The four P’s of marketing — product, place, price, and promotion — are taught in every Intro to Marketing course, but the six C’s are a newer concept. The six C’s of marketing — customer, consistency, creativity, culture, communication, and change — delve deeper into the promotion aspect to help your small business succeed. By focusing on these six C’s, you can create a cohesive and evolving marketing plan that captures the attention of your target audience.
Your company’s marketing efforts should always centre around your customer. Identify your target market by finding out what products and services they want, determining what their needs are, and getting to know what motivates them. Focusing your research on understanding your buyers’ behaviours lets you know what’s important to them. You can go beyond studying demographics to learn more about the consumers you should target by developing a customer profile. Using factors such as age, gender, income, education, and family helps define your ideal customer. This focuses in on the target customer’s likes, dislikes, interests, and values. You can then use the customer profile you create to make well-informed business decisions and targeted marketing campaigns.
For example, imagine you’re the owner of a bridal boutique. After some research, you develop a customer profile that helps shape future business decisions. Your target customer is Lauren, a 28-year-old female with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She works as a second-grade teacher and has been engaged for six months. Using your customer profile, you may decide to offer evening and weekend appointments for dress fittings, knowing that your target customer’s weekday hours are busy.
Marketing efforts should remain consistent across all media. This reinforces your brand’s personality and ensures a cohesive message to your target audience, whether it’s advertising, packaging, or in-store promotions.
Getting back to your imaginary business, consider that your shop, Ever After Bridal, aims to treat every bride like a princess. You use the tagline "Bringing your fairy-tale to life" on your boutique’s Facebook page, you offer a tiara headpiece giveaway at bridal expos, and you package gowns in pretty pink boxes emblazoned with a Cinderella stagecoach logo. This consistency ensures that every interaction with your customers sends the same message.
The market is competitive, so your company has to think outside of the box to attract the attention of your target audience. When your company uses creativity, you go beyond capturing attention, maintain consumer interest, influence customers to try your products, and remind them of your message through continued advertising efforts to keep your company name relevant.
Consider that Ever After Bridal is looking for a creative way to garner more traffic into the shop. Your marketing team decides to hold a fairy-tale-themed fashion show that puts some of the shop’s most exquisite princess-inspired bridal gowns on display. Further, the shop holds a contest in which every bride who purchases her gown at Ever After is entered into a drawing to win a dream honeymoon. These creative marketing efforts get people talking and draw them into your establishment.
If you decide to grow your business, it’s vital that you conduct cross-cultural research to gain some perspective. Assuming that all other cultures think the same way you do can lead to major mistakes. These blunders may be a result of cultural or language differences. Take Kentucky Fried Chicken for example. When the company tried to introduce their "Finger-lickin’ good" tagline to a Chinese audience, their marketing team accidentally translated the phrase as "Eat your fingers off."
In the bridal shop example, you should pay special attention to the area where you plan to market your gowns. While Canadian brides traditionally wear white on their wedding day, the same gowns are not likely to sell well if you try to drum up online sales in Japan, Thailand, or India. These cultures opt for wedding dresses in rich colours and vastly different styles.
Communication with your target audience is all about striking the right tone of voice. It’s about speaking their language, earning their trust, and creating an ongoing relationship with your customers. When your business proves itself as trustworthy to its customers, you create value with them. Don’t think of an interaction with any customer as a one-time conversation.
For example, your bridal shop may help one satisfied bride find her dream dress, but this isn’t the end of the customer experience. That same customer may come back in two years to shop for her daughter’s first communion dress or pass your shop’s name on to a newly engaged friend.
The final of the six C’s is all about change. It’s important to remember that society is constantly changing, and to remain relevant, your business — as well as its marketing efforts — has to adapt. Think of marketing as an evolving process.
Step back into the bridal shop one last time. While you once focused your marketing efforts on wedding cake toppers, you may have noticed a change in the recent wedding reception trends, so you tweak your advertising campaign to include cupcake towers.
Marketing takes time, money, and effort. When you focus on the six C’s of marketing, you can be sure your business’s resources are well-spent.