The marketing mix refers to the variables that are controllable by marketers. Since 1960 the marketing mix has been referred to as the 4Ps of marketing. However, in the past 47 years marketing and markets have changed. The 4Ps are not easily applied to Not-For-Profit or services marketing that have grown to be much more important than tangible products that dominated marketing thought when McCarthy first developed the concept of the 4Ps. In my opinion, the 4Ps tend to limit the ways we think about marketing planning, and make no accommodation for a customer orientation or the role marketing research plays in modern marketing planning. Dr. Gordon Bruner offered an updated conceptualization of the marketing mix known as the 4Cs. In this conceptualization the marketing mix is comprised of:
Concept - the goods and services, and ideas offered, viewed from the customer's perspective.
Costs - includes all the monetary and non monetary costs in the exchange decision.
Channel - all the flows that are part of the exchange.
Communication - includes both the information flows and the media used. This also includes market research and customer service feedback, since communication is a two way process.
I suggest that thinking of the marketing mix in these terms affords a broader view of the ways organizations can differentiate themselves, and best serve their target market(s).