Forget what you knew about the 4 Ps: marketing has changed

16 Mar 2017  |  by Melanie Davis

Technological development has fundamentally changed the world of business. With the customer in the driver’s seat, what’s the best way to steer your marketing approach?

There were and still are the four Ps of marketing, but according to Dr Nader Tavassoli of the London Business School, this should in fact be the four Cs: the Customer, the Customer, the Customer and yes, you guessed it, the Customer. And I must say I am inclined to agree.

Separating the good from the great

This article will discuss how to make a good marketing strategy into a great one – and without wanting to give away the ending, it simply comes down to customers. Having said that, it’s also important to know the key ingredients in the recipe for a great marketing strategy, which are:-

  • Knowing who your customers are
  • Understanding what drives their wants and needs
  • Delivering the things they want and need
  • Analysing the efficiency of your processes, and identifying where they can be improved

Customers have taken control

The way in which we are interacting with our customers has changed, and this change is indicative of our realisation that the customer can and should be driving the conversation. The reason we want this change is because we believe that our customers will be happier with their purchase, or even just with the interaction itself, when they are the ones influencing the action.

A customer can now direct the way that we talk to them, the time of day we talk to them, and the best platforms to talk to them on.

But what does this mean for marketers?

While on one hand this new way of interacting puts the customer in the driver’s seat, it also offers us marketers a lot more opportunities in terms of building relationships with our customers and prospects. We can start to develop much stronger, more responsive and more individual relationships. These relationships often fall into one of the following three categories:

  1. Loyal customers
  2. Engaged customers
  3. Customers who are advocates

These different customer relationships will ultimately lead customers to:

  • Choose your brand.
  • Talk about your brand.
  • Believe in and/or recommend your brand.
  • Or if you really know your audience, all of the above.

The increasing importance of the customer journey

The Omni-Channel Data Trend Report 2017 by Apteco cited the customer journey as the most important topic for organisations in 2017.

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What this tells us is that, the way customers are interacting with brands and their individual experiences at various touchpoints are highly important to businesses. Especially those looking to see more loyalty, engagement and advocacy. The four Cs of marketing are taking centre stage as the experience had by customers is having an ever more important role.

What does success look like?

What each of the three categories listed above look like for one business will differ from another. Why? Because what your customers want and how they display their loyalty, engagement and advocacy differs from customer group to customer group.

There are many factors that could influence their interaction with you, and the same goes for how they interact when they act as an advocate of your brand, proactively engage with your brand, or display loyalty to your brand.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach for achieving loyal, engaged, or advocating customers – not all of their profiles match up. Developing your customer understanding and taking your strategy from good to great is all down to data.


  • The difference between a good marketing strategy and a great one is all down to how well you understand your customers.
  • A more user-centric approach will keep customers happier along the various touch points of their buyer journeys.
  • While the idea of customers and prospects being in control sounds intimidating, marketers should see this as a chance to develop stronger relationships with them.
  • What loyalty, engagement and advocacy look like will differ depending on the business and its customer groups. Different factors will influence interaction and customers will engage in different ways that are unique to the given organisation’s service offering.
  • There is no one-size-fits-all approach for securing loyal, engaged, or advocating customers. Catering to individual customer needs requires intelligent application of large volumes of data, shaping your message according to your behavioural data.

Want to know more about how to action your online user data in order to take your marketing strategy from good to great?

Get to truly know and understand your customers, download our latest eGuide for exclusive insights on customer-centric marketing from Apteco and Blueberry Wave.

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Melanie Davis

Group marketing manager

Since 2007 Mel has led the Apteco marketing team in driving the Apteco brand. She has been a B2B marketer in the data and marketing technology sectors for over 20 years. Her aim is to ensure that Apteco is a trusted and respected brand that is the first point of call for all data driven marketers.

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