Consumer Behaviours
Relationships between Marketing Mix Dimensions and Consumer Purchase Behaviours

 

1.       Defining the Concept of Marketing Mix

The concept of marketing mix is perhaps one of the most dominating marketing paradigm of today, within business schools (Gronroos, 1994), and that is not without reasons. Before discuss about the usefulness and practicality of the marketing mix framework, the concepts on marketing mix will be discussed. Generally, the concept of marketing mix can be understood as a collection of controllable marketing variable that a firm can manage, control and adjust in reaching, attracting, building relationship or communicating to the target audience (Atafar, Kazemi, Gheitarani and Toghra, 2011; Kotler and Keller, 2006). Under such a concept, it would then be not surprising that every firm would define its marketing mix differently, as there are many different marketing variables or facets that a firm should pay attention to in selling effectively to the customers (Noel and Hulbert, 2007). In other words, marketing mix of a firm consists of various elements or facets, and such a notion will be discussed further below.

2.       Facets of Marketing Mix

In both the academic literature and business textbooks, it is generally agreed that marketing mix consisted of multiple or different dimensions, components, elements or facets (Kalyanam and McIntyre, 2002; McDonald, 2002; Noel and Hulbert, 2007). According, the different facets of marketing mix would likely affect the customers differently, as the different facets of marketing mix would assume different function in satisfying the needs or requirements of the customers (Wu and Wu, 1998). However, the review of literature found that there are actually many different marketing mix model proposed by scholars, and these different models of marketing mix will be outlined below.

For that, the most common, and widely accepted and discussed marketing mix model is about the 4P framework of marketing mix. Under this model, marketing mix of a company can be separated into four dimensions, as follow: product, price, promotion and place (distribution) (Nakhchian, Boorani and Gorji, 2012). However, the 4P model of marketing mix often received critique from other scholars, and one of the most common critiques is that such model is insufficient to capture the complex nature of a marketing mix of a firm. For that, scholars had tried to extend the 4P model of marketing mix (Gordon, 2012; Chelliah, Kwon, Annamalah and Munusamy, 2013). For example, there is a 5P model of marketing mix, which argues that marketing mix should be examined from these five dimensions: product, price, place, promotion, and people (Lin, Lee and Lin, 2013). Other than that, there is also the 7P model of marketing mix, of which these seven facets of marketing mix is asserted o be as follow: product, price, place, promotion, people, physical evidence and process (Rafiq and Ahmed, 1995). Not only is that, there are also a version of 9P of marketing mix, of which it is asserted that marketing mix can be examined from these facets: promotion, product, price, place, process management, personnel, physical facilities, public relations and power (Low and Tan, 1995).

Indeed, the marketing mix models available do not constraints to only the “P” model of marketing mix. For that, Lin, Lee and Lin (2013) had also discussed about the 4Cs of marketing mix, which discuss marketing mix from these dimensions: customer, cost to the customer, convenience, and communication. Yet, Bennett (1997) had proposed the 5 Vs of marketing mix, of which the marketing mix consisted of these facets: value, viability, volume, variety and virtue. Other than that, Al-Dmour, Al-Zu’bi and Kakeesh (2013) argued that marketing mix shall include these dimensions: service nature, price, distribution, promotion, people, physical evidence, and processes. Last but not least, Ivy (2008) argued that marketing mix for educational industry should include: Premium, Prominence, Promotion, Price, Programme, Prospectus and People.

Overall, it can be seen that different scholars had proposed different models of marketing mix, and that is logical, as depending on the nature of a business or a firm, the realities or nature of the marketing mix of the firm shall differ. That means the marketing mix of different firms shall be modelled differently. Such an insight will be considered and applied within this research in the later chapter.

3.       Importance of Marketing Mix Management

Despite marketing mix is a concept proposed long ago, it is still a highly relevant applicable and practical concept or model in today highly turbulent and challenging business environment (Chelliah, Kwon, Annamalah and Munusamy, 2013).  There are many reasons of which why marketing mix is still very important nowadays. First of all, marketing mix can affect the consumer behaviours, of which this is also the key topic investigated in this dissertation. For instance, it is found that effective marketing mix management can contribute to: customer satisfaction (Ubeja, 2014), customer satisfaction, customer loyalty as well as customer purchase behaviours (Hanssens, Pauwels, Srinivasan, Vanhuele and Yildirim, 2014; Mittal and Prashar, 2010; Yoo, Donthu and Lee, 2000; Yao and Liu, 2012; Bhuian and Kim, 1999). Then, there are evidences that effective marketing mix can lead to enhance competitiveness of a company (Naik, Raman and Winer, 2005), and even leading to competitive advantage for a firm (Aremu and Bamiduro, 2012; Ibidunni, 2011). Given these, it would then be not surprising that effective marketing mix can enhance firm performance – be it from financial, or non-financial perspective (Nakhchian, Boorani and Gorji, 2012; Hanssens, Pauwels, Srinivasan, Vanhuele and Yildirim, 2014; Al-Dmour, Al-Zu’bi and Kakeesh, 2013; Atafar, Kazemi, Gheitarani and Toghra, 2011). Overall, the discussion indicates that it is indeed essential to manage the marketing mix of a company effectively, so to enhance the competitive edge of a firm, aside from staying profitable in such a challenging business environment. Scholars had indeed provided some suggestions or recommendations on how to manage marketing mix for better performance, and these will be discussed accordingly below.

