Need-based marketing is a step away from management-decided products and push communications and a twist on a traditional marketing mix. Instead of objectives that make up the Four P’s – product, place, price and promotion, need-based marketing objectives make up a new set of objectives, all of which start with a “C.” Each new objective works under the assumption that customers do know what they want and each in their own way attempts to deliver.


Need-based marketing objectives start with the customer and the knowledge that to realize a profit you must sell what customers want to buy. Research activities still evaluate the market in general, but focus more on identifying individual customer’s current wants and needs. Demographic statistics identify geographic locations while surveys, focus groups and product samples and demonstrations tell the business what customers want. If research determines, for example, that customers generally favor “green” products and support green and sustainable causes, product offerings and advertising efforts that “speak” to each customer shows the business understands and cares about filling customer needs.


Convenience objectives include time, space and an understanding that if you do not make it convenient for customers to buy from you, they will buy from the competition. A website or an online ordering system can ensure customers have 24-hour access to the product or service. Store layouts can feature frequently purchased items in front rather than at the back of the store, wide-aisle designs can make it easier for customers to maneuver shopping carts and shelving systems can be organized so customers can get to products without having to call or wait for assistance.


Need-based marketing objectives attempt to strike a balance between providing value to customers and making a profit. Customers don’t care about the cost of goods sold, inventory costs or your profit margin. However, customers do care about how much gas it takes to get to your store, how much it costs to ship items purchased online and the quality of products or services they purchase. Introductory pricing on new items, packaging or offering frequently purchased items in bulk quantities and offering free or reduced shipping on orders at or over a specific dollar amount can drive sales and still satisfy a customer’s need to find value.


Communication objectives focus on working from the inside-out rather than promoting products from outside-to-in. Instead of using one-sided manipulation, gimmicks or fancy packaging to entice customers to buy, communication objectives focus on two-sided interactions between customers and the business. Customer satisfaction surveys, the option to rate products online and email newsletters that identify the customer by name can help customers feel they matter to the business. In-store communications such as well-trained, helpful and knowledgeable staff members who not only take the time to say ”Hello” but also provide whatever assistance a customer requires can satisfy need-based communications objectives.