketing plan.

Thus, instead of the product-centric nature of the 4p’s one is encouraged to
purse a customer-focused strategy which would take as its focus customer needs,
convenience, communication and customer’s cost (Lauterborm, 1990). In his
defense, the need to move from product to customer oriented model is as a
result of the dynamic nature of the current marketplaces and customers
(Constantinides, 2006) who are now informed of the best market offers for them
by electronic and competing devices. Hence it 4p’s as a marketing mix has
outlived its days as the most efficient and relevant for today’s marketers.

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In a survey  carried
out in 1992 using UK’s Marketing
Education Group (MEG) Conference participants and the European Marketing
Academy (EMAC) Conference participants as respondents (mostly professors,
associate professors, lecturers and research fellows of marketing and/or
economics). It was inferred by Rafiq & Ahmed (1995) that 85% of the
respondents felt dissatisfaction with the 4Ps, they felt that the 4Ps concept
was deficient in some respects as a pedagogic tool. The respondents saw 7ps as
a better model citing comprehensiveness as the most frequently mentioned strength
of the 7Ps model. It was also thought to be more refined and detailed than the
4Ps model and was seen as providing a broader perspective. Some respondents
explicitly mentioned the inclusion of participants/people as a strength. The
process variable was also mentioned but not as frequently  the participants/people variable. The 7Ps mix
was also thought to be more  of a model
than the 4Ps mix. The standardization of the mix by extending the 7Ps
framework  to areas other than services
was also mentioned.

 

As a popular marketing mix, it is imperative to understand
what the 4p does, hence, we shall examine the strengths of 4p or what it is
aimed at doing. It doesn’t only makes marketing seem easy to handle, it also
allows the separation of marketing from 
other activities of the firm  and
the delegation of marketing tasks to specialists. The components of the
marketing mix can change a firm’s
competitive position (Grönroos, 1994). The traditional marketing  mix concept also has two important benefits.

First, it is an important tool used to enable one to see that the marketing
manager’s job is, in a large part, a
matter of trading off the benefits of one’s
competitive strengths in the marketing mix against the benefits of others. The
second benefit of the marketing mix as put forward by Gummesson (1997) is that
it helps to reveal another dimension of the marketing manager’s job All managers have to allocate available
resources among various demands, and the marketing manager will in turn
allocate these available resources among the various competitive devices of the
marketing mix. In doing so, this will help to instil the marketing philosophy
in the organisation (Low and Tan, 1995).

 

CONCLUSION

Despite the numerous criticism pitched against the
traditional marketing mix I believe it is still worth the use. However, as
against a complete introduction of another mix, I posit an adjustment of the
existing 4p. This will allow marketers to incorporate elements peculiar to
contemporary market and customers alongside sure general practices that are
seemingly unaffected by time and the changing nature of market setting.