4.       Marketing Mix Management Strategies

How to manage the various facets of marketing mix can be important because it will affect the eventual performance of a company. It is also crucial to be discussed as this dissertation will eventually propose strategies for Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet Stores on how to manage its marketing mix. For that, scholars argued that the management of the various facets of marketing mix must be holistic, whenever possible. That means a manager should not neglect any dimension of the marketing mix, as each of these different facets of marketing mix actually will support each other – in selling effectively to customers (Nakhchian, Boorani and Gorji, 2012; Andotra and Pooja, 2007). Considering that, it is essential to ensure the various facets of marketing mix of a company do not contradict each other.  Then, it is also crucial to adjust the marketing mix of a company to suit the lifestyle and preferences of the customers, after considering the unique lifestyle or characteristics of the target market segment that a company want to target (Wang, 2012; Hanssens, Pauwels, Srinivasan, Vanhuele and Yildirim, 2014). It is though specifically attending to the needs of customers that the marketing mix will be effective in influencing the purchase behaviours of consumers (Damirchi and Shafai, 2011).

It is also well understood that there are costs-benefit trade-off in managing the marketing mix of a company (Leonidou, Katsikeas and Morgan, 2013). For that, a company should be clear on its strategy, as it would not possible to focus on everything, to deliver everything to customers – due to limited resources and managerial attentions available to a firm. It would be valuable that a manager consider about the marketing mix of the competitors as well – as such information may be helpful to guide the formulation of best possible marketing mix to be adopted by a firm (Naik, Raman and Winer, 2005). Besides, it is also crucial to ensure that formulation and execution of marketing mix strategy must fit or support the overall organisation mission and strategic direction, for it to be effective in the long run (Low and Tan, 1995).

Other than that, it is also crucial to set the relevant scorecard for each of the different dimensions of marketing mix, so that the performance of the respective dimension of marketing mix can be tracked, managed, and improved accordingly (Wise and Sirohi, 2005). The managers should also constantly find ways to improve the different dimensions of marketing mix, through feedback from customers, aside from based on the scorecard being established to monitor the performance of marketing mix of the company (Brooks and Simkin, 2012).

Anyway, scholars also asserted that it is crucial not to neglect other issues in organisation, as marketing mix is just part of the big picture of organisational performance or competitiveness (Wise and Sirohi, 2005; Rosenbloom and Dimitrova, 2011). Such a notion shall be useful in providing a more relevant advices for Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet Stores in the later chapter.

Overall, the first half of this literature review has discussed the different issues relating to marketing mix. In the next half of this chapter, the focus will be however on consumer behaviour, the other topic that is to be researched in this dissertation. The discussion starts in the next section.

5.       Examining the Concept of Consumer Behaviours

The topic of consumer behaviours is a complex one, ads it cover many topics or field, such as the knowledge related to psychology, social anthropology, economics and also not to forget, marketing (East, Wright and Vanhuele, 2008). Generally speaking, the study of consumer behaviours concern about how the consumer select, purchase, consume, and dispose a product or service; as well as how businesses shall act to fulfil the needs, preferences and requirements of the consumers (Wright, 2006; Blackwell, Miniard and Engel, 2005). Of particular important issue within this field of study is about understanding the decision making process (i.e., the perception, judgment, motivation, attitudes and evaluation) of consumers, that lead to the actual purchase of a product or service (Zhang, Lu, Shi, Tang and Zhao, 2012).

To understand about consumer behaviours is crucial for the performance of a firm. This is particularly true in the context of the customer purchase behaviours, as the actual purchase made by the customers has direct, immediate and straightforward impacts on the profitability and performance of a firm (Gupta and Mehra, 2010; Tan, 2011). As the sub-topics on the field of consumer behaviours are wide; and that it is not possible to examine all of these sub-topics in details within this dissertation, the focus of this dissertation will be solely on the consumer purchase behaviours – given that the purchase behaviours can be easily examined but it has direct and significant impacts on the performance of a company. However, similar to the case of marketing mix, there are also various facets of consumer purchase behaviours that should be understood. In the next section, the various facets of consumer purchase behaviours will be examined.

6.       Facets of Consumer Purchase Behaviours

In the literature, it is noticed that scholars have also attempted to investigate the issue of consumer purchase behaviours from different dimensions or facets. In a similar way (as in the case of marketing mix), the different scholars had developed different models of consumer purchase behaviours. These different models of purchase behaviours will be explained and outlined in this section.

