Thursday, August 18, 2011

The New 5 C's For Successful Marketing

The 4Ps Don't Work Well Anymore

By David Miranda

For years, the 4 Ps of marketing - product, price, place, and promotion have served the discipline well, e.g. the product offered, the selling price, the place available for purchase, and the promotion (advertising, etc) to solicit consumers to purchase.

Today, the 4Ps are no longer effective. Products abound, pricing is dynamic, locations are both online and bricks and mortar, and advertising media has fragmented into many shapes and forms. Marketers, large and small, are left scratching their heads on how to effectively and efficiently reach their target audiences.

It's time to mothball the 4Ps and embrace the 5Cs - Consumers, Context, Convenience, Convergence, and Community.

Consumers - Market power has shifted from the seller to the buyer. Consumers, using the power of the Internet, can search, shop, compare, and buy from a myriad of sources located either across the street or around the world. This has meant the erosion in the power of mass marketing and the growth in sophisticated targeting.

Context - Sophisticated targeting has led to message customization providing targeted consumers with relevant content and products/services making marketing more effective, efficient and precise than ever before.

Convenience - In an A.D.D., time poverished world, consumers seek convenience - drive-thru windows, express check-out, online shopping and banking, etc.

Convergence - Consumers want to access what they want and who they want anytime, anywhere from anyplace. This convergence of media and distribution channels is upon us.

Community - Consumers are individuals, but are also social creatures who aggregate in business and social groups both formal and informal to share ideas and experiences. This social networking trait has been powerfully enabled by new technology and platforms and will continue to have a powerful impact on marketing.

An effective marketing plan must consider the 5 Cs in its research, development, and execution.

Understand the nuances of the target audience; provide relevant and contextual offerings; provide the ability for the consumer to purchase more convenient than competitors; communicate and provide offerings across appropriate channels that the target audience frequents; and finally understand that a brand needs to "communitize" itself within the business and social groups of its target audience.