American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, 2012, 2, 194-199 Published Online October 2012 (
Studying the Status of Marketing Mix (7Ps) in Consumer
Cooperatives at Ilam Province from Members’
Purashraf Yasanallah, Bidram Vahid
Management Department, University of Ilam, Ilam, Iran.
Received July 2nd, 2012; revised August 1st, 2012; accepted August 31st, 2012
Concerning the particular importance of cooperatives in a cooperation system, the author has tried to study the status of
marketing mix (7Ps) in cooperatives and to provide proposals to i mprove the conditions of su ch cooperatives. This is a
descriptive and survey research. Its population consists of all members of consumer cooperatives in Ilam province se-
lected by a ranked sampling method proportionate to the volume of the population by which necessary sample was de-
termined. According to research aim, seven hypotheses are provided and tested by one sample t-test. As a result, hy-
potheses on price, location, promotion, product, operation management and physical assets which show lower than av-
erage status of these elements were confirmed. The only hypothesis that was rejected was the hypothesis related to the
personnel element. This shows th e prop er condition of this element of marketing mix.
Keywords: Cooperation; Consumer Cooperatives; Marketing; Marketing Mix
1. Introduction
In the past, economists believed that the important thing
for growth and development of communities is physical
capital. Since 1950s, another factor namely human capi-
tal and social capital was considered. According to social
and economic connoisseurs, the most beautiful aspect of
social capital is seen in cooperatives. Cooperatives are a
new shape of economic activities which have created a
new generation of middle class in the society by using
the talents and facilities of majority and sharing them in
the profits of their operations so they enjoy a similar
ownership as a balanced combination of social-economic
parameters. Often, they give their capital deliberately and
voluntarily. The participation of cooperatives in social/
economic development is important since they are proper
mechanism to establish social justice and to promote
awareness and public culture and they move economic
capitals and fertilize social capitals.
Today, we are facing with the depression of coopera-
tives especial consuming ones. Unsuccessful and depres-
sion of cooperatives (35% of such cooperatives) are con-
sidered as an important challenge since depression and
failure of such cooperatives waste financial resources,
HR unemployment, loosing new job opportunities and a
negative impact in public opinion [1]. On this basis, it is
felt that cooperatives should be studied more different
than before. So, a key question arises: Can discussions on
marketing and implementing lead into a guideline to exit
such depression?
In present study, authors attempts to look at consum-
ing cooperatives in terms of marketing and identify the
strength and weak points of cooperative and provide its
recommendations to improv e weak poin ts and to en hance
strength points by studying marketing mix of Ilam coop-
eratives including price, place, promotion, product, per-
sonnel, procedure management and physical assets.
2. Literature Review
Needs and demand of man is the starting point for mar-
keting activities which pave the ground for sharing
products and transaction through demand for products.
Cooperatives are also established to satisfy the common
needs of people. In contrary to other entities which sat-
isfy human needs and demands through other ways, in
cooperatives needs are met by member s in a ma nner that
members try to meet their own needs and demands [2]. In
the time of serious problems, cooperatives can be a hope-
ful option [3].
The beginning of cooperatives adding movements
backs to the establishment of a Rochdale’s Fair Com-
pany in 1844. Cooperation refers to a collective and sys-
tema tic v olun tar ily op erat ion [4]. Navcovic believes that
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. AJIBM
Studying the Status of Marketing Mix (7Ps) in Consumer Cooperatives at
Ilam Province from Members’ Perspectives 195
cooperatives are democratic organizations which create a
benefit for their members [5].
Cooperatives have an important status in Iranian Con-
stitutional Law which has led into the expansion of co-
operative activities and forums and their remarkable
growth [6]. According to the law, cooperatives are cate-
gorized in three ranks one of them is consumption field
[7]. According to statistics provided by Cooperative Mi-
nistry, there were 155,241 registered cooperatives by Co-
operative Ministry until March 2010. According to the
same data, the number of cooperatives in Ilam province
is more than 2000 [6].
By using marketing mix, cooperatives can further meet
their members’ needs and expand their sale in their non-
member markets [2 ].
