Sales, Marketing and Communication

The marketing mix: The 4P’s and 4C’s

You've analyzed your market. You know your own product and similar product’s story and life circle along with the trends and central elements, that decide where your product or your service fits into your industry. Now it is time to start focusing on research and create a product that reflects your business goals and targets, while it also gives your customers great solutions (price, packaging, convenience).

According to the traditional marketing mix-model, what you sold was what you produced. According to the new model, you must sell what your customers want. The old Marketing Mix dealt the four P’s of marketing: Product, price, place and promotion. If consider starting or expanding your business or selling a new product, these four P’s should (still) be top of mind at all time:

  1. Product: Which capabilities should the product have? Number of variations, design, functions and finesses, product names, packaging etc. Define your product according to what difference it makes for your customer. How does it help the customer in achieving, avoiding or maintaining something? Be specific about the advantages you offer and about how the product improves your customer’s life or work, if she buys it.

  2. Price: Basic pricing, but also discounts, package prices and credit arrangements. Think about whether your price is appropriate in relation to your competitions' prices. Maybe is should be higher or lower?

  3. Place: This broad term includes distribution- and sales-channels, special assortments for different markets and customers, transport and storage. In short, where do you want to sell your product? From your own shop, online, by email or something entirely different?

  4. Promotion: Advertising, personal sales and PR is contained in this category. Consider, how the process appears from the first contact with a potential customer to the final sale.

Everyone who has studied marketing within the last 50 years have been introduced to the 4P’s. It was E. Jerome McCarthy who originally developed the mnemonic that makes the different marketing elements easy to remember. Initially, McCarthy defined the marketing mix as a combination of controllable factors that a marketer has at her disposal.

Creative marketing after the 4P’s method dictate that you constantly question the current situation and search for ways in which you are able to optimize your existing marketing mix. For instance by erasing existing products or services, sell them at another price or at another place or promote them differently. However, this doesn't mean that you should abandon your central marketing concepts.

In later years, attempts have been made to expand the mix so that it not only satisfies the needs of the customers but also maximizes the achievements of the organization. This model expands the marketing mix with a fifth P; which stands for People or Personnel. But this mix still does not consider the uncontrollable factors that also affect your marketing.

Controllable and uncontrollable factors can be defined as:

Controllable factors:
The 4P’s represent the elements of marketing we control internally. These are dependent on fixed elements such as your budget, employees, creativity, etc.

Uncontrollable factors:
The above 4P’s can, with great advantages, be combined with the 4C’s that focus on the customer’s needs. The 4P’s focus on the needs of the company.

Many marketing experts criticize the 4P method for being too product oriented and now apply the 4C marketing mix instead, because this is a model that is based on the customer.

  1. Product becomes Customer needs and wants

  2. Price becomes Cost to the user

  3. Place becomes Convenience

  4. Promotion becomes Communication

These 4C’s reflect a more customer oriented marketing philosophy. They act as a useful reminder that, for instance, you have to consider the customer’s convenience when assessing where to offer your service. To apply the 4C marketing method you think about the meaning of the uncontrollable elements of your marketing mix. The 4 C’s require that you think like your customer.

The 4C’s imply:

  1. Consumer: Focus is on customer satisfaction. The product is designed and produced with the customer’s demands and wishes in mind.

  2. Cost: Here, the price refers to the total price of owning the product. This includes the actual prize of the product, the cost of changing the product and the cost of not choosing the competition’s product.

  3. Convenience: Consider how to make it easier for your customer to get your product. And to make it convenient to gain access to product information.

  4. Communication: Includes advertising, PR, personal sales and any given method that can be used to communicate with the customer in a decent and timely manner.