An Eye Opener for Marketers

How Marketing Models Have Evolved Overtime

While back then we had pens and paper, now we have blog posts. While back then we had black and white still photos, now we have video advertising. Everything is in a continuous state of evolving, refining, improving and enhancing. Well, marketing is no different in that it, too, is always evolving. As marketers, our role is to take a product or service and market it. In order to effectively market a product, marketing professionals and businesses must consider several components that may affect the way they market, how they market, to whom they market and if they should even market the product or not. For many years, marketers have referred to a concept called the “marketing mix” to help them better understand certain elements that influence marketing as a whole. There are three different versions of the “marketing mix”, which are the 4Ps, the 4Cs and the Distribution Approach to Marketing Exchange.

The 4Ps: A Marketer’s Perspective

The 4Ps of marketing are product, promotion, price and place. Product refers to the good, service, information or idea the seller is offering. Promotion refers to the message that the seller is communicating to the buyer, whether its advertising or an educational message. Price refers to how much the buyer will pay for the product, as well as additional costs of obtaining it. Lastly, place can be thought of as placement or distribution, as it represents where the product can be purchased from. The 4Ps was the first thought of “marketing mix” and it represents the components from a marketer’s perspective that have been used to enhance marketing strategies for several years.

The 4Cs: A Customer’s Perspective

As time evolved, the customer’s perspective has become influential in any type of marketing. Understanding what a customer feels, thinks and desires drives marketing techniques each and every day. The 4C’s is often referred to as the “customer-focused” model and it is composed of: customer value, communication, cost to customer and convenience. Customer value includes what the customer views as valuable and beneficial, while reflecting their desires and needs. Communication is a refined, two-way approach to promotion from the 4Ps model. Cost to the customer includes the total of all of the customer’s costs, instead of just the price of the product. Lastly, convenience is considered as how the customer’s experience was acquiring the product, in terms of accessibility.

The Distribution Approach: Today’s Model

Although the 4 Ps and the 4 Cs allow marketers to examine marketing functions from a marketer’s as well as a customer’s perspective, the distribution approach to marketing exchange is a new model which examines the flows of information, innovation, and compensation between the buyer and the seller. The flow of information is a two-way flow from a seller to a buyer where both entities will collect information from each other. Sellers will learn about buyer preferences, questions and complaints while buyers will learn about the product at hand. The flow of innovation represents the complete delivery of the product offered by a seller to a buyer, which can set one business apart from its competitors. Innovation can come in forms of additional services, personal experiences, emotional satisfaction, the delivery method or a number of other ways. Lastly, the flow of compensation in this new model refers to the valuable exchange between a buyer and seller, in terms of both quantitative and qualitative benefits. For example, monetary compensation is always a form of compensation, but word-of-mouth or brand loyalty from an influencer will lead to compensation further down the line. As a business, it’s essential to understand how all of these elements will impact a marketing strategy.

Apply the Marketing Magic

Take the healthcare industry, let’s say you are asked to market your hospital’s maternity services to women in your primary service area (PSA). In a good marketing strategy, the flow of information is present in that you are hearing questions from patients who are currently delivering at your hospital, as well as positive feedback or complaints from those who have delivered in the past. Your hospital, as the seller, is also sending out information to OBGYN offices and females in its PSA regarding how the maternity unit has recently been renovated to all private suites. In addition, the concept of innovation represents the complete delivery of the product, or in our case, the delivery of care, offered by a seller (our hospital) to a buyer (our patients). In healthcare, the benefits of innovation may come as high-quality, evidence-based medicine, the delivery of compassionate care, positive experiences, and a number of other ways. As a business, it’s essential to determine what innovative factors your business has, which will give it a competitive advantage over others in the industry. Lastly, marketers must consider the flow of compensation, from a monetary as well as a non-monetary perspective. As a hospital aiming to promote its maternity services, a part of our marketing strategy may be to get an influencer to deliver her baby in our hospital. For example, having a well-known mom blogger deliver her baby at your hospital can be valuable in terms of positive word-of-mouth and prestige, in addition to money.

As a marketer, it’s beneficial to recognize how several factors contribute to the overall marketing exchange between a seller and a buyer. The main goal in marketing is to facilitate a mutually beneficial exchange between sellers and buyers. Understanding the distribution approach to marketing exchanges will greatly benefit businesses, consumers and the entire marketing process altogether. Now, why don’t you try it out?

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