Last week, we discussed the four P’s of Marketing. This week, we thought we’d discuss the Four C’s of Marketing. Created in 1993 by Robert Lauterborn, the Four C’s is an updated classification system of the Four P’s.

His model shifts the focus from the producer to the consumer and is a better blueprint to follow for smaller businesses that are marketing to a niche audience.

Let’s explore the 4 c’s of marketing into more detail.

Key Takeaways:

  • Consumer-Focused: The Four C’s prioritize understanding and fulfilling the specific needs of the consumer rather than pushing pre-defined products.
  • Comprehensive Cost Consideration: This approach considers not just the price but the overall cost to the consumer, including inconvenience and ethical considerations.
  • Convenience is Key: The ease of access and purchase greatly influences consumer choices and business success, highlighting the need for geographic and digital convenience.
  • Communication Over Promotion: Engage in two-way conversations with your audience rather than one-way promotional messages, emphasizing the importance of listening and interacting.

Consumer Replaces Product

Rather than pre-defining the customer into a product, the consumer model puts the impetus on satisfying the customer’s needs. The Consumer model should be seen as a conversation between the customer and the business, which come together to create a custom product that satisfies a customers needs.

With tools like social media and email marketing, businesses have new ways to communicate with their audiences.

Cost Replaces Price

The price is only one factor in acquiring customers.

Cost reflects the cost of using the product, which can include inconveniences (changing from one computer software to another) and customer ethics (such as choosing between organic and non-organic eggs).

Convenience Replaces Place

Convenience (whether geographical or through search engines) influences the perceived value of a product. The ease in which a consumer can purchase a product is crucial in deciding what business acquires customers.

Communication Replaces Promotion

Communication views the promotional process as lateral, involving conversation between the customer and business. This is in contrast to the traditional mode of promotions, which is vertical and involves one-way communication.

Communication is as much about listening as it is about talking!

We recommend setting up a Google Alert for your business and your industry and monitoring relevant hashtags on Twitter to tune in.

Implementing the Four C’s of Marketing

  1. Understanding Your Customer: Start with market research to deeply understand your customers’ needs, preferences, and pain points.
  2. Personalized Solutions: Develop products or services that offer personalized solutions based on customer feedback and interactions.
  3. Cost Transparency: Communicate the total cost of ownership, not just the purchase price, including maintenance, support, and any other long-term costs.
  4. Focus on Convenience: Ensure your product is easily accessible. This might mean selling online, offering home delivery, or being present on multiple sales channels.
  5. Open Dialogue: Engage customers through social media, surveys, and feedback forms. Foster a community around your brand for continual engagement and insight.
  6. Responsive Adjustments: Be agile and ready to adjust your product, services, or strategies based on customer feedback and emerging trends.
  7. Staff Training: Train your team in customer-centric approaches to ensure every customer interaction reflects the Four C’s values.

How to Measure the Impact of the 4 C’s

  1. Customer Feedback: Regularly analyze customer feedback to gauge satisfaction levels and identify areas for improvement.
  2. Sales Metrics: Track sales and repeat customer rates to measure the direct impact of the Four C’s on your business performance.
  3. Cost Analysis: Assess cost-related metrics to determine if customers perceive value in your product or service relative to its total cost.
  4. Convenience Surveys: Conduct surveys to understand how customers view the accessibility and usability of your product or service.
  5. Engagement Rates: Monitor social media and communication channels for engagement rates, which can indicate the effectiveness of your two-way communication efforts.
  6. Market Share Movement: Observe changes in market share, as an increase may suggest your customer-centric strategies are resonating with the target audience.
  7. Brand Sentiment Analysis: Use sentiment analysis tools to measure how customer perception towards your brand evolves over time.

Wrapping Up

The Four C’s model is better tuned to the needs of smaller businesses that don’t yet have a strong brand-name equity. As such, it is crucial that these businesses develop a two-way relationship with their target audience!