Founder at Reputio and tech evangelist.
Consumerist behavior has changed and evolved. People are becoming more conscious about their choices and what they spend their money on. In the past, companies only had to focus on creating a great product, but now it’s all about customer experience. That is why the four Cs (customer, cost, convenience, communication) have replaced the four Ps (product, price, place, promotion).
What are the key differences between the four Cs and the four Ps?
To the marketing newbie, both approaches look extremely similar with very minute differences. However, if a business is invested in improving conversion, fulfilling the needs of the customers will result in higher sales. Even if the differences don’t feel all that innovative, the effects of applying the four Cs to your marketing plan will cause a shift toward generating more sales by finally addressing what the current customer is looking for.
1. Customer over product: Customers don’t care about your product; they care about themselves.
When you’re out shopping for something, do you want to get the best product on the market or the best product for yourself? Is the customer looking for a bestseller that does not meet their needs or a product that does exactly what they want and more?
It’s important to relate to the customer. When you market your product to be beneficial to the customer, instead of putting the emphasis on the product itself, it immediately becomes more desirable.
Which product do you think will get picked up more often? A skincare product that is advertised as “One sold every five seconds” or “Say goodbye to fine lines”? They both contain five words, but the messages that they send are astronomically different. Structure your marketing message in such a way that it will connect with potential customers.
2. Cost over price: What the product costs is about more than just its price.
In a world where sustainability and ethical manufacturing are becoming mainstream trends, it’s important to address the issues of conscience cost and the cost of opportunity. Consumers cannot in good conscience buy something that conflicts with their morals, whether that means the product contains a certain ingredient or it involved testing on animals. Not meeting the consumer’s moral standards is a cost in itself.
Traditionally, it was thought that price was what mattered most to consumers, but would you really buy a T-shirt for $2 knowing that the dye is toxic and it was made with child labor? Or would a customer be more comfortable buying a $20 ethically manufactured T-shirt made from biodegradable fabric?
There’s also an opportunity cost to consider. Will purchasing this product or service somehow remove the customer from another opportunity? For example, say the latest iPhone costs more than another smartphone with similar features, and buying the less expensive phone gives the consumer the opportunity to buy a PS5. Which one do you think the consumer would choose? Their dream phone, or more stuff? It’s more than likely that they would opt for the option that provides more value for their money.
3. Convenience over place: Who sells your products is not as important as how your customers can buy your products.
Thanks to the rise of e-commerce, placing your product on online marketplaces is a surefire way to meet the needs of buyers. First of all, many consumers already understand how to navigate online shopping sites such as Amazon, so there won’t be a learning curve and the need to create a new account just to checkout. Therefore, if you plan to host your own checkout system on your website, make sure that your customer will be able to check out with ease.
Being required to sign up for an account is often seen as an inconvenience, even if that means that all of their information will be stored for their next visit. That’s why many websites provide the option to check out as guest. Also, the shipping fee should already be factored into the price because customers are more receptive to “free shipping” than seeing shipping itemized and charged to their bill.
4. Communication over promotion: Don’t try hard-selling; try convincing.
Think about salespeople and how they try to rope you into buying something by offering the best discounts, the best deals and the best service. It can often feel like coercion, and it isn’t sustainable in the long run because the customer won’t feel comfortable with the decision if they don’t feel like it was their own choice.
With the communication method, you give your customers the choice to choose you. Instead of targeting your customers, let them come to you and make sure that you are easy to reach. Offer one-click live chat services on your website, allow for customization (if the product is customizable) and do what you can in order to feel like a hospitable brand.
Building relationships with customers is crucial to the success of your brand. Social media and e-commerce are giving businesses the opportunity to stay connected with their customer bases, and when all four Cs are met, you’ll have gained yourself new loyal customers.