Beth Harte from The Harte of Marketing blog has a must-read post for all marketers and professionals: Rethinking the Marketing Mix from the Customer's Perspective.
Her premise is simple: The old model of the Four P's (Product, Place, Price, and Promotion) should be superceded by a customer-centric model known as the Four C's (Customer, Convenience, Cost, and Communications).
Why? Beth sums it up nicely:
"We are all familiar with the marketing mix: Product, Place (i.e. Distribution), Price and Promotion. It is drilled into our heads in college and it is reinforced with corporate structure. The problem with the marketing mix is that it does not consider the customer, it only considers the product. ... With the advent of the computer, Internet and now social media, it is almost impossible to keep one’s marketing head buried in the proverbial sand. Times have changed, customers have gained control and they aren’t going to give it back." (emphasis mine)
Per Beth, the Four C's function as such:
- Customer: How can you satisfy customer needs or wants? It is virtually impossible to sell whatever it is you want to make (even Apple can’t do this.) You must sell what people want to buy (this is what Apple does best.)
- Convenience: It doesn’t matter how or where you want to distribute your products and services. It only matters where people want to buy them. If it is not convenient to buy, they will go elsewhere.
- Cost: Customers care about the cost to satisfy their needs and wants. They do not care about the cost of your raw goods, manufacturing and margins that leads you to a price that satisfies you or your shareholders.
- Communications: Is your message relevant to the customer? If not, they will ignore you. Are they reciprocating with an action? If they are but you are not, they will move on to someone who will.
For profesional service firm marketers and the professionals in these firms, think about what this model means for your firm and/or for your practice. You can use these Four C's as a foundational framework to build about your marketing strategy upon.