The initial studies on marketing mix were conducted
by Harvard University in 1929 [8 ] while th e manage ment
paradigm of marketing mix was dominated the market
since 1940. In 1964, McCarty developed this idea and
revised them as principles recognized as 4Ps today [9].
Marketing mix includes four elements namely product,
price, promotion and place [10]. Owing to the fact that
any decision on each element should be compatible with
other three elements, marketing mix term was selected
[11]. In reality, marketing mix is a set of tools by which
entities achieve their marketing goals in their target mar-
kets [12]. Booms and Bitner believe that services need
another type of marketing and a different type of mar-
keting mix. To the same reason, they distinguished ser-
vice marketing from product marketing. In their market-
ing mix, three Ps namely personnel, physical assets and
procedures were added and fi n a l l y 7Ps were shaped [13].
Below, one can find the definition of marketing mix
Product is all necessary components and elements to
do a service which generate value for customer [14]. Pro-
duct is an element of marketing mix which respecting it
in cooperatives leads into the satisfaction of members
and customers. For instance, supplying products with a
credible brand and attractive package increase the sale in
addition to the satisfaction of customers [2].
Price and other costs of service sector show the man-
agement of various costs endured by customers in a-
chieving the advantages from generating the services
[14]. In consumer cooperatives, the first and main aim is
to satisfy members that should be considered in pricing
followed by achieving the profit, sale increase, more
share in the market, survival and development of the
company [2].
Place is the managerial decisions on where customers
should be provided with services and it may include
electronic/physical distribution channels [14]. Consumer
cooperatives are a kind of distribution channels which
can establish the relationship between consumers and
manufacturers and play a vital role in mitigating the
prices and preventing the growth of unnecessary dealers
The value and importance of promotion for service
organization is in the benefits achieved from buying their
services. In many cases, promotional methods are similar
for services and products [14]. In the position of eco-
nomic corporation, consumer cooperatives have the func-
tion to distribute products among members and other
consumers and it is necessary that they move toward
promotional activities to increase their sale.
Personnel are a main component in providing services
[15]. According to Pheng and Martin, personnel are the
only component that provides customers with services.
Since consumer cooperatives are firms in which em-
ployees face with consumers directly, such organizations
try to achieve a special situation in the market through
training their employees on sale knowledge and how to
treat with customers [16].
Procedure management ensures availability and sus-
tainable/proper quality of services. The task and role of
this component of marketing mix is to balance service
demand and supply [17]. By improving the procedure of
providing services to customers, cooperatives can pave
the ground for consumers’ convenience which leads into
repurchase and, finally, sale increase.
Physical assets refer to environment and facilities
needed by companies to provide services to their cus-
tomers [18]. Consumer cooperatives can expand con-
sumers’ choices by providing facilities like self-service,
paramount shelves, etc as same as big shops and can
prevent that a buyer leaves the company without any
In their study, Safari, Aryanfar and Ebrahimi studied
structural, contextual and content factors and their impact
on the success of consuming cooperatives. Marketing
shapes a content factor as one of the most important ele-
ments in the success of consuming cooperatives. It seems
that the authors have not been able to study all elements
due to the quantity of structural, contextual and content
factors. Therefore, it seems necessary to study each fac-
tor separately especially marketing factor in the success
of cooperatives [19].
Zaranejad and Sharifi say that workforce mixed with
what called as employees can impact on productivity. In
present research, constituents like training, consultancy
and education are used to study the impact of manpower
on the productivity of cooperatives. Therefore, studying
the status of marketing mix with more constituents can
remarkably help to improve their productivity [20].
Ebrahimi, Toluei, Mahdieh and Kanani found some rea-
sons for the stagnation of cooperatives and they explored
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. AJIBM
Studying the Status of Marketing Mix (7Ps) in Consumer Cooperatives at
Ilam Province from Members’ Perspectives
it in members’ contribution which in present study, the
author also looks for it. The results of this research could
show the necessity of more attention to the components
of marketing mix [21].
Davies and Burt (2007) studied the internationalization
of retail cooperatives. They attempted to expand the rea-
sons of cooperatives’ failure generally and to prepare
more profound literature on internationalization of coop-
eratives but they forgot to consider the application of
marketing in coop eratives’ internationalization [22].
