Recently, I published an article about the 4 P’s and Marketing Mix. I would like to follow that up now with a discussion on the 4 C’s of the marketing mix. This isn’t entirely unrelated to the previous topic, so you may want to check that one out, before or after you read this one. In fact, to some extent, I will assume you are familiar with the other article (or will be).
Why Do We Need 4 C’s?
Since I’ve already covered the 4 P’s, you may be wondering, why do we need 4 C’s. Aren’t the 4 P’s enough, or was I wrong about them in the first place? The answers to those questions are no and no. The 4 P’s aren’t enough, in the sense that how much is too much when it comes to succeeding in your business. Wouldn’t you like more information, not less, when it comes to building your business? It’s not that the 4 P’s are wrong, or not enough. Instead, the 4 C’s are more of an extension of those principles.
Introducing the 4 C’s
The 4 C’s are principles that were first introduced in the 1990s. They were meant to update, or reinforce, the older 4 P’s model. In a way, they are restating the basic principles, or looking at them from a different angle.
2. Consumer Wants and Needs
You should notice some similarities between these 4 terms and the terms that make up the 4 P’s. The correlation between them isn’t accidental. Marketing best practices are usually interrelated.
In the 4 P’s, we looked at the function of price in the marketing mix. Here, it gets reimagined as cost, but this isn’t simply a name change. The supposition here is that cost involves more than just the priced paid at time of purchase. There may be costs of conscience, or costs of opportunity. For many products, there are ongoing costs after the initial purchase. Take for example a car-buying decision. Aside from the sticker price of the vehicle, it is common to research the maintenance costs for different models of cars. This could have a significant impact on the long term costs of buying a particular type of car.
Consumer Wants and Needs
This is another way to look at the idea that every product or service should be solving a problem for the customer. I hinted at it in the other article, but solving a problem doesn’t always look like what we typically think of as a problem. The word problem tends to carry a negative connotation, though it doesn’t have to.
By rephrasing it as consumer wants and needs, it is easily recognized that many purchases aren’t meant to solve a negative problem. Many purchases are simply solving “problems” such as what I want for dinner, or how I will spend my free time in an entertaining, or constructive, way. So, it’s not always about literal needs. Sometimes it’s about the wants that are optional. In the latter case, this presents an opportunity for marketers, because it can be easier to sway a customer’s decision on an item that is optional than on something that they need out of necessity.
This C is another example of reimagining one of the P’s from older model. The promotion aspect of the marketing mix is transformed from a more manipulative approach to a more cooperative approach, at least in appearance. The cooperative connotations of the communication principle suggests that there is a two-way dialogue between buyer and seller. The process of matching wants and need with appealing solutions then becomes a mutual product. In this case, this stage of the marketing mix becomes more about relationships. Relationships are critical to obtaining repeat customers, as well as gaining new customers through referrals.
The last item is an expansion of place in the marketing mix. According to this principle, products should be readily available to potential customers. Ideally, the product placement would include multiple locations. This creates a convenience factor. Speaking for myself, I don’t like when people make it hard for me to spend my money. If I have to jump through hoops to purchase what I need, or simply want, I will often choose not to.
Conveniently accessible, visible locations increase the convenience factor and this is a strong advantage of online marketing. Websites are easily accessed from almost anywhere. In some cases, it is possible to make a product available in multiple online locations. If the product(s) you are marketing happen to be digital products, the convenience factor shoots up even higher.
Why do you think Amazon can charge what they do for their Prime membership? With a few mouse clicks, I can order a physical product and have it delivered to my doorstep in two days, or less. If I’m bored, I have thousands of online movies and shows at my fingertips, waiting to be watched. Whenever I get a notification that I’m being charged the annual fee for my Amazon Prime account, it always strikes me that it seems a little expensive. And then I pay it anyway. Why? Convenience.
The Importance of the Marketing Mix
Whether you prefer to view your marketing mix efforts as the 4 P’s, the 4 C’s, or some combination of both, it’s okay. The main thing is that you are giving careful, deliberate thought to your marketing efforts. The marketing mix is meant to provide a framework for planning and implementing your strategies.
You can apply these principles whether your online business is marketing your own products, or if you are marketing someone else’s products through an affiliate program. Either way, the purpose of your business is to make a profit and, ultimately, to earn your living from it. Having a plan and a process will greatly increase your chances of success.
If you haven’t read about the 4 P’s yet, head over there now and learn more about the ins and out of the marketing mix.
Are you a newcomer interested in jumping into the world of online marketing? I hope the information provided on this site will be helpful to you and invite you to check back often for more tips and tutorials. If you are still unsure of how to get started, I recommend having a look at the Wealthy Affiliate program. It is a valuable resource that I use myself, but I think it is most beneficial to newcomers who have plenty of motivation, but not as much experience.
You can read my review of Wealthy Affiliate and see what you think. It’s free to join, if you want to give it test drive.