The C's and P's of Marketing. What's the Difference?

Many people who have taken a marketing course have learned about the "4 P's" of marketing. Are Product, Price, Place and Promotion elements of this marketing formula something from the past?

Bob Lauterborn, professor of advertising at the University of North Carolina has tracked the success of new products introduced into the U.S. According to Bob, 80 percent of new products fail each year. With such a high failure rate, Bob notes that something isn't working with our "mindset". He wants to replace the Four P's with his Four C's.

Brand Strategy Marketing


Consumer wants and needs (vs. Products)

You can't develop products and then try to sell them to a mass market. You have to study consumer wants and needs and then attract consumers one by one with something each one wants. Author of the movie Field of Dreams, J.P. Cancilla may have exclusive rights to the phrase "build it and they will come". In most cases, you have to find out what people want and then "build" it for them, their way.

Cost to satisfy (vs. Price)

You have to realize that price - measured in dollars - is one part of the cost to satisfy. If you sell hamburgers, for example, you have to consider the cost of driving to your restaurant, the cost of conscience of eating meat, etc. One of the most difficult places to be in the business world is the retailer selling at the lowest price. If you rely strictly on price to compete you are vulnerable to competition - in the long term.

Convenience to buy (vs. Place)

You must think of convenience to buy instead of place. You have to know how each subset of the market prefers to buy - on the Internet, from a catalogue, on the phone, using credit cards, etc. Lands End clothing, Amazon Books and Dell Computers are just a few businesses who do very well over the Internet.

Communication (vs. Promotion)

You have to consider the communication instead of promotion. Promotion is manipulative (ouch!) - it's from the seller. Communication requires a give and take between the buyer and seller (that's nicer). Be creative and you can make any advertising "interactive". Use phone numbers, your web site address, etc. to help here. And listen to your customers when they are "with" you.

Developing a brand takes into account these considerations. Developing a brand is developing a promise. When you take into consideration the "4 C's" noted above you begin the process of developing a brand! Custom Fit Online follows the "4 C's" approach when developing strategy for our clients. These principles can also be applied online.

The 4 C's versus the 4 P's of Marketing. Are the 4 P's outdated?

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What Do YOU Think?

How does the concept of the 4's fit into your business strategic planning? Can you also apply these to the online world... including website design and development and the SEO space? Please feel free to add your comments, questions or suggestions below.


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Roy McClean
Oct 19, 2012
By Roy McClean

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