Considering new economic conditions of the country
on the objectivity of subsidies and owing to the fact that
removing the problems of consumer cooperatives im-
pacts on purchase increase and the level of members’
lives directly, the author decided to measure the status of
marketing mix in consumer cooperatives at Ilam prov-
ince and to provide guidelin es to enhance marketing mix
in order to improve the p erformance of such cooperatives
and to meet members’ satisfaction.
The aim of present research is to study the status of
marketing mix (7Ps) in consumer cooperatives at Ilam
province. To this end, seven hypotheses are devised:
1) The status of price in consumer cooperatives is
lower than average;
2) The status of place in consumer cooperatives is
lower than average;
3) The status of promotion in consumer cooperatives is
lower than average;
4) The status of product in consumer cooperatives is
lower than average;
5) The status of personnel in consumer cooperatives is
lower than average;
6) The status of procedure management in consumer
cooperatives is lower than average;
7) The status of physical assets in consumer coope-
ratives is lower than average.
3. Methodology
Present study is a quantitative and ap plied one and it is a
descriptive-survey in terms of research type. To collect
information on research background and theoretical
framework, library method and to collect needed infor-
mation on testing the hypotheses and measuring mem-
bers’ opinions, feasibility study method along with a
questionnaire is used . The validity of the questionnaire is
confirmed by connoisseurs and its reliability is also sup-
ported by using Cronbach’s alpha (0.814).
Its population consists of all members (11,495) of
consumer cooperatives in Ilam province selected by a
ranked sampling method (193 subjects) proportionate to
the volume of the population by which necessary sample
was determined. Table 1 indicates the share of each rank
based on the type of the consumer cooperative.
Table 1. The share of each rank at population for sampling.
Cultural Local
Members 1037 5205 267 4986
Shares 0.09 0.452 0.0230.432
Source: Co mprehensi ve system of register ed statistics by C ooperative Min-
istry 2011 and authors’ calculations.
Finally, the questionnaires were distributed more than
determined quantity and 199 ones were returned. The
questionnaire consists of general and special items based
on previous questionnaires, conducted studies and the
opinions of guiding professors/advisors. General ques-
tions consist of members’ demographical traits including
gender, age, education and two questions based on a face
scale. The special questions gathered their ideas about
marketing mix based on Likert five-scale. The constitu-
ents of research hypotheses are shown in Table 2.
By using one sample t-test in SPSS, research hypothe-
ses were tested so that numbers were initially hypothe-
sized for population average and then through t-test is
was determined whether they are true or false. Freedman
test was used to rank marketing mix components.
4. Discussion and Conclusion
Of 199 distributed questionnaires, 164 belonged to men
and 35 to women. In terms of gender, most consumers
and members of cooperatives (82%) are men. It shows
limited membersh ip of women in the cooperatives. Since
women constitute a main p art of shoppers throughout the
world, it is necessary that cooperative step toward more
participation of women in such cooperatives through
implementing special marketing plans.
The answers of respondents to their age are ou tlined in
Table 3.
As seen in Table 3, more than 50% of members are
less than 40. It shows that they can be de facto customers
of cooperative in at least next 20 years and cooperatives
should use encouraging activities to maintain this major
Table 4 shows that more than 50% of members’ co-
operatives have M. A. and higher education. According
to such level of education, this should be included in
propagandas and other marketing activities by coopera-
The first hypothesis studies the status of price in the
consumer cooperatives. By using one sample t-test, this
hypothesis is converted into statistical hypotheses name-
ly H1 (the claim) and H0 (the contrary).
H0: The status of price in consumer cooperatives is
equal or higher than average;
H1: The status of price in consumer cooperatives is lower
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. AJIBM
Studying the Status of Marketing Mix (7Ps) in Consumer Cooperatives at
Ilam Province from Members’ Perspectives 197
Table 2. The constituents of each hypothesis variable.
