4P’s vs the 4C’s of Marketing


Everyone who has studied marketing in the last 50 years has been introduced to the 4P’s. It was E. Jerome McCarthy who originally developed the mnemonic, the 4P’s of marketing, which serves as a neat and memorable classification system of the various elements of marketing.

Many marketing specialists are now seeing the 4P’s as too product-oriented and have adopted the 4C’s marketing mix. The 4P’s represents the elements of marketing we can control internally. They depend upon such “givens” as your budget, personnel, creativity, equipment etc. while the 4C’s represents the elements we can’t control such as the current economic environment including such elements as consumer confidence, degree of unemployment, new technologies, the threat of displacement, competitors, government regulations or changing consumer preferences.

This 4C’s model looks at the marketing from the customer’s point of view and reflects a more client-oriented marketing philosophy.

  1. Product becomes Customer needs and wants
  2. Price becomes Cost to the user
  3. Place becomes Convenience
  4. Promotion becomes Communication

They provide useful reminders – for example that you need to bear in mind the convenience of the client when deciding where to offer a service. To apply the 4Cs approach to marketing you must consider the impact of the “uncontrollable” elements on your marketing mix. The 4Cs explicitly require you to think like a customer. However, it does not require abandoning your core marketing concepts.

4 P’S focus on a particular target market 4 C’S focus on the customers
Product: The right product to satisfy the needs of your target customer. Individual goods, product lines, or services. Includes features, accessories, installation, instructions, service, warranty, packaging, and brand names.  Consumer wants and needs (vs. Products):   You have to study consumer wants and needs and then attract consumers one by one with something each one wants. Define it in terms of what it does for your customer (custom solution not a mass market). How does it help your customer to achieve, avoid or preserve something? You must be clear about the benefit you offer and how the customer’s life or work will be improved if he or she buys what you sell.
Price: The right product offered at the right price. Setting a price that serves the customer well and maximizes profits to the company. Price flexibility, level pricing, introductory pricing, discounts, allowances, geographic terms.  Cost to satisfy (vs. Price):  reflecting the reality of the total cost of ownership. Many factors affect cost, including but not limited to the customers cost to change or implement the new product or service and the customers cost for not selecting a competitors capability. 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. 
Place (Distribution): The right product at the right price available in the right place to be bought by customers. Getting the product to the customer. Channels, distribution systems, middlemen, warehousing, transportation, fulfilment, and shipping.  Convenience to buy (vs. Place): You must think of convenience to buy instead of place. Convenience takes into account the ease to buy a product, find a product, find information about a product, and several other considerations. 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. 
Promotion: Informing potential customers of the availability of the product, its price and its place. Communicating with the customer. Personal selling, mass selling, sales promotion, sales personnel, advertising, viral advertising, media selection, copywriting.  Communication (vs. Promotion): You have to consider the communication instead of promotion. Promotion is manipulative (ouch!) and represents a message only 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 communicate, help and listen to your customers. Developing a brand takes into account these considerations. Developing a brand is developing a promise. When you take into consideration the “4C’s” noted above you begin the process of developing a brand!


4Ps nd CsYou’ve done your market research. You’ve learned about the history and life-cycle of products like yours and the trends and key drivers that determine where your products or services “fit in the industry” Now it’s time to distill your research findings into a concentrated effort to generate a product that reflects your business goals and objectives while providing solutions (price, packaging, convenience) for the customer.

Read more articles on Business and Strategy!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s