The purpose of this paper is to identify the development of the 4Ps idea from the 1910s to the 1940s in the USA and explore its historical background.
The historical consideration of the precedents for the 4Ps idea is not only focused just on the idea, but also on the historical context in which it was produced. The analysis will include a re‐examination of the traditional “functional approach” to marketing thought, leading to different interpretations from previous research.
The 4Ps idea did not suddenly appear in the 1950s, but had precedents that could be traced back to the 1910s. Based on the separation of planning from implementation and ideas on management process, the precedents for the 4Ps appeared as various discussions on components of the planning function in sales management, sales/marketing policies and marketing management.
The research implies the historical study could enrich our knowledge. This investigation is limited to the USA: other studies could investigate the history of marketing and marketing thought in other countries.
Recognizing how previous marketers and marketing thinkers considered the issues could provide a broad and solid basis to explore how marketing strategy should be formed.
Identifying the antecedents of the 4Ps before the Second World War is a unique contribution to historical research in marketing. This paper provides a new interpretation of the development of marketing management and its thought.
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