3.4 Marketing mix
There are many definitions of marketing. The one we shall use works for not-for-profit and commercial organisations, puts customer satisfaction at the heart of marketing and gives appropriate emphasis to distribution – that is, making sure the customer actually receives what you provide.
Marketing is the creation and distribution of customer satisfaction for an appropriate return on resources and effort.
The ‘marketing mix’ was one of the key concepts born in the post-war boom in the 1950s and 1960s. Early marketer Philip Kotler (2003) defines it as ‘the set of tools that the firm uses to pursue its marketing objectives in its target market’.
There are four aspects to the original marketing mix (McCarthy, 1987):
The model has been criticised as being rather outdated and difficult to use in industrial and service companies. As western markets have become more service-orientated, the ‘product’ variable has been adapted to incorporate products and services. The ‘place’ variable is also difficult to apply to a service environment where sales are often made directly to the consumer without any intermediary involvement (e.g. the digital downloading of music and films).
Booms and Bitner noticed the move from product to service marketing and introduced the seven Ps concept. This recognised the importance of three additional variables in marketing, namely: people, process and physical evidence (Booms and Bitner, 1981). We will return to this extended model later in the section.
However, the four Ps model is still a useful and simple tool to use when embarking on the early stages of planning a marketing strategy, and we will work primarily with the four Ps. These four tools (product, price, place and promotion) are interdependent and the trick is to find the right ‘mix’ to satisfy customers.