You may have heard the terms 4Ps and 4Cs before, but what do they actually mean? These are two different types of marketing strategies that can be used in several different situations. They are slightly different in focus, but both are important to understand.
Read on for a detailed explanation of the difference between 4Ps and 4Cs.
What is the marketing mix?
Almost all marketers (successful ones, at least) are familiar with the marketing mix concept. A marketing mix is a group of strategies that can be used to promote a product. This mix typically contains four different strategies, known as the 4Ps and the 4Cs.
What are the 4Ps?
The 4Ps of marketing is a framework used to help businesses select the most effective marketing strategies to reach their target audience. Marketers use this to help them understand customer behavior which provides insights into which product/service offering will be the most successful in reaching target customers and, more importantly, which channels will be the best for communicating that offer to the end-user.
These 4Ps are Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.
Product is the first “P” of marketing, and it refers to the physical product itself. The product may be tangible or intangible, meaning that it has both physical and emotional benefits.
For example, when selling an iPhone, people might purchase it for the following reasons:
- The ability to connect with friends and family through social media.
- To have access to a vast library of music, movies, books, etc.
- The ability to constantly stay up-to-date on current affairs (internet access)
- Being able to take high-quality photos and videos with up to date features that can be used to share on social media
- The ability to multitask with many apps open at once
These are all benefits that can be considered both physical and emotional, which is why the product itself caters to a certain type of consumer.
Price refers to the monetary value placed on the product/service offering. This must be balanced against the product offering itself and its importance to the targeted audience.
For example, Apple’s iPhone is a premium-priced item, but because it caters to people interested in purchasing cutting-edge technology, they are willing to pay that price.
Place, or distribution channel, is the third “P” of marketing. It refers to how a product gets from the supplier to the end-user.
The three traditional forms of distribution channels are:
- Physical stores sell products directly to consumers, such as supermarkets and corner stores.
- Sales representatives carry samples or catalogs and sell them to businesses, such as a plumber selling a new pipe to a restaurant.
- Agents, brokers, and wholesalers source products from manufacturers and then sell them to retailers or marketers, such as a car manufacturer selling their cars to a car dealer.
In the modern world, technology has created many different options that weren’t available in the past. These include online retailers such as Amazon, marketplaces, websites that connect buyers and sellers, affiliate marketing where you can sell through someone else’s website, and more.
Promotion refers to all marketing communications, such as advertising, public relations, and sales promotion.
Advertising is a paid form of non-personal communication through various media such as television, radio, and online. It typically contains a call to action that persuades the consumer to purchase a product or service and is delivered to create brand awareness, which can lead to sales.
What are the 4Cs?
The 4Cs of marketing are similar to the 4Ps but apply the model directly to the consumer instead of focusing on product characteristics.
It’s built off the idea that marketers have to create a “one-to-one” relationship with their customers and that involves not only knowing the customer as an individual but also understanding their needs.
The 4Cs are:
This is the targeted audience that marketers want to reach. A lot of pre-market research has to be undertaken to understand who this audience is and their needs and wants.
To do this, marketers will use tools such as surveys, focus groups, and talking to existing customers.
You can profile a consumer as follows:
- Who they are as an individual, such as their age, gender, and social class.
- What motivates them in life, which will influence why they buy certain products.
- How they behave when deciding what to buy, where to buy from, and what to use.
- Where they prefer to shop, which is likely to influence where they go for certain products.
- Their preferences are when it comes to certain things such as brands, styles, and features.
Price is an essential aspect of marketing communication because consumers will be influenced by the price charged for a product or service.
It’s not just about selling a product at the highest price possible because that could scare away customers.
Instead, marketers need to work out what price is acceptable to the consumer and profitable for the business.
Different consumers will have different perceptions about what a fair price is for a product, which is why marketing communication needs to address cost.
For example, if a brand were selling a luxury product and wanted to attract high-income consumers, they would charge a high price.
On the other hand, they would charge a lower price to target low-income consumers.
When a consumer is deciding where they should go to buy a product, convenience is likely to be an important factor.
To encourage customers to purchase a product, it has to be reasonably close and easy to get to for them.
For example, if you’re selling a product online, it has to be clear how people can get hold of it.
In addition, the website needs to be easy to use, functional and user-friendly.
If people can’t use the website, they will go elsewhere to shop.
This refers to the relationship between a business and customers. It’s not just about providing excellent service, it also has to be engaging and involve customers.
They want to feel involved in the process, so marketers have to provide them with opportunities for interaction.
For example, if you are selling clothes online, customers like to be able to say what they think about the product.
This could involve asking for their opinion or allowing them to give feedback.
You can use tools such as social media to create engagement with customers.
Difference between 4Ps and 4Cs of marketing:
Many marketing textbooks will refer to the 4Ps and 4Cs as if they are interchangeable.
However, this is not the case.
Both are used to communicate with customers, but they are two different things.
While the 4Ps are about communicating product information to consumers, the 4Cs are about communicating customer information to marketers to know who their target audience is.
They differ in the following ways:
- The 4Ps look at the internal processes of a business and marketing strategy, while the 4Cs focuses on how customers can be influenced.
- The 4Ps are a framework for the marketing mix and how to achieve market share, while the 4Cs form part of the customer service quality model.
- The 4Ps deal with promoting a brand to potential customers, while the 4Cs deal with personalizing customer services and interactions to the individual.
- The 4Ps communicate product information to customers, while the 4Cs focus on marketing information to businesses about their customers.
What are the factors that influence 4Ps and 4Cs?
Many factors influence the 4Ps and 4Cs. Some of these include:
The level of market penetration that a brand has will influence how it should communicate with customers.
For example, if the company is struggling to build a customer base, it may communicate product information more often.
However, if a brand has high market penetration and there is no competition from other brands, it might not need to promote its product as much.
Product Life Cycle.
The life cycle of a product will also influence how it is marketed.
For example, if a product has just been launched, it might need to communicate information such as its price and availability.
However, this information may not be so important once the product has been on the market for a while.
The tastes and preferences of customers will influence how they are marketed to.
For example, if a brand targets young consumers who like fashion, it is likely to promote its product by featuring trendy models.
On the other hand, if the brand targets older customers who are more concerned with quality, it may rely on its product to sell itself.
A company’s distribution strategy will influence how it is marketed.
For example, if the brand has a high-end product only sold in the most exclusive shops in a city, it is unlikely to use TV advertising.
However, if the product is sold in a wide range of stores across many regions, it may consider using TV advertising.
The 4Ps and 4Cs are both important when it comes to marketing. However, they differ in their focus and how they affect businesses. They also influence each other. Both are crucial to achieving success in the marketplace and therefore should be included in any marketing strategy.