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 hold that a successful marketing plan must place the customers at the center of the marketing plan (Lauterborm, 1990).
Thus, instead of the product-centric nature of the 4P’s, one is encouraged to pursue a customer-focused strategy which would take as its focus customer needs, convenience, communication and customer’s cost. The need to move from product to customer-oriented model because of the dynamic nature of the current marketplaces and customers, is now informed of the best market offers for them by electronic and computing devices. Hence, 4P’s as a marketing mix has outlived its days as the most efficient and relevant for today’s marketers.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 providing a broader perspective. Some respondents explicitly mentioned the inclusion of participants as a strength.
The process variable was also mentioned but not as frequent as the participant’s variable. 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 4Ps does, hence, we shall examine its aims and strengths.