As a business owner or the driver of a company’s marketing efforts, your main goal is to ensure that your products and services are, in fact, in demand. Once you’ve ascertained that they are, your next responsibility is to make sure that your offerings stands out from those of your competitors, making your enterprise viable at the end of the day.
In the 1950s, Neil Borden popularized the “marketing mix,” comprising the 4 Ps—product, price, place, and promotion. 1990, Bob Lauterborn adapted marketing practices to an evolved business environment.
The first of the 4 Ps refers to the demand and, in turn, the availability of your product or service in the market. Does your product offer something new—such as an invention that would make people’s lives easier? Or are you offering an already existing product with enhancements? Although this may seem like an obvious element to consider, it’s not one that can be taken for granted because it is the starting point of your efforts to build a brand.
Being a successful entrepreneur also requires that you’re able to balance the costs of making your product or offering your service with the price that you sell it for. Depending on your business model, the challenge will be consolidating what customers can afford while still making a profit.
This point refers to how your product or service will be distributed. Will your company be more successful if it offers its product online, or does the nature of your business require that you have a physical store? For example, if you run a confectionery shop, or brew craft beer, you may want to have a point of sale where customers can enjoy tastings as part of the experience of what you have to offer. Keep in mind that it is also possible to have both an online and in-person presence.
The fourth and final P refers to how you communicate the benefits of your offering to the public. Will you create brand awareness purely online through social media platforms or does getting your product or service into the market require a public relations campaign?
From the above, we see how this marketing technique is focused on selling to the masses with little focus on the target audience. The 4 Cs, however, are more a customer-centric theory where, instead, you promote your business by conducting market research to get to know your client and offer something that gives them value for their money.
Let’s have a look at each element individually and how—whether outsourced or done internally—you can maximize profit by shifting your attention to your buyers.
The 4 Cs of Marketing and How to Incorporate Them into Your Business Practices
The first and most fundamental element to know and understand in this marketing mix is your target audience. To ascertain your client base and their needs, ask questions such as: What challenges do consumers face? This requires some research efforts on your part, where you seek out information such as customer profiles, buying habits, and feedback. For example, you could monitor social media to determine how your product or service is received.
Depending on where your business is in its development, this could either mean adapting a product or service to meet your customers’ needs or your starting point to creating a niche offering.
Secondly, expanding on Borden’s concept of price, this element considers the customer’s time in relation to the total expense of your product or service. For example, selling your offering in an online store would save your clients from having to travel to a point of sale as well as the cost of having to commute to you.
On the other hand, consider if there is an opportunity to sell your product or service for extra because customers would be willing to pay for an offering that speaks to their values? For example, if you run a health store whose main selling point is providing eco-friendly products, do you follow through on this commitment by using recycled packaging for which you could charge a little more?
Besides your products or services being priced appropriately, your business should also be considerate of your customers’ experience. That is, is your offering easy to find? If so, how are you making it easy for your target audience to make a purchasing decision? For example, if you have an online store, is the platform user-friendly? Do you offer various payment and delivery options?
The last of Lauterborn’s 4 Cs refers to interacting with potential customers in a dialogue instead of persuading or manipulating them. For example, once you have drawn customers in, how will you maintain their attention and gain their trust? Social media provides the opportunity to create a channel through which you can connect and interact with your target audience when they give you feedback. You’ll have to ensure that you have dedicated resources to respond in a timely manner and to adapt when criticisms are raised. By having quick response times and showing customers that you value their opinion, not only do you build your brand’s reputation but you secure future income too.
In this article, we’ve seen the different approaches to marketing and how the 4 Cs of marketing are necessary for any business to turn leads into sales. By identifying who responds to your marketing efforts, this technique also allows business owners to personalize their product and customize their services for a specific demographic to generate turnover.