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Marketing Strategy: Forget the 4 P’S! What are the 4 C’S?

As marketers, we’re all taught about the four pillars of marketing strategy. The 4 P’s- Product, Price, Place, and Promotion are ingrained in our memory from day one of our education in the marketing world. However, these four categories align with four other, more realistic pillars of marketing: the 4 C’s.

What are the 4 C’s?

The 4 C’s of marketing, which consist of Consumer wants and needs, Cost, Convenience, and Communication, are arguably much more valuable to the marketing mix than the 4 P’s. They focus not only on marketing and selling a product but also on communication with the target audience from the beginning of the process to the very end.

The 4 P’s focus on a seller-oriented marketing strategy, which can be extremely effective for sales. However, the 4 C’s offer a more consumer-based perspective on the marketing strategy.

To further explain the importance of the 4 C’s, I’ll break them down piece by piece for you.

1. Customer Wants and Needs

The first C in this marketing mix is the customer’s wants and needs. Instead of focusing on the product itself, the first C focuses on filling a void in the customer’s life.

man-working-on-marketing-strategyThis marketing strategy is important for businesses that are interested in seeking an understanding of their customers. Once you understand your customer, it becomes much easier to create a product that will be of benefit to them. The customer makes the purchase decision and is, therefore, the most valuable resource in any marketing strategy.

2. Cost

teen girl holding a credit card looking at a laptopThe Second C in this marketing mix is cost. Don’t confuse the cost of your product with its price. Price is only a small segment of the overall cost of buying a product to a customer. It is important to determine of overall cost – not price – of your product to the customer. Cost not only includes price of the item, but also may include things such as the time it takes for the customer to get to your location in order to buy your product, or the cost of gas that it takes to get them there. Cost can also include the product’s benefit, or lack-there-of, to the customer.

3. Convenience

The Third C within this marketing mix is convenience. Convenience is similar to “place” in the 4P’s marketing strategy. However, these two are very different. Place simply refers to where the product will be sold. Convenience is a much more customer-oriented approach to this marketing strategy.

2 adults looking at cellphonesOnce you have analyzed your customer’s habits, you should be able to know whether they shop online or in stores as well as what they are willing to do to buy your product. The overall cost of the product will determine in part its convenience to your target audience. The goal is to make the product cost effective and simple enough for the customer to attain the product without having to jump through hoops.

 4. Communication

woman-discussing-marketing-strategyThe fourth and final C in this marketing mix is communication. Communication is always key to business marketing; without it, the 4 C’s would not be effective. Communication is similar to the fourth P, promotion; however, it is very different.

Promotion of a product is used to sway customers in order to get them to buy a product. Promotion can often be manipulative and ineffective. However, communication is (again) a customer-oriented approach to the task of selling products. Communication requires interaction between the buyer and seller. This marketing strategy can very easily be implemented through the use of social media.

hand holding iphoneMarketing a product on your social media sites, or even including links to your social media profiles can be very beneficial to your customers. This allows them to interact with your brand on a personal level and will eventually lead to greater brand loyalty among your customers.


Applying the 4 C’s

The 4 C’s of marketing can be highly beneficial to any marketing strategy. This strategy forces marketers to really understand their audience before they even being to develop a product. This strategy requires communication throughout the entire process, from start to finish, and begins with understanding what the customer wants and needs out of your product.

When utilizing the 4 C’s, just remember to always think of your customer first, and communicate with them along the way. Consequently, your audience will feel like you are speaking directly to them and their needs.

Do you prefer the 4 P’s or the 4 C’s of marketing? Tell us in the comments below!


CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

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