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Marketing academia as the 4Ps Marketing Mix framework, “the Rosetta stone of marketing education” according to Lauterborn (1990). The Mix has its origins in the 60’s: Neil Borden (1964) identified twelve controllable marketing elements that, properly managed, would result to a “profitable business operation”. Jerome McCarthy (1964) reduced Borden’s factors to a simple fourelement framework: Product, Price, Promotion and Place. Practitioners and academics alike promptly embraced the Mix paradigm that soon became the prevalent and indispensable element of marketing theory and operational marketing management.
The majority of marketing practitioners consider the Mix as the toolkit of transaction marketing and archetype for operational marketing planning (Grönroos 1994). While empirical evidence on the exact role and contribution of the Mix to the success of commercial organizations is very limited, several studies confirm that the 4Ps Mix is indeed the trusted conceptual platform of practitioners dealing with tactical/operational marketing issues (Sriram and Sapienza 1991; Romano and Ratnatunga 1995; Coviello et al. 2000). 1
The wide acceptance of the Mix among field marketers is the result of their profound exposure to this concept during college years, since most introductory marketing manuals embrace it as “the heart of their structure” (Cowell 1984) and identify the 4Ps as the controllable parameters likely to influence the consumer buying process and decisions (Kotler 2003). An additional strong asset of the mix is the fact that it is a concept easy to memorize and apply. In the words of David Jobber (2001): “The strength of the 4Ps approach is that it represents a memorable and practical framework for marketing decision-making and has proved useful for case study analysis in business schools for many years”. Enjoying large-scale endorsement, it is hardly surprising that the 4Ps became even synonymous to the very term marketing, as this was formulated by the American Marketing Association (Bennet 1995).
Next to its significance as a marketing toolkit, the Marketing Mix has played also an important role in the evolution of the marketing management science as a fundamental concept of the commercial philosophy (Rafiq and Ahmed 1995).