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Marketing mix- The additional elements

Last updated: November 2016

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A brief history of the marketing mix

A number of writers have contributed to the development of the concept of marketing mix. The term marketing mix was first used by Neil Borden back in 1949. However, it is widely accepted that Edmund Jerome McCarthy, a marketing professor at the Michigan State University, is the architect of the first 4Ps of the marketing Mix. Booms and Binter have built on the work of McCarthy and suggested an extension of the mix in 1981 making it a total of 7Ps.  The first 4Ps stand for product, price, place and promotion.  The rest of the elements are 3Ps which stand for people, process and physical environment.

The additional elements of marketing MIX

The article is not about the 4Ps of the marketing mix. Rather, it is about the additional elements of the mix i.e. people, process and physical environment. It should be mentioned that the additional elements are very important in the service industry.


People usually refer to the employees of an organization with whom customers come into contact. This element of the marketing mix is very important for a number of reasons. For example, good employees can create a strong corporate image. By listening to the customers and collecting their feedback, employees can also help in the decision-making process of an organisation. In service industry, people become part of the service. For example, think about using a taxi without the taxi driver! The taxi driver (people) is inextricably linked with the service. Likewise, the waiters and waitress and their customer service play a significant role concerning customer satisfaction in a restaurant.


Process refers to a set of activities performed in order to achieve something. According to Baltzan & Philips (2008), business process is a standardized set of activities that accomplish a specific task, such as processing a customer’s order. For example, consider having lunch at a restaurant. The customers are greeted by the waiters/waitresses at the outset. The customers will then browse the menu to select their food. The waiters/waitresses will collect the order and once the food is ready, they will serve it the customers. The customers will then consume the food and by the end, pay the bill and leave the restaurant. This is a usual process of having food in a restaurant. It should be noted that different restaurants may have different processes. The process is very important for a number of reasons. For example, a delay in any stage of the process may lead to customer dissatisfaction.

Physical environment

Physical environment is also sometimes called physical evidence. It refers to the environment where sellers and buyers come into contact. It includes but not limited to all the tangible representations of a service such as furniture, aprons, menu, brochures, letterhead, business cards, reports, signage, and equipment. Physical environment plays an extremely important role in customer satisfaction. For example, the food in a restaurant may be delicious; however, if the waiters and waitresses wear unclean aprons, it may put customers off.

To conclude, all the elements of the marketing mix are important; however, they may not be equally important. One element may be more important than the others. What is the most important element in a restaurant? Is it food (product) or waiters/waitresses (people) or something else?

Further Reading/References

Kotler, P. and Armstrong, G. (2012) Principles of Marketing, 14th edition, London: Prentice Hall

Lancaster, G. and Reynolds, P. (2004) Marketing, 1st edition, New York: Palgrave Macmillan

Author: M Rahman

M Rahman writes extensively online and offline with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He holds an MSc in Tourism & Hospitality from the University of Sunderland. Also, graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a BA in Business & Management Studies and completed a DTLLS (Diploma in Teaching in the Life-Long Learning Sector) from London South Bank University.

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