The Four Ps Have Given Way to the Four Cs.

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.

Product is now Consumer wants and needs
Price is now Cost to satisfy the consumer's need
Place is now Convenience to buy
Promotion is now Communication

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.