April 30, 2003
THE MARKETING MIX OF IMC:
A MOVE FROM THE 4 P’S TO THE 4C’S
Khalilah T. Smith
Innovation and communication
Today’s companies, marketers and brands face an ever-changing environment and
with the continuing developments in computers and communication technology,
the increase in consumers’ knowledge about what they want and needs, the way
we communicate to consumers should change as well. A different perspective to
“The cross-functional process
marketing is necessary to provide for the consumer effectively and efficiently in
for creating and nourishing
order to build long lasting relationships.
profitable relationships with
customers and stakeholders by
IMC – What is it and why do we need it?
strategically controlling or
This is the principle of integrated marketing communications (IMC), “the cross-
influencing all messages sent
functional process for creating and nourishing profitable relationships with
to these groups and
customers and stakeholders by strategically controlling or influencing all
encouraging data driven,
messages sent to these group and encouraging data driven, purposeful dialogue
purposeful dialogue with them.”
with them.”(1) According to Tom Duncan, author of IMC, Using Advertising and
- IMC Using Advertising and
Promotion to Build Brands, “a company must move from using inside-out thinking,
Promotion to Build Brands
to using outside-in thinking.” Outside-in thinking begins with the customer and
focuses on the customer’s needs and wants
Perspective change to the Four C’s
This change to an integrated, relationship-based marketing effort includes changing
from a traditional focus on the 4 P’s (product, price, place, promotion) to a
marketing mix & strategy that is more focused on the consumer, the 4 C’s-
customer, cost, convenience, communication.
The Four C’s and an example of each:
CUSTOMER - Focus on customer’s needs and wants instead of just products.
This makes the communication more relationship-based.
Example: A company that can manufacture a watch that can be set to play the
happy birthday song on a specific date and time. If the consumer is not interested
in this special feature the product is worthless, even if the manufacturer can offer it
IMC: The Next Generation
at a low cost.
COST - Focuses on what it costs a customer to own/use a product/service
instead of pricing the product to make a profit. This concept makes organizations
consider how much a product will cost in the long run, included such factors as
Example: If there are 2 similar, but different burger joints, but one is 3 miles
farther to drive than the other. Marketing Communicators need to take the cost of
driving into consideration when promoting the restaurant.
CONVENIENCE - Focus on how easy it is for customers to obtain/buy the
product instead of how easy it is for companies to distribute the product.
With the increase in use of the internet and phone orders, consumers do not need
to leave their house to purchase which is why such things as e-commerce have
been so successful.
Example: Coca-Cola has been successful based on the concept of customer
convenience. The have made efforts to make their products accessible in more
places than Pepsi, their main competitor; Coke is in a million more places than
Pepsi according to online information.
- Focuses on two-way communication with consumers –
“listening and learning” instead of one-way communication of “telling and selling”.
This is the final and most important shift for organizations and their marketing
strategies. Traditionally promotion included sending brand messages to
consumers to get them to purchase and if they could relate to that message then
INSTEAD OF JUST:
they bought. T his is focused on building stronger relationships through
Example: A good example of this concept is the relationships we all have in our
personal lives. The only way to build relationships with people is to listen to them
and learn from what they communicate to you. The same is true in an effective
MOVE TO INTEGRATE:
Benefits of Incorporating the Four C’s into Strategies
The benefits associated with incorporating the Four C’s into the business structure
• Formula for success of organization reaching consumers’
• Builds profitable customer relationships and brand name brand
Overall profits will increase with a shift in perspective to the customer’s needs and
an integration of this into all aspects of the marketing strategy.
What does it all mean?
The Four C’s model is effective in showing how an IMC focus is
different than the traditional marketing focus and focuses on building
relationships with customers. This does not mean the the Four P’s
are not important, however integrating both the Four P’s and C’s into
the marketing communications strategy will help effectively build a
1. IMC Using Advertising to Build Brands, 2002
2. IMC: The Next Generation, 2003
3. Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications
5. IMC PLAN
Principles of Internet Marketing (MGRS 324) Spring 2003 University of Nevada,
Reno (Bottom of second page)