The Business Book

(Joyce) #1


Fashion store Zara concentrates its
marketing mix on “Place.” It is able to
deliver new designs to its store floors
in just under two weeks.

Ps, they’ve endured as an effective
method for organizing the major
tactical tools marketers can deploy
in a competitive marketplace.”

The four Ps in practice
In an industry such as fashion,
which by its nature needs to be
forward thinking and to embrace
e-commerce and m-commerce, the
Four Ps are still in evidence. To
cater for the immediacy demanded
by fashion-conscious customers, UK
street-wear fashion brand Bench has
focused on “Place”—in this instance
the speed at which the product can
reach retail outlets. Rather than
relying on the usual trade-show
route and showroom invitations,
Bench uses a more direct approach.
Sales people take samples to
retailers, and send orders directly
to headquarters while still with the
retailer. An automated system then
generates purchase orders to the
manufacturing site within hours.
From the customer’s point of view
(both individual consumers and
retail outlets), styles arrive quickly,
keeping the brand fresh. For the

company it means greater efficiency,
more accurate revenue forecasting,
and a greatly reduced risk of being
overstocked at the end of the season.
The marketing mix of fashion
chain Zara embodies the Four Ps.
Because of an emphasis on “Place”
(distribution), new products are
delivered twice a week, and there
are only 10–15 days from the
sketching of a new design to the
item’s arrival on the store floor. Such
a streamlined approach to “Place”
means that “Product” reflects
immediate trends; “Promotion”
happens on the instant channel
of the Internet; and “Price” is kept
low due to the emphasis on “Place.”
Marketing guru Philip Kotler
has acknowledged alternatives to
the Four Ps, but maintains that
they still make a useful framework.
More recently, in 2013, he suggested
a fifth P—Purpose. This is not only
the purpose of a business to make
money, but also a higher purpose of
being a good corporate citizen. This
fifth element is a concept embraced
by Zara, a company that has kept 50
percent of manufacturing in Spain
rather than subcontracting it to
Asia. Not only can the business
react more quickly to changing
fashions, it can also be applauded
for keeping employment local. ■


Marketing pioneers

Neil Borden recognized the
importance of creating a
marketing methodology—
a set of stated intentions for
marketers to follow. When he
put forward his marketing mix
concept in 1953, he drew on
theories developed by earlier
marketing thinkers.
Ralph Butler, professor at
the University of Wisconsin,
pioneered the use of the term
“marketing” by developing a
course on selling called
“marketing methods” in 1910.
A few years later in 1915, H. W.
Shaw wrote Some Problems in
Marketing Distribution, in
which he identified the tasks
of production and distribution.
Paul Cherington and Paul
Ivey, among others in the
1920s, further consolidated
marketing as a field of scholarly
pursuit, laying the groundwork
for marketing as a college
course in its own right. In the
1920s and 1930s, Paul Dulaney
Converse described key
elements of the marketing
mix—distribution, pricing, and
advertising—and emphasized
the need to coordinate
marketing activities.

Marketing mix represents the
setting of the company’s
marketing decision variables
at a particular point of time.
Philip Kotler
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