Considering Real-World Variables by Listening to Your Customer
Ten times out of ten, the first thing a marketer learns in their very first Introduction to Marketing class is the concept of the Four Ps of Marketing, namely Product, Place, Promotion, and Pricing. At the most basic and academic level, these four factors together constitute the foundation of the marketing discipline. They broadly cover all the factors marketers can control, using a company-driven perspective. However, in today’s evolved economy, this methodology is woefully archaic, ignoring real-world factors that affect every step of the exchange process. Ultimately, the job of a marketer has shifted from managing to a business plan to optimizing the marketing exchange process in order to create painless, reliable, and efficient exchanges in a timely manner.
Keeping Up with the Times
Luckily, as the demands of the marketing discipline have changed, so have the structures that marketers adhere to on a daily basis. New customer-driven methods have been developed to provide a roadmap for satisfying all of a consumer’s needs, including the Four As (Availability, Acceptance, Affordability, and Awareness) and the Four Cs (Customer Value, Convenience, Cost to Customer, and Communication). Both of these similar messages are valuable because they accept that the customer is the driver in the exchange process, whether marketers like it or not.
While these methods are similar in nature, they are consolidated by the next evolution, the Distribution Approach to Marketing. Not only does this method account for a continuous flow of information between brands and consumers, it factors in real-world variables beyond the immediate control of both the brand and consumers, such as transaction costs and communication channels prone to disruption. By focusing on the communication of valuable information, delivery of both primary and ancillary product value, and careful consideration of transaction costs for both parties, marketers can begin optimizing the exchange process.
Get the Most Out of Your Work by Looking at the Big Picture
These points are key for any marketer to understand. Marketers can nail any one of the Four Ps of Marketing, or even all four together, but will not succeed if they do not adopt a customer-first approach. Customers will dictate what they want, how they want it, and how much they want it for and furthermore, will demand that brand’s fall in line. As marketing author Seth Godin states in his blog, “The successful marketer is marketing with us and for us.” A successful marketer is one who sees the bigger picture in order to make every transaction easier and more valuable. Miss out on the bigger picture, and you may lose out on the transaction altogether.