The selling mix is among the most widely accepted selling constructs in the universe of concern ( McCarthy 1960 ; Bartels 1983 ; Shapiro 1985 ) . However, over the old ages the selling mix has come under intense examination from both faculty members of the selling subject and practicians likewise. This feeling was captured by Constantinides when he stated:
”Few subjects of the commercial theory have so intensively inspired every bit good as
divided the selling academe as the 4Ps Marketing Mix model ” ( Constantinides, 2006: p.407 )
This essay aims to critically measure the relevancy of the selling mix for the current selling attacks. To carry through this, an overview of the selling mix is given. This is followed by an geographic expedition of some of the modern-day attacks to marketing which will take to a consideration of the statements in support of the selling mix and the unfavorable judgments against it. Finally, in the visible radiation of the statements and criticisms the relevancy of the selling mix for modern-day attacks to selling will be appraised.
OVERVIEW OF THE MARKETING MIX
The selling mix can be defined as the governable and tactical selling tools that the house combines to accomplish the coveted response in its mark market. It comprises all the steps the house can use to excite the demand for its goods and/or services ( Kotler and Armstrong, 2008 ) . The ultimate end of any house is to make a merchandise or service that will be perceived as unique in the eyes of prospective consumers so that they will prefer it to other viing trade names. In making this alone merchandising proposition ( USP ) , the sellers can intermix four basic ingredients in a figure of different ways to obtain different consequences. These four ingredients are normally referred to as the 4Ps and comprise- merchandise, monetary value, topographic point ( distribution ) and publicity ( Baker, 2007 ) .
Costantinides ( 2006 ) and Gronroos ( 1994 ) trace the beginning of the selling mix to the sixtiess when Neil Borden identified 12 governable selling constituents that would give net income if decently managed. Borden considered the selling mix to be a concise, realistic and graphic look of the alloy of the selling ingredients, techniques and procedures chosen by a selling director to make a selling program ( Banting and Ross, 1973 ; Waterschoot and Van den Bulte, 1992 ) . It was subsequently reduced to four factors by Jerome McCarthy ( McCarthy, 1964 cited in Constantinides, 2006 ) and this simplified version became the most widely recognized definition of the selling mix ( Judd, 2002 ) . The “ 4Ps ” selling mix commanded extreme regard in the heads of both selling bookmans and practicians for decennaries that in the words of Gronroos ( 1994 ) and Kent ( 1986 ) it was considered unorthodoxy to dispute its place as the basic foundation of all selling thought. This belief strongly reinforces the laterality of the selling mix during this period and suggests that there was a demand for a theory that could be applied for the solution of most marketing direction issues.
Harmonizing to Harker and Egan ( 2006 ) certain economic conditions contributed to the sensed high quality of the selling mix paradigm. Harker and Egan ( 2006 ) opine that a cardinal characteristic of the United States domestic market after the Second World War was homogeneousness of merchandises which resulted in increased demand for standardized consumer merchandises and the rise of the USA as the dominant selling civilization. The demand, notwithstanding, there was demand to guarantee that ingestion matched end product ( Packard, 1957 cited in Harker and Egan, 2006 ) . Therefore, a formal and dependable selling attack was required to supply this tantrum ( O’Malley and Patterson, 1998 ) . The popularity and laterality of the selling mix paradigm was further enhanced by its simpleness and easiness of communicating ( Waterschoot and Van den Bulte 1992 ; Constantinides, 2006 ; Harker and Egan, 2006 ) .
From the above entry, it can be argued that the selling mix paradigm was borne out of necessity- a necessity for a simple, realistic and dependable model that could be applied for the solution of general and specific selling jobs that arose in that epoch. Sing the under-developed selling construction and knowledge spread that existed at that clip, the preparation of the 4Ps selling mix paradigm could non hold come at a better clip. Therefore, it goes without stating that the relevancy of its application to the transactional selling approach- the primary attack to selling in the twentieth century- is beyond doubt.
However, due to the defects of the transactional attack to selling, there was the demand for a paradigm displacement from a product-oriented attack to one that focused on the client. Therefore, the academe and selling practicians began to oppugn the efficaciousness of the selling mix model as the reply to all selling jobs. The 4Ps were considered excessively narrow to adequately turn to the many facets of selling direction and laid inordinate accent on the merchandise and processes with small or no idea for the client. The increased edification of clients and the dynamic nature of the concern environment meant that administrations had to accommodate on a regular basis to the alterations that occur in the environment or hazard losing market portion with the effect of possible settlement. This state of affairs led to the outgrowth of several modern selling attacks that shifted attending from the merchandise to the client thereby showing in the epoch of market orientation.
Some of the modern-day attacks to selling that emerged as a response to the uninterrupted development of the concern environment include Relationship selling, Interaction selling and Network selling ( Constantinides, 2006 ; Coviello et Al, 1997 ; Gronroos, 1997 ) . These modern attacks demanded a re-thinking of the selling procedure in order to accomplish effectual and efficient execution. Based on this demand for a re-definition of the selling procedure, it was inevitable that the selling mix paradigm would come up for argument with respects to the relevancy of its application to the aforesaid selling attacks.