In Yao and Liu (2012), the purchase behaviours of consumers are examined from two facets, which are: the actual purchase made, and willingness of a consumer to pay for a product or service. Yet, in Meyer-Waarden (2008), the facets of purchase behaviours examined include: the average store basket actually purchased by a consumer, the share of category purchase, the frequency of making a purchase, the duration (i.e., inter-purchase time) between every purchase, the total times the consumer visit to a store, as well as the switching behaviours of a consumer.

Besides, there are also scholars that examine consumer purchase behaviours from two dimensions: purchase intention and actual purchase, such as in: Albayrak, Aksoy and Caber (2013). Other than that, scholars such as Ding, Suet, Tanusina, Low and Ker (2011) however examined about purchase behaviours from these facets: satisfaction with the purchase experience, the possibility to make another purchase, the likelihood of continuing consumption (i.e., using the product or service purchased), and the intention to make similar purchase form the same seller (or from the competitors).

Overall, it can be noticed that purchase behaviours can too be examined from multiple angles or facets. Such idea will be applied in examining about the purchase behaviours of consumers on products or services offered by Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet Stores. Anyway, before discussing about the research methods employed within this dissertation, some previous studies, related to the topic on how marketing mix can be related or affecting consumer behaviours will be outlined in Section 2.7 below.

7.       Marketing Mix and Consumer Behaviours

There are some studies being performed by other scholars on how marketing mix may affect consumer behaviours. These studies will be briefly discussed and presented in the next few paragraphs.

For instance, Yoo, Donthu and Lee (2000) conducted a research on how marketing mix elements (i.e., Price; Store image; Distribution intensity; Advertising spending; as well as Price deals) may affect some aspects of consumer behaviours, such as the loyalty of the consumers. Aside from that, the sample questionnaire to examine about people perceptions on marketing mix of a company is also provided. This questionnaire can be adjusted to fit the needs of this dissertation to be conducted (on Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet Stores).

Then, in Mittal and Prashar (2010), a research is carried out to examine about how various dimension of marketing mix (namely: Proximity; Product Assortment; Communication; Service; Price; and Ambience) affect consumers purchase behaviour on food and grocery in Punjab. It is found that the different facets of marketing mix examined indeed do have significant effect on consumer purchase behaviour, within the retailing industry, in Punjab.

Yet, in Hashem and Al-Rifai (2011), a study was carried out to examine about the influence of applying green marketing elements mix (product, pricing, distribution and promotion) on affecting the attitudes and perceptions of consumers (in Jordan, Kuwait and Syria). It is found that there are indeed some evidences on how these different facets of marketing mix are affecting consumers’ perceptions and attitudes – indicating that green marketing mix can be influential in changing the consumer behaviours.

Aside from that, Yu-Jia (2012) had also carried out study to examine about how marketing mix mediate the relationships between service quality and customer loyalty – based on case studies in the retailing industry in Taiwan. It is found that effective marketing mix strategy have significant and positive relationship on customer loyalty – whereby the loyal customers exhibit higher likelihood or purchase as well as re-purchase behaviours.

Overall, there various studies (although limited studies are available) indicate that the various elements or facets of marketing mix can significantly affect consumer behaviours. Such a relationship will further be investigated in this research. Anyway, before concluding the literature review section, it is also crucial to outline some information regarding how other factors (aside from marketing mix related elements) may also affect consumer behaviours. This is crucial to put the study into proper context, as it would be also valuable for researcher to also acknowledge and understand how marketing mix is not the only factor that can influence the behaviours of consumers.

For that, it would be crucial to understand that individual characteristic of construct pertaining to the consumer itself may affect their purchase behaviours. This would include: knowledge, motivation, attitude (Tan, 2011), mood (Zhang, Lu, Shi, Tang and Zhao, 2012) as well as (but not limited to) demographics of the customer (Albayrak, Aksoy and Caber, 2013). Then, the interaction between the firm with the consumers may also affect consumer behaviour, and one good example is how involvement of consumer with a product can significantly affect their eventual purchase behaviours (Bian and Moutinho, 2011). Other than that, the influence from society can also critical in affecting consumer behaviours, and some of the more common factors in this area would include: word of mouth or social presence (Zhang, Lu, Shi, Tang and Zhao, 2012).

8.       The Conceptual Framework

Therefore, with that in mind, the conceptual framework to be examined within this study can be outlined accordingly, as follow. The research methodology employed to carry out the research, on this particular conceptual framework, with Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet Stores as the case examined, will be outlined in the next chapter.

 

Figure 1

Marketing Mix index Purchase Behaviours
·         Product

·         Promotion

·         Price

·         Place

·         People

·         Physical Evidences

·         Frequency of Purchase

·         Re-purchase Intention

·         Amount of Purchase

 

 

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