Variable Measure
1) Cheaper prices of cooperatives’ products com-
pared to other shops
2) Discount
3) Credit purchase
4) Adoption of commodities’ prices to
members’ expectations
5) Purchase by instal l ments
1) Needs to cooperatives in the region
2) Easy access to coo p e ratives by public
2) Transportation of members’ purchased
commodities by cooperatives
3) Using telephone and other
communicational tools to order
1) Using awards in cooperatives to
encourage members
2) Using deadline incentive to encourage
3) Plans of cooperatives to penetrate into
members’ i n s i g hts and beliefs
4) Popularity of the cooperative as a
distinguished shop
5) Using members’ ideas and proposals
1) Diversity of cooperatives’ commodities
2) Delivering the goods with
well-recognized brands
3) Quality of supplied commod iti es
4) Attractive package of commodities
5) Delivering the newest commodities
in cooperatives
1) Providing necessa ry advices by personnel
to shoppers
2) Employees’ courtesy
3) Employees’ enthusiasm to respond
members’ quest ion s
4) Employees’ skills and knowledge to sale
the products
1) Self-services
2) Investigating and r esolving shoppers’
problems during shopping
3) Considering the i mportance of shoppers’ time
4) Categorizing the p roducts based on
members’ convenience
1) Beautiful decoration of the cooperative
2) Proper amenities like refrigerator and
electronic scale
3) Physical facilities like wheeled baskets
4) Calm and enjoyable ambience of the
Table 3. The frequency of respondents’ age .
Age Frequency Frequency (%)
<30 35 17.6
31 - 40 96 48.2
41 - 50 57 28.6
51 - 60 6 3
<61 2 1
Total 196 98.5
NA 3 1.5
Total 199 100
Source: Author’s calculations.
Table 4. The frequency distribution of respondents’ educa-
tional level.
Education Frequency %
Under Diploma 8 4
Diploma 33 16.6
Associate of art 45 22.6
Bachelor 94 47.2
Masters and higher 17 8.5
Total 197 99
NA 2 1
Total 199 100
Source: Author’s calculations.
than average.
Other hypotheses are explained as above and their re-
sults are shown in Table 5.
Table 5 shows that the average of respondents’ opin-
ions on the status of price, place, promotion, product,
physical asset and procedure management in coopera-
tives is lower than 3 and less than test rate. Concerning
the estimated significance level (0.000) and in 0.95% as
confidence level, one can claim that the status of such
components in consumer cooperatives is lower than av-
erage. On the other hand, concerning the one-way test
and negative high and low levels, the average rate of all
six variables is smaller. Therefore, H0 is rejected. In fact,
since the critical figure in the table is 1.64 and calculated
t is less than mentioned t in the table, H0 is rejected and
the contrary hypotheses are supported, that is, H1 is sup-
ported for six hypotheses and it is only rejected for hy-
pothesis 5 (personnel) which shows better situation of
this component than other ones.
Ranking Hypotheses’ Variables
Friedman test is used to rank th e variables of hypotheses
in order to identify which component in marketing mix
has better situation than other components. The results
are shown in Table 6. As seen in the table, personnel
component has the best and promotion has the worst
status. Bad situation of promotion shows the lack of
attention by cooperatives’ officials to this valuable com-
ponent. Lovelock and Wright (2003) equals watching to
sale. This shows the importance of all marketing mix
components including incentives and awards. After pro-
otion, price has the worst status. This also shows the m
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. AJIBM
Studying the Status of Marketing Mix (7Ps) in Consumer Cooperatives at
Ilam Province from Members’ Perspectives
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. AJIBM
Table 5. The results of testing hypotheses.
variable df
T Significance level average Standard deviation High level Low level
Hypothesis 1 198 –16.132 0.000 2.152 0.740 –0.7437 –0.9508
Hypothesis 2 198 –13.935 0.000 2.228 0.781 –0.6626 –0.8810
Hypothesis 3 198 –18.067 0.000 1.989 0.789 –0.9002 –1.1209
Hypothesis 4 198 –5.347 0.000 2.676 0.825 –0.2039 –0.4423
Hypothesis 5 198 1.899 0.059 3.115 0.858 0.2356 –0.0044
Hypothesis 6 198 –11.091 0.000 2.389 0.776 –0.5020 –0.7191
Hypothesis 7 198 –4.086 0.000 2.734 0.915 –0.1371 –0.3930
Source: Author’s calculations.
