The 4Cs of marketing are an evolution of the famous 4Ps, which appeared in the 1990s on the initiative of Robert Lauterborn. While the 4Ps focus on the marketed product or service, the 4Cs offer a more consumer-centricthat is to say an approach where the customer is at the center of marketing strategies.
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Reminder: The 4 Ps of marketing
For a long time, the 4Ps have ruled marketing strategies, providing a mnemonic device to make sure you don’t forget one aspect of your marketing mix. They designate the initials of four English words: Product, Price, Promotion, Square. These can be translated, in order, by: Product, Price, Promotion and Distribution (or “Distribution Policy” if you want to keep the initials in P). But in this approach conceived in 1960 by Jerome McCarthy, the human dimension is totally absent. Indeed, the customer is never taken into account whereas without him, no marketing would be possible. This is what the 4Cs correct.
What are the 4Cs of marketing?
The 4Ps of marketing had already evolved in 1980 by incorporating other Ps including People, “Persons” in French. But this model ended up running out of steam and it was finally replaced in the 1990s by the 4Cs which focused the attention of marketers on the needs of the customer. This more up-to-date approach brings greater satisfaction to end consumers in each of the market segments.
Here is the list of the 4Cs of marketing
- Customer needs
- Cost to satisfy
- Convenience of Buying
The first of the 4Cs of the marketing mix is that of Customer needs who cares about the customer’s needs. It will be a question of understanding what are his desires, his expectations, his requirements, and therefore what are the means of satisfying them. But this approach is not limited to the customer’s needs in terms of products or services. It is also necessary to take into account its expectations at the level of the pre-sales but also of the after-sales. The marketing teams will then have to define the quality of service offered, the details of the information provided as well as the customer support put in place. The consistency of all these elements will depend on the satisfaction of the customer’s needs.
Cost to satisfy
Then comes the Cost to satisfy which can be translated as “Price of satisfaction”. As mentioned above, it is essential to take into account all the components of the offer, including their cost. The latter will then be distinguished in two ways: the cost of the final offer (with marketing conditions, after-sales service, etc.) and the cost perceived by the customer. From now on, the perception of the cost varies enormously according to the differences of elements which constitute it, with identical product. Its establishment must therefore be in accordance with the needs and expectations of the consumer.
Convenience of Buying
The Convenience of Buyingor “Ease of purchase”, refers to the entire sales tunnel, whether online, offline, or mixed as in the case of click & collect. The challenge is then to make it as fluid as possible. Anticipate sales barriers and circumvent them, identify triggers and activate them, work on reassurance such as the notoriety of the marketed offer and the brand that puts it on the market. Once again, the customer is at the center of reflections with a permanent search for satisfaction in the constitution of the marketing mix.
Last of the 4Cs, Communication does not need a French translation. This fourth pillar brings together promotion but also public relations, the graphic charter, social networks and storytelling in a more general way. Interactions are privileged as well as proximity with consumers. The multiplication of points of contact between customers and the brand is always done with a view to improving the customer relationship and ultimately increasing the loyalty rate. This relationship is therefore long-term and aims to transform the consumer into an ambassador or prescriber.
Benefits of the 4C marketing mix
By placing the customer at the center of the marketing mix, the 4Cs approach has many advantages. First of all, it helps to better understand the needs of the consumer and, more generally, the relationship he has with the brand. Marketing teams will then be able to better understand how to retain their current customers and win new ones. Margins can also be improved thanks to a better structuring of the selling price which will capitalize in particular on inexpensive elements but whose customer perception will be radically positive.
Finally, the main advantage of the 4Cs of the marketing mix lies in its ability to avoid failures. For example, Microsoft launched a touchscreen tablet in the early 2000s and it was a real flop. Indeed, at that time this equipment did not correspond to the needs of the customers and this failure could have been avoided with a structuring of the marketing mix around the 4Cs.
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