Analytical frameworks are the models designed by the experts who might have faced an problem earlier in either establishing or running a business unit. Fortunately, we can use these analytical frameworks to our advantage in order to identify the skills, organization techniques, examples and expertise of others (Lieberman, 2007).
The most prominent business tool which was first expressed by McCarthy (1960) is 4 Ps of marketing mix. Marketing mix gives a basic conceptual framework for the managers, these tools can be used to develop both long term strategies and short term tactical programs (Palmer, 2004). Product (To be designed as per the need of the customer)
Place (Place at which, product should be made available)
Price (cost at which the audience is ready to pay)
Promotion (Advertise to attract the audience)
Though, the 4Ps remain a staple of marketing mix. The paradigm shift with the emergence of E-commerce rose for critical analysis of marketing mix. Many management sub-disciplines like, consumer marketing, relationship marketing, services marketing and E-commerce does not implement the marketing mix in equal proportions (Moller, 2006). E-commerce or online marketing concentrates more on the price as, the product is well-known.
It also promotes intensively to push the consumer to buy the product so, Price & promotion are prioritized in E-commerce. Moller (2006) further criticized the 4Ps that it “does not consider customer behavior” (p. 4), is not suitable for service industry, “does not focus on relationship building” (p. 4), does not emphasize on the “customer-focused management” (Fakeideas, 2008, p. 4) and Product is stated in a singular sense but, most companies sell inter-dependent products (Fakeideas, 2008).
Lets evaluate if the Marketing mix can be implemented in developing a marketing plan for executive MBA program of University of Greenwich. Before launching the program, a primary plan of assessing the SWOT and PEST frameworks helps to identify various dimensions (Ergen, 2011). For instance, Legal and political environment affects the educational sector in its administration for an extended period which might create opportunities or threats (For instance, the UKBA rules of issuing student visa without the work permit effected the revenue of education sector).
Whereas, economic crisis and external forces may create opportunities for entering a new market otherwise, a threat for present market opportunities. Marketing mix misses out on the above mentioned external factors which are vital for a product or a service. Furthermore, the Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning of “MBA program” should probe certain questions like, Which segment of audience are more willing to pursue MBA? How effectively can we communicate about our Program to the target audience?
How does the audience perceive about our program? (Ergen, 2011). In service industry customer satisfaction & experience while availing a service is of paramount importance since, it creates brand equity and loyalty (Grove et al, 2000). Similarly, for an educational product building on brand equity and student loyalty creates a word-of-mouth publicity. Hence, a traditional marketing mix should be replaced by price, brand, packaging and relationships for an service industry (Beckwith, 2001).
To conclude, marketing mix is not a scientific theory, but merely a conceptual framework which aids decision makers in configuring their offerings to suit consumers needs (Palmer, 2004). Marketing mix misses out on many external factors and it is a typical model for manufacturing units who does not focus on service marketing. On a whole, any analytical framework gives an outline of business situation; the managers have to dig in more factors to understand the scenario thoroughly for better approach of solving a problem.