Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

The 4 Cs of marketing

What are the 4 Cs, and how can you use them to make your marketing more effective? Learn more in this article.

In the early 1990s, marketing author Bob Lauterborn reinvented the traditionally accepted 4 Ps (Product, Price, Place and Promotion) with the introduction of the 4 Cs of marketing.

This concept was built around developing better relationships with customers and using customer-driven language. A key driver for rethinking the basic building blocks of marketing lay in the recognition that media and marketing channels were changing, and a mass marketing approach no longer applied.

The four Cs are:

  1. Customer (this superseded Product): Customer refers to the target audience or the people who will buy or use the product or service rather than the product itself. Marketers need to understand their customers’ needs, wants, and preferences to create a marketing strategy that appeals to them.
  2. Cost (this superseded Price): Price refers to ensuring that the price of your product is competitive. Cost refers to more than that – the price of the product or service and includes any additional costs, such as shipping or taxes. It might also include opportunity cost or extra value that you create. When you look at cost, you need to think more holistically, and ensure ALL costs are competitive, fair, and affordable for the target audience.
  3. Convenience (this superseded Place): While Place referred to where the consumer could buy your product, convenience refers to the ease of buying or using the product or service. As a marketer, you should go beyond the place it’s bought to make the product or service easy to access, purchase, and use for their target audience.
  4. Communication (this superseded Promotion): Promotion often conjures a mental picture of broadcasting your message. In this instance, communication refers to the messaging and promotion of the product or service to the target audience. As a marketer, you need to create effective communication strategies that convey the value of the product or service and persuade the target audience to buy or use it. This is a two-way street, not simply a broadcast platform.

How can you apply these to your marketing?

There are a few things you can consider to ensure you have the 4 Cs of marketing in your thinking as you market your brand or business.

  1. Customer – rather than focussing on your product, do you have your customer front-of-mind?
  2. Cost – are you communicating the wider cost of your product or service, including the lost opportunity cost of not buying it?
  3. Convenience – are you going beyond availability to the convenience you offer to purchase your product? Especially if you are online … the key question to ask here is: is it EASY?
  4. Communication – are you promoting in a one-way direction or are you encouraging communication, feedback and customer input into your business?
This article is from the free online

Marketing Essentials

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now