The Four Cs model of good business communications provides a framework for businesses that want to increase their customer base and attract repeat customers. The Four Cs model is a reiteration of the Four Ps model, refined to be more customer-centric. The Four Ps include product, price, place and promotion, while the modern version of the Four Cs includes consumer, cost, convenience and communication.
In 1964, Neil H. Borden coined the term "marketing mix," which describes a number of different ingredients that business owners should focus on to improve their business. E. Jerome McCarthy refined these ideas into the Four Ps. Koichi Shimizu originally created the Four Cs in 1973, which include commodity, cost, channel and communication. With the publication of the book "Integrated Marketing Communications" in 1993, Robert F. Lauterborn created a second Four Cs model, which includes consumer, cost, convenience and communication.
While the original P for product focused on styling, brand names, quality and safety, the first C focuses on finding out your customer needs by soliciting feedback and testing markets, as opposed to just releasing a product. Instead of ascribing to the "build it and they will come" theory, businesses must find out what the customer wants and then provide it.
The original Four Ps model involved pricing a product so that it is profitable. Cost involves finding out what sacrifices a customer must make in order to purchase a product. Individuals focused on the cost part of their business model must determine how flexible their prices are and at what point their customers will go to another product. A product located closer to the consumer would be priced higher, as the customer has a lower personal cost to obtain that product.
The first P, place, was replaced by convenience. Instead of focusing on the supply side of how to manage inventory, the goal of the third C is to make purchasing a good or service as convenient as possible for the consumer. With the rapid growth in e-commerce, goods must be available sooner to the consumer, as opposed to just being available. Businesses that practice convenience offer consumers more payment choices and shipping options when they buy a product.
The fourth P is promotion, which was replaced by communication. Promoting a product via traditional media channels is still a pathway to business success, but communicating with customers to discover how to improve service is essential. Businesses make sure to learn from their customers, an experience that provides an increased opportunity for branding and repeat business.
Chris Hamilton has been a writer since 2005, specializing in business and legal topics. He contributes to various websites and holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Virginia Tech.