The 4 C and the SIVA model for a Customer-oriented Marketing Mix

In our previous article, we discussed drafting a marketing plan according to the 4, 6, or 7 Ps of the marketing mix. As we explained, the 4P model is particularly effective for product-oriented organizations, while the 6P and 7P models are perfect for service-oriented organizations.

However, if your startup business model is more customer/client-oriented, the 4C or the SIVA model may be more suitable to analyze your organization and create a marketing mix for your marketing plan.

The 4C model

In this model, the 4 Cs replace the 4 Ps of the marketing mix:

  • Price --> Cost for the Consumer
  • Product --> Core benefits/Customer Solution
  • Place --> Convenience to buy
  • Promotion --> Communication

As you can see, by analyzing the organization’s marketing from a customer’s perspective the 4C model turns the entire marketing mix around. Accordingly, also the marketing strategy will focus on improving the Cs from the customer’s perspective, with the idea that happy customers naturally translates into an increase in sales and hence profit.

Cost for the Consumer

Instead of calculating the cost price and determining a profit margin from there, you will calculate the total costs for the consumer to get your product. So, not just the product price factors in, but also customer costs such as those incurred from travelling to get the product or for shipping it to the customer.

Interestingly, in this analysis, you also consider what potential customers are willing to pay for a product like yours. For example, certain segments are willing to pay more for organic and sustainable products, while others value exclusivity instead. Thus, when it comes to your marketing mix, make sure to emphasize specific product characteristics that help convince your target audience that your product is worth the costs that they incur.

Core benefit/Customer Solution

In this model, we’re not looking at what your product does, but at what your product’s core benefit is or what solution for customers it facilitates.

So, in order to improve upon this C in your marketing plan, you have to start by analyzing the main needs/desires of your target audience. Subsequently, you look for the way that your product can deliver a benefit or solution for these needs/desires and how you can market your product accordingly.

Convenience to buy

Instead of the most suitable or profitable place to distribute your product at, you have to look at the customer’s convenience to buy your product. Webshops are the obvious solution, but that’s not where this C ends. Improving this C can also be done via 24/7 customer support, a customer chat via WhatsApp or social media, same-day shipping, free shipping and/or returns, and so on.

As you can see, it’s all about making it easy for customers with this C, and about removing as many barriers to buying your product as possible.

Communication

While promotion is more like a one-way street similar to broadcasting, communication focuses on interacting with your target audience. Thus, what are the places or via which channels can you interact best with your (potential) customers?

As you may have realized already, this C is very much entangled with the convenience to buy, for that usually determines where and how a lot of communication and interaction with your customer happens.

The SIVA model

This model looks at the needs and desires of your target audience and analyzes how these can be translated into solutions by your product. The SIVA model transforms the 4 Ps as follows:

  • Product --> Solution
  • Promotion --> Information
  • Price --> Value
  • Place --> Access

Solution

The SIVA model considers selling a product or service as outdated; it’s all about selling a solution! Thus, it’s not about what you deliver, but what you can do for your customer. What does your product or service mean to him or her? Usually, this is a combination of your product and/or service and all the information or functions that it facilitates (think of a smartphone with all the software that’s available for it).

So, it’s not necessarily about the characteristics of your product or service, it’s about its effect on your customers' lives. This can be a personal solution – with this product you’ll get better access to information – but also a professional one in the case of B2B organizations – with this product you’ll work more efficiently and hence have a lower lead-time to your customers.

Information

In the SIVA model, we move our marketing approach from promotion to information. What information does the customer want to have when it comes to a product like yours? So, it’s not about how you promote your product, but about what information you have to facilitate. In this, it’s all about matching your customer’s informational needs to the information that you supply in the best way possible.

In practice, this comes not just down to writing company and product descriptions; information such as product reviews, customer testimonials, and organizational reviews on Google factor in a customer’s decision whether to buy your product as well.

Value

Similar to the 4C model, this model looks at the total costs that a customer incurs for getting your product, not just the product price. However, from there the SIVA model takes the analysis one step further by looking at the total value of your product for the customer.

In sum, the total value of your product needs to outweigh the total costs for your customer in order for them to buy it. Moreover, this equation needs to be more profitable on the customer’s side compared to the equation offered by your competitor(s).

Access

In our contemporary world, the place is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Accordingly, it’s all about your customer’s functional access to your product and organization, not your organization's residence place.

The access goes beyond your actual product distribution, for it also considers the friendliness of your customer service, the user-friendliness of your website (and all the forms on there), and things like access to spare parts or repair centers. In this, the information and service at all these access points need to match the customer’s wishes and/or expectations.

Customer Journey

When it comes to analyzing and strategizing your marketing according to one of these customer-oriented marketing mix models, it helps to begin with mapping out the customer journey. In this, you analyze all the phases that lead your customers to your product. Via which channels do (potential) customers communicate with you? And what touchpoints do they have with your organization?

All this, you visualize in a customer journey map, so you can see where exactly you can improve your marketing, and how that influences the other elements of your marketing mix. In this article, we go more into detail about the customer journey and here you can read about the customer journey map so you can effectively create your own.

The best marketing mix model

There is not one model necessarily better than the other. In determining the best marketing mix model for you, you have to go back to your business model and your vision.

Are you product- or service-oriented? Then one of the P models will do the trick for you. However, are you customer/client-oriented? Then analyze whether your vision resonates better with the 4C or with the SIVA model. Finally, if you are both product- and customer-oriented, then consider combining the 4P with the 4C model so you can approach your marketing mix from both sides.

Good luck!