The Four C's Drive the "5th P"

Jan 11, 2005 - 12:51 pm 1 by
Filed Under Web Promotion

There is a very interesting thread in the Online Marketing & Promotion forum at Cre8asite Forums named The 5th P in Marketing, which discusses a blog entry named Weblogs and the Power of the Fifth P. I began writing up an entry on it, based on a recommendation, but then noticed that everything I was writing was from what my father has been preaching for as long as I have known him. My father, Leon Schwartz currently teaches in the MBA Program at Fordham University. Before that he spent most of his time preaching his "Customer First!" approach at Pitney Bowes (where he had tons of different titles) and at seminars & conferences. After leaving Pitney Bowes, he started his own consulting group named Informed Decisions Group, where he stressed that the focus should be on your customer. So I asked my father to comment on this thread and the blog entry noted above. This is what he had to say:

The 4 Ps (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) are being replaced by the 4 Cs (Customer solution, Customer cost, Convenience, Communication). The Internet is key to this change. By making more information more readily available to the customer, power has moved from the seller to the buyer (see pdf 1). This is not all that new; but it takes a long time to change the culture in many sales organizations. The 4 Ps focus on Pushing product through the traditional value chain, using a variety of selling and promotion tactics that are well known to all of us. The 4 Cs turn that value chain on end by focusing first on Customer needs and then communicated BOTH ways (see chart 2). This is more of a buyer/seller partnership, and requires empowered People throughout the selling organization. This is still very scary to most sales departments, who will try to control customer contact. Don't forget that in most traditional corporate environments the 3 Ps that really matter are Processes, People (of Power), and Politics. Key to empowering customer facing People is providing these "partners" with critical Customer information through Integrated systems. Then give them clearly defined decision making authority to satisfy the Customer. Weblogs run by employees could actually produce considerable Customer dissatisfaction if the employee does not have the information needed nor the authority to truly serve the Customer. We've all had our fill of platitudes from inept Customer "service" reps. May the Customer be with you...Leon Schwartz


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