Article One-The Market Mix Revisited: Towards the 21st Century Marketing
Article One-The Market Mix Revisited: Towards the 21st Century Marketing
Constantinides, E. (2006) dissects the current utility of the “4 P’s” or “Marketing Mix” of mainstream marketing: Product, Price, Promotion, and Placement in the context of the 21st century marketplace. As such, authors note, the 4P concept–which has existed for nearly sixty years–has accrued criticisms of all sorts, especially given the change in advertising from largely print-based to a now thorough mix of print and digital marketing. The authors show how one type of criticism highlights the Marketing Mix’ lack of acknowledgement of individual preference, i.e., human beings’ preferences are highly subjective. Others suggest the 4 P’s be replaced with something more customer oriented, such as “4 C’s” (Customers, Competitors, Capabilities, Company; or Customer Needs, Convenience, Cost, Communication), or completely re-inventing the 4 P’s: Performance, Penalty, Perception, Process. Others still suggest a marketing mix based on a dozen or more factors. Regardless of the specific criticism to the Marketing Mix, Constantinides, E. (2006) shows the general trend of suggestions for improvement of the Marketing Mix include the acknowledgement of a much more globalized, individualistic, and savvy customer than the one which existed in the 1960s. In addition, the 4 P’s approach as originally conceived did not account for a constantly shifting, 24/7 advertising mindset nowadays dominated by online marketing. As such, whatever marketing mix is used by an advertiser, it must not only accomplish its advertising goal, but also needs to be flexible to the nowadays-unstable needs of customers.
Article Two-The Elements of Value
Almquist et al. (2016) note at the very beginning of its article that marketers establish the value of a good/service primarily in the context of what will generate profits. Although it is not a very consumer-friendly or sensitive approach and Article One noted, marketers simply do not have the time or resources to build/market a product to the whims of seven billion highly individualistic customers. Marketers, therefore, must make value assumptions based on what they–not consumers–believe a product/service is worth. Using Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”, however, the authors developed “The Elements of Value”, a 30-value pyramid in which most people live their lives. According to the authors, at the base of this pyramid are the tangible (Functional) elements of life, such as “saves time”, “makes money”, “reduces costs”, etc. If fulfilled, those elements inform humans’ intangible (Emotional) elements such as “nostalgia”, “wellness”, “fun/entertainment”, etc. If fulfilled, those elements of value generate Life Changing elements, such as “motivation”, “hope”, “belonging”, etc. And if all those elements are met, the customer reaches the summit of “self-trascendence”. That said, the authors readily acknowledge while no one product/service can achieve all thirty elements, profitable companies’ advertising scores multiple elements of value. However, a company need not aspire to hit as many elements as possible. The authors observe, for example, a brokerage company should focus on common elements of quality and heirloom, while a grocer should focus on quality, variety, and low cost. Underlying all this, the authors also observe what Article One pointed out: a successful business in the 21st century must be able to segment its customer base before attempting to market its products based on elements of value.
Article Three–The CEO of Levi Strauss on Leading an Iconic Brand Back to Growth
In 2011, Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh joined Levi Strauss as its CEO after nearly 30 years with Procter & Gamble. Levi’s financial performance had taken a very negative turn by the time Bergh joined the company, and in the article he addresses its financial doldrums during that period, and the company’s recovery. However, Bergh did not address the multiple errors Levi Strauss committed to place itself in that predicament. He also did not more specifically address how Levi would compete in a global marketplace (see article one) with dozens of denim makers. That said, Bergh also addressed the listening tours he undertook as well as visiting a Levi customer in Bangalore, India. Interestingly, the article did not directly state how or why Levi picked that particular person. It was also surprising the CEO did not mention anything about profiling its “typical” to see where the majority of them lived, or if the lady interviewed was Levi’s “typical” customer, or was a purely random selection. All that said, the lady did seem to project different values onto different pants, at least indirectly referencing Article Two’s Elements of Value. The article was written in 2018 and data analytics and web scraping were already in existence then, so I found it interesting when the CEO said Levi placed a premium on in-home visits, but did not reference the far cheaper and potentially more effective use of data mining and web scraping software to how customers use Levi products. This is addressed in more detail in the Conclusion.
I found all articles interesting, but noted the first two–written a decade apart and by two completely different sets of authors–were largely in agreement with the notion that the 4P marketing mix model was outdated. They specifically agreed it needed improvement vis-a-vis customer segmentation and adaptability, especially as it applied to online advertising. I must confess, however, not being impressed with Article Three. The interview to me appeared too rosy at times, and only vaguely discussed tougher topics such as cost cutting measures. It also did not directly address how it would adjust its marketing given the rise of Amazon and other retailers. Related, Bergh did not address Levi’s brick-and-mortar stores’ viability in an era where more and more shopping moves online. Of note, this article was written four years ago. That said, the pre-pandemic world and post-pandemic are essentially oil and water, and I am curious how Levi Strauss has altered its strategy given the lingering effects of the lockdown and supply chain issues. On a side note, one of my master’s degrees has a concentration in data analytics, and I was rather surprised that only article two indirectly referenced the use of data to help construct potential customer profiles. Data analytics can be performed using web scraping, which Boegershausen et al. (2022) consists of using software which scours, or “scrapes” the internet for virtually everything from Amazon reviews, to Google picture uploads, trending Twitter topics, etc. So for a company which prided itself on technology and sustainability, its CEO did not mention anything about web scraping Facebook, Google or Instagram posts to see how or if Levi (or any other denim retailer) was trending online. This would be in my opinion a far faster and cheaper way to build customer profiles by seeing how, when, and/or where Levi products are used.
Almquist, E., Senior, J., & Bloch, N. (2016). The elements of value: Measuring – and delivering – what consumers really want. Harvard Business Review, 94(9), 46.
Bergh, C. (2018). The CEO of Levi Strauss on leading an iconic brand back to growth. Harvard Business Review, 96(4), 33.
Boegershausen, J., Datta, H., Borah, A., & Stephen, A. T. (2022). Fields of Gold: Scraping Web Data for Marketing Insights. Journal of Marketing, 86(5), 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1177/00222429221100750
Constantinides, E. (2006). The marketing mix revisited: Towards the 21st century marketing. Journal of Marketing Management, 22(3-4), 407-438. https://doi.org/10.1362/026725706776861190
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