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Marketing Mix: The 4 C’s — Outside-In Approach

Marketing Mix:
The 4 C’s —
Outside-In Approach


Jamey Gentry, Director
Marketing Communications

You would think with a solid foundation of the 4 P’s, plus three additional supports to address service-based products — getting us to a total of 7 P’s — the Marketing Mix theory would be covered. Not true according to Bob Lauterborn, professor of advertising at the University of North Carolina. Lauterborn recommends we shift our focus from inward to outward so we take the all-important customer into perspective.

The 4 C’s replace each one of the 4 P’s with a more customer-focused concept:

Consumer/Customer/Client replaces Product: Before you release a product, be sure it meets your target’s needs and wants. Lauterborn tracked the success of new U.S. products and observed an annual failure rate of 80 percent. One reason may be that these businesses made assumptions or didn’t listen to the market.

Cost replaces Price: Think of this as “the cost to satisfy,” not just the price of the product. Customers may have to pay a non-monetary cost for the convenience of accessing your product or be willing to pay more for enhancements. The combination of these factors is the perceived total value.

Convenience replaces Place: Brick-and-mortar locations still exist obviously, but today we have far greater options for convenience when it comes to purchasing — both in location and methods. That can be a deciding factor for consumers when choosing a product.

Communication replaces Promotion: Where promotion is typically viewed as one-way, communication engages the customer and turns the process into a dialogue. Listening is key and social media offers businesses a terrific platform to encourage that conversation.

Whether you’re developing a brand or undertaking a rebrand, remember the basics and consider the Marketing Mix, with its 4 P’s of inside-out and 4 C’s outside-in, as well as the Extended Marketing Mix for service-based products.


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