Today shoppers are getting more web-savvy and informed by the minute. They slowly change their habits and you should too. They need to be at the heart of your strategy and while you may have used the popular 4P model, a customer-guided approach may be more effective. This is where the 4C model comes into play where the product is no longer king and we focus on the client instead.
Multichannel and over-informed, customers are no longer mere spectators and buyers, but real actors. They need to be heard, understood, as well as recognised by your brand. If they don’t agree with the values your company conveys, they won't want to be involved with your brand.
The 4C rule is about understanding customer expectations and needs to better orchestrate marketing and sales actions. The customer is king and you need to know how to be successful in their kingdom!
From 4P to 4C: Why you should stop thinking Product and start thinking Customer
In our digital and ultra-connected world, everything changes at the speed of light and to succeed, marketing models have had to change. The mythical product-oriented 4P are no longer the golden rule to sell.
Let’s quickly define 4P.
- Product: product policy to determine its functionality (quality, style, packaging, etc.)
- Place: product distribution policy (POSs, stocks and warehouses, means of transport, etc.)
- Promotion: communication policy around the product (sales promotion, public relations, sales force, etc.)
- Price: product price policy (price, discount, payment terms, etc.)
This simple method, introduced as a reminder to not forget anything before the release of a product, has shown its limits. Deployed just after the Second World War, it aimed to implement marketing strategies to market product lines.
But although the markets were in fact very product-oriented, the sacrosanct 4P rule was out of breath by the 1990s. The arrival of the Internet was the equivalent of a tsunami. The consumer has become Atawad, a contraction of Any Time, Any Device, meaning they can buy anytime, anywhere and from any device!
This has also provoked a change in the buying behaviour. The digital consumer has become increasingly difficult to attract, especially when competition is strong.
The transition from a Product Centric marketing to a Consumer Centric marketing has therefore become obvious. In the 1990s, Robert Lauterborn, a marketing professor, proposed an evolution of 4P, followed by Philip Kotler, to focus on the consumer.
The Customer is King and must be considered as such in the realm of the Internet!
C for Customer Needs (what the customer needs)
Of course, the customer has needs. However, in a Customer Centric approach where the customer is at the heart of the priorities, they must be considered as a person in their own right attention. To satisfy them, you must not only meet all their requests, but also their expectations of services.
You have to put yourself in their place and ask the right questions to better understand them: do they have any fear? Any doubts? What are their real desires? What problem are they facing? How can you respond effectively?
In a world where immediacy is paramount, it is essential to offer a product/service that quickly meets all the criteria and expectations of the prospect.
C for Cost to Satisfy (expenses related to the product/service)
While the buyers are always after good deals, they are also aware that low cost sometimes hide additional expenses. They are expert websurfers who won't hesitate to compare the products and create bidding wars.
They want to save money but without feeling like guinea pigs nor trapped. An unsatisfied customer will not be loyal to your brand. And at a time when the use of social networks is exploding, your e-reputation is likely to be tarnished in case of litigation.
It is therefore crucial to determine the acceptable budget for your prospects. You must give them the full cost and explain any indirect expenses to earn their trust (and your sale!).
C for Convenience of Buying (pleasure of buying)
Obviously, the acquisition of a new product is part of an overall process of satisfaction. Your customer experience must be optimal to avoid losing a future buyer. You must anticipate what they might possibly blame you for, but also what they expect of you.
From their first search for information to delivery, or even after-sales service, the shopping journey must be perfectly smooth, without any surprises, to facilitate decision-making.
C for Communication (means of communication)
Communication encompasses all marketing actions to inform your target and enhance your brand, from the graphic chart to the dissemination of content, through the promotional tools. It is part of a relational logic where it is essential to establish a constructive dialogue in the long term, on the right channel and at the right time.
To better interact with your customers, invest in a more qualitative and human relationship. Social networks are powerful levers to connect to Internet users and increase the impact of your brand. Make good use of them!
4C and customer relationship? Think CRM!
Customer satisfaction has never been so important in the sales process but you need the right tools to manage it. With a powerful CRM software in SaaS mode, your sales and marketing teams will be able to create a perfectly adapted online solution.
Pipeline view for real-time control, 360° vision for tracking, lead tracking and scoring features, sales automation, etc. an intuitive and mobile CRM tool is the guarantee of an optimal customer relationship management.