Table 6. Ranking the variables of hypotheses.
Variable Rank average Rank
3.03 6
3.33 5
2.50 7
4.61 3
5.90 1
Procedure management
3.81 4
Physical assets
4.82 2
Source: Author’s calculations.
lack of attention by officials.
5. Conclusion and Recommendation
Of seven mentioned hypotheses, 6 ones were confirm-
ed and the hypothesis on the status of personnel was re-
fused. It shows the low positio n of marketing mix 7Ps in
Ilam consumer cooperatives. Friedman test indicated that
among marketing mix components, Personnel have the
best and promotion has the worst status.
5.1. Suggestion for Managers at Ilam Consumer
In developed countries, there are huge costs on advertis-
ing and it has a close relationship with their economic
progress. Concerning the average of marketing mix com-
ponents and low average of promotion compared to other
variables, cooperatives’ managers are recommended do
not fear the costs of advertising and step toward it. They
should remind members to purchase cooperatives by pro-
viding with incentives.
Complaining customers, in fact, are providing the
company with the opportunity to reform problems, to
revise their relations with complainants and to remedy
the quality of their services. On this basis, cooperatives’
managers are recommended to patient in resolving the
problems of members and shoppers and address to mem-
bers’ recommendations and critics by organizing regular
Although personnel component has the best status
among other marketing mix components, cooperatives’
managers are recommended to address their employees
and increase their awareness and train them in order to
improve this status since customers know service pro-
viders under the name of the organization and if the per-
sonnel have not passed adequate training, it will be dif-
ficult for them to provide competent services.
The key of effective pricing is to recognize shoppers’
traits, the reason of their shopping and how to decide to
shop. Since many members of cooperatives are em-
ployees of entities with medium income level, discounts
can impact highly on the purchase by such members.
Hence, cooperatives’ managers are recommended to de-
crease the prices rationally or to give discounts to shop-
pers and to pave the ground for paying the price of ex-
pensive commodities by installments so that customers
and members will be encouraged to further shopping .
Customers look for more convenience and they expect
to receive their goods anywhere and anytime they like.
On this basis, cooperatives’ managers are recommended
to establish phone order and delivery system in order to
pave the ground for more orders an d eliminate shoppers’
concerns by transporting heavy and big co mmodities.
Cooperatives’ managers are recommended to estab lish
a regular polling system in order to identify customers’
demands and to meet them. In the meantime, by pro-
viding a variety of products like home appliances, clothes,
cosmetics, etc, they can pave the ground that customers
can find all their needed goods through one cooperative.
The conditions of physical ambience can impact nega-
tively or positively and most companies pay high atten-
Studying the Status of Marketing Mix (7Ps) in Consumer Cooperatives at
Ilam Province from Members’ Perspectives 199
tion to this issue. Unfortunately, it is neglected in most
cooperatives at Ilam. The appearance of the environment
aids to proper feeling and reflection of customers and
personnel. On this basis, cooperatives’ managers are re-
commended to create conditions for buyers to purchase
in an enjoyable sense by designing a nice, clean and heal-
thy physical ambience.
Since shoppers tend to buy commodities with broad
propaganda or in other words, to buy modern goods, co-
operatives’ managers are recommended to supply such
goods. Shoppers prefer to find commodities in different
brands when they enter cooperatives.
5.2. Suggestion for Future Study
Future researchers are recommended to study the status
of marketing mix in consumer cooperatives in next
year’s and compare their findings with this research and
then investigate about the reasons of improving or wors-
ening the situation.
Since the author has simply studied the status of mar-
keting mix in members’ perspective, future authors are
recommended to study the status of marketing mix in
other cooperatives including manufacturing ones.
According to findings of promotion component with
the worst status among other elements of marketing mix,
future authors are recommended to study this element
Since the author has simply studied the status of mar-
keting mix in members’ perspective, future authors are
recommended to study it in managers’ perspective and
compare the ideas of both groups.
6. Research Limitations
The lack of precise and updated information on con-
suming cooperatives in Ilam Cooperative Directorate made
it difficult for author to access such cooperatives.
