Alternate Marketing mix – 4 C’s of marketing

4 Cs Marketing mix

The traditional Marketing mix is a 4 P’s model and is business oriented. The 4 C’s model of marketing on the other hand is more consumer oriented. Because of its focus on consumers, the 4 C’s model is mainly used for Niche Marketing. However, just like the traditional marketing mix, it can also be used for mass markets. The four variables in the 4 C’s model are

  1. Consumer
  2. Cost
  3. Convenience
  4. Communication

Consumer –  The principle of four C’s of marketing states that your customer should be your prime focus. Unlike the traditional marketing mix where the primary focus is on Products, in the 4 C’s model, the primary focus is on the customer. Thus the companies which follow this model believe in making products which satisfy their customers. They are generally ready to offer customizable products and because they have a general set of target customers, this principle is only applicable for smaller market segments and not for mass markets. For mass markets, the traditional marketing mix can be used.

Cost –  Cost is equivalent to Pricing in the traditional marketing mix. Cost is a very important consideration during consumer decision making and hence in the 4 C’s principle, the cost variable is given special attention. The 4 C’s model generally plans on the basis of Customers and not products. And hence they have to plan the cost of the product on the basis of their customer. If you are targeting a SEC A segment, then the costing of the product needs to be premium to have proper psychological positioning. On the other hand, if your product is for the SEC B and SEC C classes, then it needs to have a lower costing. Thus over here, costing of the product depends on the customer.

Communication –  The concept of communication remains same for both, the traditional marketing mix as well as for the 4 C’s of marketing. Off course, the marketing communications for a company following the 4 C’s of marketing is completely different as it needs a completely different Segmentation, targeting and positioning. As said before, the 4 C’s of marketing are generally used for Niche products. The media vehicles used for marketing communications for a mass product and that for a niche product are different. A niche marketing company might use more of BTL rather than ATL whereas in a mass marketing company, ATL communications are very important.

Convenience –  Convenience is equivalent of distribution or placement of the traditional marketing mix. When you have a niche customer base, the convenience of the customer in acquiring your product plays a critical role. Take a niche product like Heavy machinery as an example or even products like television and air conditioners. What if the companies who sell these products do not give you delivery and installation. You will not buy the product as you wont be ready to pick up the machine and install it yourself. You will be looking out for your own convenience. Thus convenience, like distribution, plays a critical role. The customer will not buy your product if it is not convenient to him.

All in all, the traditional marketing mix model helps a company define its strategy more efficiently. However, the 4 C’s model, although not much different, really helps if you are a customer oriented firm.

Hitesh Bhasin

Hitesh Bhasin

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  1. Please cite the original author who wrote about the 4Cs – Robert F Lauterborn:
    Robert F. Lauterborn is the James L. Knight Professor of Advertising in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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