In the past, the marketing mix was commonly made up of the 4 Ps: product, price, place, and promotion. An alternative to the 4 Ps approach is gaining popularity due to the digital age and the changing ways that customers gather information and make purchasing decisions. There has been a shift from the 4 Ps of marketing to the 4 Es approach.
You can read in detail about the 4 Es approach in the FITTskills International Sales and Marketing course. Here are the basics you need to know.
According to Brian Fetherstonhaugh of Ogilvy & Mather, the market is now an ecosystem with “billions of unstructured one-to-one and peer-to-peer conversations”. Fetherstonhaugh advises marketers to stop thinking so much about their product and start thinking more about the customer experience. This new approach encourages organizations to engage and create a relationship with visitors, leads, and customers.
Now that marketers have better tools at their disposal, they can take a more targeted approach to sharing and gathering information. Digital channels, such as email, social media, and mobile messages, allow businesses to share tailored content with segmented, regional audiences.
Instead of a marketing strategy planned around a product or service, this method puts the customer experience at the centre of attention.
An example of an organization changing its focus from products to an experience is Hershey. Rather than putting up a billboard in New York City’s Time Square, they created a brand experience by opening a store in Times Square that is playful, nostalgic, and allows parents and children to explore candies together.
A customer’s journey is their overall experience with an organization from the time they encounter an organization’s name. For example, customers might typically encounter an organization’s product on social media for the first time and from there go to the organization’s website to find more information, followed by a trip to a retail outlet to buy the product. The organization’s goal is to make the journey enjoyable and relevant to the customer.
An example to consider is the Swedish Tourism Association’s “Call a Swede” campaign. When tourists called a certain phone number, they were forwarded to a Swedish resident (a Swede) who provided the caller with the desired local knowledge, including recommending a good restaurant, a fruitful fishing hole, or a place to take Swedish folk dancing lessons.
Mapping the customer’s journey or path enables marketers to pinpoint weaknesses in the customer experience and correct them. The mapping exercise also identifies the technologies used, the people and processes involved, and the emotions experienced by customers along the path. It can be difficult to map the path because the customer’s journey is often non-linear and complex. It would be valuable at this point to consider when and how to collect customer testimonials at different point in their journey.
To assist with the mapping activity, marketers use customer personas for businesses and/or consumers.
Everyplace is so named because of how consumers can now access information about products and services from multiple sources in multiple locations.
Instead, of expecting customers to come to the seller, the seller now goes to the customers.
The new dynamic allows the organization to provide information about its mission, products, and services whenever and wherever customers seek it.
They seek it in many places including social media, retail outlets, online stores, websites, blogs, and more. The goal is to make contact with customers when they are receptive to it. Ogilvy & Mather’s Digital Innovation Lab in Singapore is a apt example. They invited an app for it liquor brand with a virtual personal assistant who helps customers by advising them of upcoming entertainment promotions and then, if desired, gets them reservations and VIP access to these events.
In the 4 Es approach, the focus has moved from the exchange of money for a product or service to the value of the relationship and long-term loyalty customers develop with an organization. Using the exchange approach requires each party to offer something of value to the other party. For example, many organization websites offer expertise and products for free. Marketers use the exchanges to establish credibility, create goodwill, and build a relationship of trust. What organizations offer customers in the exchange hopefully results in long-term relationships and ultimately brand loyalty.
Evangelism involves creating a brand experience for customers that inspires them to engage with the organization and tell their friends about the experience.
Ogilvy & Mather recommends starting with an organization’s key strengths and connecting them to an important cultural truth or trend to generate energy and passion.
Take for example, Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty. Dove’s stand on the beauty of real woman of various shapes, sizes, and colours resonated with women. The inspiration for the program was a study of more than 3,000 women from 10 different countries. Results showed that only 2 percent of the respondents considered themselves beautiful. The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty was based on the idea that the world would be a better place if women felt good about themselves. Missions such as these can inspire employees as well as customers.
The Campaign for Real Beauty started with a website and a public relations campaign. Women were invited to join the debate, and millions did. The campaign’s Evolution has been seen by an estimated 500 million viewers. All this was achieved through consumer sharing and free media support.
Dove’s most recent research showed that the percentage of women who consider themselves beautiful has increased from 2 to 4%, although the brand recognizes this increase cannot be attributed to Dove alone. The campaign’s impact on perceptions of beauty is hard to quantify, but it has helped drive Dove sales to record levels. Dove’s sales increased from USD 2.5 billion in 2004, the first year of the Campaign for Real Beauty, to USD 4 billion in 2014.
Evangelism involves creating products and services that are so good and providing experiences that are so intriguing that customers want to let other people know about them. Apple is an example of a company that has achieved an image with which people want to be associated.
Is your organization using the 4 Es? Let us know in the comments down below.