Understanding the 4 Cs and how to incorporate them into your business practices
As a business owner or driver of a company’s marketing efforts, your main goal is to ensure that your products and services are actually in demand. Once you’re sure they are, your next responsibility is to make sure your offerings stand out from your competitors, making your enterprise viable at the end of the day.
In the 1950s, Neil Borden popularized the “marketing mix,” which consisted of the 4 Ps—product, price, place, and promotion. 1990, Bob Lauterborn adapted marketing practices to an evolving business environment.
The first of the 4 Ps refers to demand and, consequently, the availability of your product or service in the market. Does your product offer something new – such as an innovation that will make people’s lives easier? Or are you offering an already existing product with enhancements? While this may seem like an obvious element to consider, it is not one that can be taken for granted as it is the starting point of your efforts to build a brand.
Being a successful entrepreneur also requires that you be able to balance the cost of making your product or the price at which you sell your service. Depending on your business model, combining what customers can afford while making a profit will be a challenge.
This point refers to how your product or service will be delivered. Will your company be more successful if it offers its products online, or does the nature of your business require you to 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 you offer. Note that it is 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 be building brand awareness online purely through social media platforms or will you need a public relations campaign to get your product or service to market?
From the above, we see how this marketing strategy focuses on selling to the masses with little focus on the target audience. The 4 Cs, however, is 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 money.
Let’s look at each component individually and how—whether outsourced or in-house—you can shift your focus to your customers and increase profits.
The 4 Cs 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 effort on your part, where you look for information like customer profiles, buying habits and feedback. For example, you can monitor social media to determine how your product or service is received.
Depending on where your business is developing, this could mean adapting a product or service to meet your customers’ needs, or your starting point for creating a special offer.
Second, expanding on Borden’s concept of price, this element considers the customer’s time with the total cost of your product or service. For example, selling your offering in an online store will save your clients from traveling to the point of sale as well as travel costs to you.
On the other hand, consider whether there is an opportunity to sell your product or service at an additional price because customers will be willing to pay for a proposition that speaks to their values? For example, if you run a health store whose main selling point is providing environmentally friendly products, do you follow through on this commitment by using recycled packaging that you can charge a little more for?
In addition to properly pricing your product or service, your business should also consider the experience of your customers. That is, is your offer easy to find? If so, how are you making purchasing decisions easier for your target audience? For example, if you have an online store, is the platform user-friendly? Do you offer different payment and delivery options?
The last of Lauterborn’s 4 Cs refers to interacting with potential customers in a dialogue rather than persuading or manipulating them. For example, once you attract customers, how do you keep their attention and earn their trust? Social media provides an opportunity to create a channel through which you can interact with your target audience and interact with them when they give you feedback. You need to ensure that you have dedicated resources to respond in a timely manner and to adapt when criticism is raised. By responding quickly and showing customers that you value their opinion, you not only build your brand reputation but you also secure future revenue.
In this article, we have looked at the different approaches to marketing and how the 4 Cs of Marketing are essential to turn any business into sales. By identifying who responds to your marketing efforts, this strategy allows business owners to personalize their products and customize their services to a specific demographic to generate turnover.
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