• new opportunities for varying the mix;
• examples of companies that have achieved this;
• possible negative implications (threats) for each opportunity.
The key issues related to different elements of the marketing mix that are discussed in this chapter are:
• Product - are there opportunities for modifying the core or extended product online?
• Price - the implications of the Internet for pricing and the adoption of new pricing models or strategies.
• Place - the implications for distribution.
• Promotion (what new promotional tools can be applied) - this is only discussed briefly in this chapter since it is described in more detail in Chapter 8.
• People, process and physical evidence - these are not discussed in detail in this chapter since their online application is covered in more detail in Chapters 6, 7 and 9 in connection with customer relationship management and managing and maintaining the online presence.
Before embarking on a review of the role of the Internet on each of the 7 Ps, it is worth briefly restating some of the well-known criticisms of applying the marketing mix as a solitary tool for marketing strategy. First and perhaps most importantly, the marketing mix, because of its origins in the 1960s, is symptomatic of a push approach to marketing and does not explicitly acknowledge the needs of customers. As a consequence, the marketing mix tends to lead to a product orientation rather than customer orientation - a key concept of market orientation and indeed a key Internet marketing concept (see Chapter 8, for example). To mitigate this effect, Lautenborn (1990) suggested the 4 Cs framework which considers the 4 Ps from a customer perspective. In brief, the 4 Cs are:
• customer needs and wants (from the product);
• convenience (relative to place);
• communication (promotion).
This customer-centric approach also lends itself well online, since the customer is often in an active comparison mode rather than a passive media consumption mode.
It follows that the selection of the marketing mix is based on detailed knowledge of buyer behaviour collected through market research. Furthermore, it should be remembered that the mix is often adjusted according to different target markets or segments to better meet the needs of these customer groupings.
Although it is useful to apply existing frameworks to new channels, the emphasis of the importance of different parts of a framework may vary. As you read this chapter, you should consider which are the key elements of the mix which can be varied online for the different types of online presence introduced in Chapter 1, i.e. transactional e-commerce, relationship-building, brand-building and media owner portal. Allen and Fjermestad (2001) and Harridge-March (2004) have reviewed how the Internet has impacted the main elements of the marketing mix. There is no denying that all of the elements are still important, but Smith and Chaffey (2005) have said that, online, Partnerships is the eighth P since this is so important in achieving reach and affiliation. In this text, though, Partnerships will be considered as part of Place and Promotion.
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