The Foundation: Leveraging The 4 Cs of Marketing

Talking about the 4 Cs of marketing can be confusing. For starters, there are two different marketing frameworks with the same reference—the 4 Cs of the marketing mix and the 4 Cs of marketing communication. Luckily, both are known for helping marketers excel at their job.


Determining which of the 4 Cs will work best for your business depends on your specific needs. Let us outline the 4 Cs of each framework to make it easier for you to see how they can apply to your current marketing strategies.

What Are the 4 Cs of the Marketing Mix?

Created in 1990, the 4 Cs of the marketing mix is the original 4 C framework. It consists of:


  • Customer Wants and Needs
  • Cost
  • Convenience
  • Communication


These four Cs are arguably more important than the 4 Ps of marketing—product, price, place, and promotion—which place less emphasis on a customer’s needs and more on how to convince customers your offerings are right for them.


The 4 Cs of the marketing mix are a great way to plan and evaluate your marketing campaigns. Ensuring that all the Cs are covered will optimize your overall efforts, though keep in mind that not all four are weighted equally in every case.


You can even take the 4 Cs of the marketing mix further by researching how your competitors perform based on the framework. This approach is a great way to get a different perspective on how your brand serves as a customer-centric organization versus others.

Customer Wants and Needs

It is essential to focus on the customer and understand what they want and need instead of being laser-focused on your products or services. Understanding your customers helps you tailor your offerings directly to them. Selling something a customer needs is much easier than convincing a potential customer they need something they may not want.


Cost is much different than price, as price is only a piece of the puzzle. Price is what a customer pays for a product or service; cost is all-encompassing. How much time does it take for a customer to get to where they can purchase your offerings? How much time does it take them to learn to use them? How long before your customer needs another of your product or needs to re-up your service?


Price only talks about the purchase, while cost considers how your products and services affect the customer’s everyday life.


When comparing the 4 Ps vs. the 4 Cs of the marketing mix, convenience is similar to place. Where place talks about where you sell your offering, convenience takes a much more customer-oriented approach.


After figuring out what your customers’ needs are and what your products or services will cost them, it is time to make sure your offerings are convenient. Ensure your target audience finds your products or services cost-effective, easy to obtain, and easy to use.


The most important of the 4 Cs of the marketing mix is communication. Without it, the entire mix becomes ineffective. Promotion is all about convincing customers to believe they need a product or service even if they do not. Communication takes a customer-oriented approach, using social media and other tools to interact with your customers personally, build trust and reputation, and create brand loyalty.


What Are the 4 C’s of Marketing Communications?

The second and newer 4 C Framework came about in 2009. Known as the 4 Cs of marketing communications, they are just as valuable as the 4 Cs of the marketing mix and include:


  • Clarity
  • Credibility
  • Consistency
  • Competitiveness


By following this framework, marketers can establish productive communications with both customers and potential leads.


Using the 4 Cs of marketing communications, you can set communication guidelines at the strategic and tactical levels. Creating master communications guidelines will help your brand stay on target. Using the 4 Cs to measure individual communications against these guidelines will help all responsible for communicating with others remain on-brand.


The most simple of the 4 Cs of marketing communications, clarity is about keeping communication simple and straightforward. Make efficient use of your words to keeps things focused and easy to understand, even when discussing complex topics.


Make sure your voice’s tone about communicated subject matter aligns with what customers expect of your brand. Avoid making any matter-of-fact or authoritative statements unless they fall within your brand’s area of expertise. Do not be afraid to cite experts when needed if the subject is not in your expertise area.



Staying consistent in all communication forms is key to a unified and “on-brand” marketing style. Whether it is marketing collateral, customer service communications, or an ad campaign, “living the brand” helps customers know what to expect from your company.


Communicating that your brand is somehow above or different from others in your market will help it stand out amongst the crowd. Keep a competitive tone to your communications, encompassing the overall message for each item sent.


Competitiveness is more about differentiating yourself from the crowd than creating rivalries. There is no need to attack other brands to lift yourself above them.

Which Framework To Use

With two different 4 C Frameworks out there, as well as the 4 Ps of marketing, the 7 Ps of marketing, and more, it can be hard to choose which framework is right for your business. While each framework has its differences, they all have one thing in common—to help you be more meticulous with your marketing.


In the end, it is best to choose the framework or frameworks that help you cover blind spots in your current operations. The 4 Cs of the marketing mix will help you become a more customer-centric organization. The 4 Cs of marketing communications will help you gather all your communications, both internal and external, so they are all aligned.


Never feel that you have to be beholden to only one framework. Use each for its strengths and how they meet your requirements.

How Gold Promotion Can Help

Here at Gold Promotion, we know our Cs and Ps like the back of our hands. Let us utilize our digital marketing expertise to apply any of the four Cs to your business and watch it grow. Our data-driven, research-based approaches are sure to provide you with the scalability you’ve been hoping for. Give us a call at 800-476-3094 today.

Gold Promotion
Latest posts by Gold Promotion (see all)
Categories: Marketing Mix and Marketing Strategy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *