The 6 P’s of marketing are now the 2 C’s: ‘Customer Centric’

The 6 P’s of marketing are now the 2 C’s: ‘Customer Centric’

Marketing has changed, but so has business.

Remember the days when we thought B2B marketing was boring? Well, retail and consumer marketing is heading the same way. Although I wouldn’t call it boring, I’d say it is becoming more challenging, its B2B to the power of millions and hence more interesting.

Technology has changed the scale and dimensions of each of the 6 P’s of marketing—product, place, price, promotion, people and process—taking it to a new level of complexity.

In promotions and communication, we used to love creative campaigns to broadcast to the masses. We’re still creative, but our style is conversational, our words more measured, for content as well as impact. We listen more, to glean who’s saying what, in part, to fulfill our need to be relevant and show a high return from marketing spending.

Communities and word-of-mouth has become the largest media, with millions of followers on social media, driven by the ability to reach individual customers quickly, on a humongous scale and very frequently.

Brands have acquired the ability to store and handle data, a lot of it, to manage millions of customers and multiple segments, with a sharper focus on individuals and segments based on customers’ current and/or future value and revenue, the cost of servicing customers, POS technology, interactive media and customer service.

Customer Centric marketers targeting the “profitable segments” are leveraging the power of analytics to crunch data representing customers’ past buying histories, and derive insights into their preferences and needs.

The marriage between analytics and technology has yielded the new winner formula–deals that mean a lot to customers, both for what they offer, for being high on relevance, and when they offer, for being perfectly timed, and that therefore enjoy high redemption rates.

Now time scales are dynamic and real time. Imagine marketers chasing leads even as they browse stores or check-out.

Today marketing is all about execution, execution and execution. As they say, well executed strategy beats the mediocre execution of great strategy.

Great execution often involves a change of course, if customer’s response, measured in data, warrants so. Greater reliance on data has brought the ability to measure the impact of marketing efforts, and put ideas to objective tests. Data inputs define strategy; data outputs test it and go into redefining it. Thus data has shaped a circular learning curve, and it is working out very well for brands with a finger on the pulse of customers.

With good reason then technology has become the big ticket item in most marketers’ budgets. (Fortunately, the cost of reaching out to customers has reduced, thanks to electronic communication, as the cost of data crunching has spiraled).

Technology has even disrupted the previously well-defined multi-layered channel structure comprised of distributors, wholesalers and retailers.

Now we have the likes of aggregators (like Zomato, Swiggy, etc.), websites and portals, super apps (Lime, PayZapp, etc.), payment partners (Paytm, Mpesa, et al) and multi-brand partners (Flipkart, Amazon, etc.). Some of these aim at giving businesses an online presence.

It’s easy to lose the plot in this fast-evolving new game.

Customer Centricity is an infallible guiding light. To put it simply, Customer Centric strategy pin-points customers and their insights as your brand’s most valuable assets.

Unless you own customers and control their experience of your brand, you cannot effectively engage with them and derive valuable insights—what are they feeling for your brand? How would they like your product to be further developed?

Without such valuable learning, how can you deliver unforgettable experiences that ensure strong word of mouth and long-term relationships?

New paradigms call for new rules of engagement.