Business is really just about buying and selling things. Marketing is about finding out what people want and giving it to them.
The four Ps of marketing – Product, Price, Place and Promotion – were written from the producers' point of view. The mindset for marketers now has to be the mindset of the consumer. A few years ago, the professors of IMC at Northwestern University said it best when they replaced the four Ps with the four Cs.
||Consumer wants and needs
||Cost to satisfy the consumer's need
||Convenience to buy
Product: Contemporary thinking is that a company's greatest asset is most often its customer base. That being the case, fulfilling the Consumer's desires is more important than continuing to sell your current products. A case in point is Blockbuster's transition from renting videotapes to selling other movie delivery systems like DirecTV.
Price: With time being our most precious commodity, the time it takes to purchase becomes an important part of the Cost. "Paying a 50% higher price point at my corner convenience store may, in fact, be less expensive than spending the time required to go to a large supermarket."
Place: "My telephone or Internet connection may be much more Convenient for me than your traditional retail outlet."
Promotion: "Don't 'sell' me. Just deliver a quick, clear Communication of the pertinent information, make me an offer – and I'll make the decision." The word promotion worked because it started with a "P". The problem is that in marketing terminology, a promotion is an offer. And promotions are just one leg of the three-legged marcom stool, which is supported by advertising (paid), editorial (non-paid) and promotions (an offer). So let's call it what it is: Marketing Communications. Then to be effective, the communication must be relevant to the consumer and hold the target's attention.