What are the 4Cs of marketing?

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What are the 4Cs of marketing?

What are the 4Cs of marketing? (Thinkstock/Wavebreak)

We've previously covered the 4Ps of marketing and how these components provide essential questions that every company needs to ask itself before launching a new product or service.

However, one of the criticisms of this approach, which focuses on product, place, promotion and price, is that it is too business-oriented. As a result, the 4Cs were developed, which look at the issue from a more client-facing perspective. 

Here, firms are encouraged to think like a consumer, considering four key points of:

  • Customer
  • Cost
  • Communication
  • Convenience

In a way, these are direct substitutes for the 4Ps – customer replacing product, cost for price, communication for promotion and convenience for place. But how does swapping a P for a C make a difference?

Customer: You should consider what your customer wants or needs, and how this can be related back to the product. Why will someone be interested in what you have to offer? Ultimately, your position in the market is determined by the consumer's perception of your product.

Cost: While you might have thought about what price is good when it comes to profits, how does this impact on the consumer? Does it offer good value? Will the buyer feel satisfied with what they have received in exchange for what they have paid? If not, this could have a long-term negative effect.

Communication: Thinking about how you can effectively get your marketing message across is essential to raising awareness of the product. You need to address "what's in it for me?" from a customer point of view and answer this as part of your communication plan. 

Similarly, engaging with customers on what they feel about the product can be significantly useful when developing future products – opening these lines of communication on social media and online forums where they are encouraged to leave comments can be extremely beneficial.

Convenience: How easy is it for consumers to buy the product? Is it readily available in the kind of retail outlets they are likely to visit? What barriers might they face when trying to locate it? You can't expect your audience to jump through hoops.

Of course, the 4Cs are the questions – and coming up with the answers isn't always a straightforward process. For extra guidance, you should consider attending one of our marketing training courses.

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