Marketers are very familiar with the 4Ps of marketing: Product, price, place, and promotion. As you’re fully aware, these are the pillars that make up the foundation of any solid marketing strategy. Heck, they’ve been ingrained in your mind since your first day of marketing class.
With the ever-growing landscape of marketing, however, these four P’s are no longer as effective as they were before in providing us with the breadth and depth of guidance that we need to reach and engage our audience.
As we’re now living in a hyper-digital and social media-driven world, we’ve seen a shift toward consumer-centric marketing.
This is where the four C’s of marketing come in – consumer, cost, convenience, and communication.
Unlike the 4Ps, which offer a seller-oriented approach, the 4Cs provide a more consumer-based perspective on the marketing strategy. They focus not just on marketing and selling a product, but also on communicating with the audience right from the start of the process until the very end.
In this article, we’ll explore what each of the four C’s represent, how you can apply them, and why a consumer-centric approach in your marketing campaigns can help your brand stand out from your competition.
Let’s begin, shall we?
The 4 C’s of Effective Content Marketing
With digital technology continuing to transform the way consumers interact with online content and media, businesses of all sizes should be able to adapt and leverage their communications and marketing efforts.
That’s why the 4Cs play a major role. Whether you’re in the early stages of designing a marketing framework, assessing an existing marketing plan, or testing a new strategy, they can serve as your checkpoint to ensure that you meet your business goals.
Content is king, there’s no doubt about that. Creating new and engaging content regularly helps you get the best ROI for the content you create. Applying the 4Cs of marketing to produce high-quality content that drives consumers to hit your call-to-action buttons will generate inbound leads.
The first C, consumer, pertains to your customers’ wants and needs. Rather than focusing on your products or services, you focus on filling a void in their lives.
What do your customers want or need that they’re not getting? What can you do about it? Will a product or service of yours be able to fulfill that need?
This strategy is essential for businesses that aim to understand their customers better. Knowing who your audience are, as well as what they’re interested in, makes it easier to craft a product that will benefit them. After all, it’s them who get to make the final purchase decision.
When designing marketing initiatives, it’s important to have specified audiences in mind. There’s no such thing such as “cookie-cutter” audience, only unique consumer groups that respond differently to marketing efforts. You need to constantly assess and adjust strategic planning toward their preferences as trends and technology evolve.
The next element to consider in framing your marketing plan is cost, and no, it’s not the same as price.
Many people often confuse cost with price. To end this confusion, price is only a small segment of the overall cost, whereas cost not only includes the price of an item, but also factors like the time it takes for the customer to get to your location, or how much they had to pay for gas to arrive at your store.
Here’s a good example of a cost-to-consumer breakdown of a video game console:
- Console retail price
- Games and accessories
- Setup time
- In-game purchases
- Online subscription
- Delivery or transportation cost
Evidently, the overall cost of the purchase is way higher than the price tag alone.
For the third C, we have convenience.
While convenience may share a few similarities with place in the 4Ps marketing mix, they are actually two very different things. Place solely refers to where you’ll be selling the product, while convenience considers how customers choose to receive content and buy products or services.
For instance, if your target audience would rather shop online, then your items should be available online with flexible delivery options. The same goes if they prefer to try in-store before making a purchase.
You should know, however, that customer convenience can be a bit costly. Retailers that offer free “try before you buy” services online could see their volume of returned stock doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled.
So, before you decide how to add convenience to your content marketing plan, be sure to ask yourself this: What’s the most convenient service can we afford to offer customers without harming our business?
Remember, your goal here is to make your product simple and cost-effective enough for everyone to attain it without having to leap through hoops.
The final C is communication, and we mean effective communication. It’s one of the main ingredients of a successful marketing strategy.
Although one might say that communication and the fourth P, promotion, are similar, they’re completely unalike. Marketers promote a product to sway customers into getting them to buy a product, and at times, they can get manipulative and persuasive.
Communication, on the other hand, requires real interaction between the buyer and seller. It’s all about engaging consumers and building consumer trust and confidence, which can eventually drive sales.
Think about how you want to interact with your target audience. Aside from advertising, you should also consider other touchpoints like social media, in-store, customer support, and automated marketing communication.
Bear in mind that every interaction your business has with your customers can affect customer satisfaction, the possibility of future sales, and the likelihood of referrals. When deciding the mode and type of communication, channel, style, and other aspects of engagement, it’s really important to consider your ideal consumers.
Applying the 4Cs of Marketing
Any marketing strategy can benefit greatly from the 4C approach, as it allows marketers to get a deeper understanding of their audience before they can start developing a product.
Most marketers use this mix as a set of criteria for planning and evaluating marketing campaigns. It allows them to check and optimize their strategy for a product against each C to make sure they’ve covered all the bases. Any element that’s not been accounted for may raise some concerns.
Whenever you’re utilizing the four C’s, always think of your customers first, considering that it’s a consumer-centric approach. Figure out how you can satisfy their needs, and be sure to communicate clearly with them along the way. This will give them the feeling that you value them, which in turn, can increase their chances of buying from you.
On a Final Note
So, what do you think? Will you benefit more from the 4Cs of marketing, are you fine sticking to the original pillars? Feel free to let us know in the comments below!
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