Relationship selling involves the development and care of reciprocally fulfilling exchange dealingss with clients and other parties at a net income, so that the aims of all the parties are realised ( Gronroos, 1994 ; Baker, 2007, Coviello et Al, 1997 ) . The deduction of this point of view is that every administration must collaborate with other parties within its concern environment and beyond in order to accomplish its ultimate purpose. The twenty-first century market is full with chances and challenges that were comparatively unknown in the twentieth century. To tackle the chances and get the better of the challenges efficaciously and expeditiously entails constructing up a long-run relationship with the clients and all other stakeholders that straight or indirectly act upon an administration ‘s operations. This state of affairs suggests that certain alterations would hold to happen in the administration ‘s overall concern procedures, particularly the selling processes, to guarantee a seamless execution of relationship selling.
Gronroos ( 1994 ) , Gummesson ( 1994, 1997 ) and Goldsmith ( 1999 ) argue that houses rehearsing a transactional selling attack base to profit most from a traditional selling mix attack because of the absence of personal interactions with their clients and accent on mass markets. However, the selling mix tends to be restrictive for a relation-oriented house. The most important client interactions from a selling success position are outside the range of the selling mix and selling specializers. The client decides whether to keep concern dealingss with a house based on the consequence of his/her contacts with the people, engineering, and operations and other non-marketing maps. This place is supported by Ailawadi et Al ( 2001 ) who doubt the impact of publicity and advertisement as selling tools for client keeping. This proposition suggests that the client ‘s interactions with any steadfast transcends the selling maps and includes all indirect minutess with the non-marketing maps within the house. Relationship selling advocates the inclusion of all the functional units in any administration towards making value for the client. The effectual and efficient execution of this customer-oriented attack requires that certain critical alterations occur within the administration. These needed alterations will cut across the whole administration, but will concentrate more on the selling maps because of the direct and frequent interactions with the clients. The alteration in the selling maps will take to a complete displacement or alterations in the methods tools adopted by the administration in making value for the client. This, constantly, would ask a reappraisal of the administration ‘s selling mix. Such reappraisals have surfaced in Kotler ‘s redefinition of the 4Ps to the 4Cs viz. , client solution, client cost, convenience and communicating ( Kotler et al. , 1999 cited in Kruger et al. , 2003 and Ashcroft and Hoey 1999 ) . This redefinition suggests a displacement from the epoch of product-orientation to customer-orientation which is the kernel of relationship selling. However, it besides suggests that the selling mix is still relevant but there is demand for some alteration to accommodate the dynamic selling environment. Judd ( 2002 ) proposes an enlargement of the 4Ps selling mix by including the employees of any administration as the fifth “ P ” . This point of view is supported by the fact that the employees are an built-in portion of any administration. They are the point of contact between the administration and its clients. However, like Kotler ‘s 4Cs, this proposed enlargement of the 4Ps to 5Ps besides points to the relevancy of the selling mix, but with some alteration to accommodate appropriate markets. This statement is supported by Groonroos ( 1994 ) when he opines that relationships do non run in isolation. Relationships map in combination with the other selling tools already in operation within a given administration in order to successfully make value for both the client and the administration. The application of the traditional selling mix elements of merchandise, monetary value, publicity and topographic point would be necessary at some point in the interactions between the client and the administration. This point of view implies that, notwithstanding the unfavorable judgment of the traditional selling mix paradigm, its elements still contribute in one manner or the other in the effectual execution of the relationship selling attack.
Criticism of the selling mix has besides arisen in the country of societal selling. Murphy et al. , ( 1978 ) argue that the execution of certain selling schemes is unethical particularly in the country of packaging, publicity, monetary value and distribution channels. This statement tends to propose that the selling mix is responsible for the unethical patterns that may happen during execution. However, duty for the execution of the selling mix is within the horizon of the selling and non-marketing functional units within the administration. They are responsible for any unethical patterns that may happen in the class of implementing the selling schemes and non the selling mix.
Besides, the selling mix has been applied by societal selling in the public wellness sector. Montoya et Al, ( 2005 ) , Pirani and Reizes ( 2005 ) and Grier and Bryant ( 2005 ) agree that the application of the selling mix is indispensable in the function of societal selling in public wellness. The elements are combined in different ways to convey about the coveted alteration in the mark market.
Attempts have been made to integrate the selling mix theory into other non-marketing sectors. Lees-Marshment ( 2001 ) suggests that political parties have adopted a “ marketing-orientation ” with important electoral success. Lloyd ( 2003 ) suggests the application of the selling mix to the political sphere by urging the development of a political selling mix that comprises five constituents viz. , services offering, representation, adjustment, investing and result. The deduction of the aforesaid suggestions is that the selling mix can lend tremendously to the smooth operation of political parties in peculiar, and the authorities in general.
Though the selling mix has been criticised as being excessively narrow and product-oriented, it is still relevant in modern-day selling attacks. As has been discussed above, there is demand for some alterations in the mix portfolio. Redefinition of the selling mix does non cut down its relevancy ; it merely serves to switch its focal point to the modern tendencies in the market topographic point. Besides, the relevancy of the selling mix is reinforced by its application to non-marketing sectors such as political relations and the public wellness sector. This displacement suggests that with the right alterations, the selling mix can be applied in any country of human enterprise.