Since Ilam is a border province, it has special political
and geographical status which makes it difficult to con-
duct such researches and t o ga t her needed data.
[1] A. Samadi, “Studying the Dynamism or Stagnation of
Manufacturing Cooperatives in Hamedan,” A Research
Proposal by Hamedan Cooperative Directorate, 2000.
[2] M. H. Mostaani, “The Management of Consumer Coop-
eratives,” Paygan Publications, Tehran, 2005.
[3] K. Mikami, “Capital Procurement of a Consumer Coop-
erative: Role of the Membership Market,” Economic Sys-
tems, Vol. 34, No. 2, 2010, pp. 178-197.
[4] M. Abbassi, “Cooperative Belief, Iran Rural Develop-
ment Publications,” Tehran, 2010.
[5] S. Navcovic, “Defining the Coperative Difference,” The
Journal of Socio-Economics, Vol. 37, No. 6, 2008, pp.
2168-2177. doi:10.1016/j.socec.2008.02.009
[6] Cooperative Ministry, “Statistics and Profiles of Em-
ployed and Unemployed Population,” Office of Statistics
and Information Technology, Tehran, 2010.
[7] Cooperative Ministry, “Business in Cooperatives,” Sab-
zan Publications, Tehran, 2007.
[8] M. Baker, “Marketing Strategy and Management,” Mc-
Millan, London, 2000.
[9] L. G. Chai, “A Review of Marketing Mix: 4Ps or More? ”
International Journal of Marketing Studies, Vol. 1. No. 1,
2009, pp. 2-15.
[10] D. Jobber, “Principles & Practice of Marketing,” 3rd
Edition, McGraw-Hill, England, 2001.
[11] J. Mullins, O. Walker and H. Boyd, “Marketing Man-
agement,” 6th Edition, McGraw-Hill, New York, 2008.
[12] H. Alvedari, “Marketing and Market Management,” Pa-
yam Noor University, Tehran, 2005.
[13] M. Rafiq and P. K. Ahmed, “Using the 7Ps as a Generic
Marketing Mix: an Exploratory Survey of UK and Euro-
pean Marketing Academics,” Marketing Intelligence &
Planning, Vol. 13, No. 9, 1995, pp. 4-15.
[14] C. Lovelock and L. Wright, “Marketing Principles and
Services,” SAMT Publications, Tehran, 2003.
[15] P. Dargi, “Service Marketing Through Iranian Market
Perspective,” Rasa Publications, Tehran, 2009.
[16] L. S. Pheng and M. Tan, “A Convergence of Western Mar -
keting Mix Concepts and Oriental Strategic Thinking,”
Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 13, No .2, 1995,
pp. 11-36.
[17] A. Rusta, D. Venus and A. Ebrahimi, “Marketing Man-
agement,” SAMT Publications, Tehran, 2005.
[18] R. E. Goldsmith, “The Personalized Marketplace: Bey ond
the 4Ps,” Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 14, No.
4, 1999, pp. 178-185. doi:10.1108/02634509910275917
[19] H. Safari, K. Aryanfar and A. Ebrahimi, “Affecting Fac-
tors on the Success of Superior Consumer Cooperatives,”
Taavon, Vol. 212, No. 20, 2009, pp. 33-51.
[20] M. Zaranejad and B. Sharifi, “Studying the Attitudes of
Members and Managers of Consumer Cooperatives on
Affecting Factors on Productivity Improvement,” Liberal
Arts and Social Science Research Letter, Vol. 29, No. 8,
2008, pp. 97-118.
[21] A. Ebrahimi, A. Taati, O. Mahdieh and A. Kanaani, “Af-
fecting Factors on Promoting Members’ Contribution in
Unions and Consumer Cooperatives,” Taavon, Vol. 2, No.
21, 2010, pp. 129-153.
[22] K. Davies and S. Burt, “Consumer Cooperatives and Re-
tail Internationalization: Problems and Prospects,” Inter-
national Journal of Retail & Distribution Management,
Vol. 35, No. 2, 2007, pp. 156-177.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. AJIBM