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The 4 c's of marketing: the evolution of the marketing mix

4 c's of marketing: what are they?


he 4 c's of marketing refer to a series of factors and variables that a company uses to achieve its objectives, but which also take into account the consumer experience.

It is therefore a much broader perspective than the 4 p's. In this case, in fact, all values refer to the product and therefore put the values of the brand and the company at the centre. With the 4 Cs of marketing, on the other hand, the focus is on the customer and their buying experience.

This is a true evolution of the marketing mix, which must therefore also take into account a whole other set of variables. This theory, the result of numerous changes in recent years, was developed by the scholar Robert F. Lauterborn with the aim of shifting the focus from the company to the consumer, i.e. from the actions of the marketer to the reactions of those who 'undergo' it.

The first C therefore refers to the 'Consumer', the one who buys the good or service. In this case, in particular, the marketing strategy is not limited to imposing a product but also takes into account the customer's expectations, which influence its creation. This newcustomer-oriented' perspective therefore considers only a truly desirable product that can meet the customer's needs and requirements as useful. 

4 c's of marketing: Cost, Convenience, Communication  

According to the 4 C's theory, the consumer is therefore an active part of the marketing mix and decisively influences all actions. The second C is also somewhat related to the previous theories and represents an evolution of the second P.

If in fact in the past the second variable to be considered was 'Price', in the 4 C's theory the key element is 'Cost'. This variable encompasses the elements that make up the cost borne by the customer, starting from the search for the product, transport costs, psychological cost up to the final delivery time.

The third C replaces the 'Point of Sale', understood as the physical place where the purchase is made. New technologies always generate new opportunities for the customer, who has the possibility of purchasing the good or service in the fastest, cheapest and therefore most convenient way.

Finally, the fourth C of marketing refers to 'Communication', which takes the place of 'Promotion'. This is a completely different perspective, which overturns the way advertising is understood. Every activity must in fact take into account the consumer by aiming to establish a real relationship with the customer. The latter is no longer a passive spectator, but offers his comments and feedback, elements to which the company must pay attention if it intends to build a stable and trusting relationship.  

le 4c del marketing

The 4 c's of marketing: some examples 

To fully understand the meaning and the revolution brought about by the new theory of the 4 c's of marketing however, it is good to examine a concrete case.

Taking a fashion house as a reference, for example, the first C will result in a real analysis of consumer needs and requirements. This assessment might bring out new needs and trends, pushing the company towards the creation of a new garment or accessory. The second C will instead refer to the final and real cost that the customer is willing to pay.

As already mentioned, therefore, the price of the product will have to take into account research time, delivery and transport costs.

The third C concerns the actual purchase, which in the perspective of a fashion house customer could be an e-commerce or a portal specialising in the sale of clothing and accessories, such as Zalando.

Finally, the fourth C, or 'Communication' can be identified with the set of social channels on which the company is present and which it uses to create a relationship of trust with its customers.