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The Importance of Aligning Marketing With Customer Decision-Making (the 4 Cs)

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tactics and the understanding of how audiences respond to marketing evolve alongside the times. Trends and behavioral patterns all play a part in determining the most effective methods of marketing.

Traditional marketers will have you know that the “four Ps” are a tried and tested method in order to gain a competitive advantage, but modern times have proven that people are becoming much more aware and conscious about their consumption and choices. Therefore, the four Ps, which are focused on and services rather than the consumers themselves, are falling out of favor. On the other hand, the four Cs (Customer, Cost, Convenience and Communication) are the latest and much more effective marketing model, which is being employed today.

Four Cs and four Ps: Their main differences and similarities

There are minute similarities between the four Cs and four Ps methods of marketing, and while both methods have valid concerns as well as points, if the function is to convert potential customers into paying customers, the differences between these two methods is the key to increasing conversion.

Some might argue that the four Ps are more product-oriented and having winning products should be the focus, but in the world that is constantly being influenced by global trends, digital chatter and changing opinions, it is only by focusing on the consumer will businesses truly be able to find their market.

Related: Customer Care Is Your Best Marketing Strategy

Customer vs. product: Which is more important?

As mentioned above, manufacturers might be much more interested and invested in creating a stellar product. If that product happens to tick all the boxes that a customer is looking for, it would most definitely be a hit among the masses. However, if the product uses harsh chemicals which are known carcinogens, consumers will disregard the fact that the product is the most effective one on the market in doing what it’s supposed to do, because consumers are starting to look out for themselves and their best interests.

A good product takes care not to pollute the environment, because the environment directly affects the quality of life for the consumer. Neither does it contain harmful chemicals, because it may indirectly or directly harm the consumer’s health. When these things are taken into consideration, it might be obvious that consumers don’t need the best product effective at its job, but a product that they feel safe using.

The marketing message that companies are sending to their customers also makes a difference. A product-oriented message doesn’t offer any value to the consumer. It’s just a fact that doesn’t affect them at all. Take for example: “Best-selling shampoo in !” vs “Tangle and frizz-free hair is yours” — only one of these examples resonate with customers, and it’s not the former tagline.

Cost vs price: Isn’t it the same thing?

At first glance, it might seem that cost and price are synonyms, but the fact is that cost can point to certain values beyond the monetary sense. Perhaps a better way of looking at it is by dissecting the value of the product and whether it is worth the cost that it bears. A $3 dollar detergent might be the best value-for-money option when consumers consider its quality and effectiveness, but a $6 dollar detergent that is plant-based and does the job just as well, will be considered to be the superior product despite the pricing, because consumers now understand that price is directly reflective of its quality. A plant-based detergent is often preferable, especially for those with sensitive skin, children or are simply more eco-conscious.

In the past, businesses only focused on bringing down the price, believing that cheaper is better. In a way, it might work in poverty-stricken areas, but in the global landscape of the world, companies are not targeting third world countries, but the middle working class that dominates the majority.

Related: It’s All About the Customer Service

Convenience vs Place: How easy is it to purchase your product?

Before digitization, shoppers often frequented stores and physical outlets in order to be able to obtain what it is they want. However, ecommerce has become a permanent if not encroaching fixture in the world of retail, and consumers are more likely to purchase something over the internet than shop at malls.

First of all, there’s the idea that the same product at a mall would be priced higher, due to rent and other overhead expenses of the store. However, buying it directly from their online store would minimize the costs. This does depend on the store itself. Usually, brands make their products a uniform price across the board, but when it comes to groceries, the average consumer has noticed that the price fluctuates depending on which mall the purchase is made in and, oftentimes, finds that online options are much cheaper, because the middleman is cut out of the picture.

Secondly is the convenience afforded to consumers. It’s much easier to browse a website and put a few items into the cart and checkout rather than getting dressed and making their way to the physical store to browse and do essentially the same thing. If you are able to pay your bills online, why would you ever go to an office so you can wait in line for your turn? The psychology and logic are the same.

Communication vs promotion: Are you relatable?

A suitable analogy for promotional messages is much like yelling without listening. Companies try to come up with the most attention-grabbing slogan (like “BUY ONE, GET TWO FREE!”) irrespective of what the client actually wants. What if all the client wanted was 100ml extra? When businesses listen to their demographic, they’ll soon realize what they need to change in order to serve their customers better.

Communication is something that digitization has changed forever, not just in terms of relationships between their customer base, but even between consumers themselves. People are posting reviews and sharing their thoughts online and publicly, and if businesses don’t take this opportunity to listen, they are sorely missing out.

Businesses are starting to be oriented towards connecting with their consumers. This is beneficial to all, because companies no longer have to do guesswork to provide what they hope consumers want, causing tons of waste and lost investments if the product is a flop. Furthermore, it also creates a symbiotic relationship between consumers and businesses, which decreases losses and risks.

Related: The Face of Intelligent Marketing? Your Customer.

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