Marketing 4C’s – Moving from a Monologue to a Dialogue

With over 3,000 commercial messages served up to an individual every day it’s no wonder people feel overwhelmed with choice. Add to that an economy under stress, and brands desperately trying to be heard, and you have a recipe for confusion and customer switch off.

Effective marketing helps customers solve problems and, in so doing, cut through the clutter.

The answer? Marketing needs to move from being a monologue to a dialogue.

And dialogues are based on exchanges of information, or content, based on value to each party.

Content should be the new currency of marketing and those that deliver it effectively will engage their customers.

John Jantsch in The Referral Engine touches on what he calls the 4C’s Marketing as a new way of thinking. He is spot on.

Context, Connection, Content and Community, whilst they may not exactly replace the 4P’s, they certainly give them a run for their money! Here’s a brief overview from my perspective:

Context– Customers are looking to make sense of the explosion of data and information served up, in part, by the digital revolution. Truly understanding a customer’s life, their pressures and problems is a huge contextual opportunity. Situating your brand and its competitive advantage in a relevant, engaging manner is a core tactic of the future. But only if you truly understand the context.

Connection – Technology has increased the ability to connect but it’s how you balance so called ‘high tech’ connections with ‘high touch’ engagement that is key. Linking and informing what you learn online with how you behave and engage face to face will be a winning strategy.

Contentt – We have more than enough content! Your inbox is testament to that! Content can be the new currency for marketing. But only if it is authentic and genuine to your brand and business. Developed, curated, edited and remixed. Tailored to real problems. Delivered how your customer wants – face to face, email, blog, twitter, brochure, advertisements. If you understand the customer context then you can deliver content in a way that truly engages.

Community – Communities are built on shared interests and passions. The question you have to ask is does your business have a crowd or are you building a community? How do you motivate and connect your customers – either as a whole or, preferably, by sensible interest based groups. Effective communities around your business enable you to grow and develop.

Thinking about your business from the perspective of the 4C’s will throw up some interesting challenges to how you approach your marketing. It may just engage your customers in a dialogue… and that’s exciting!

James works with a wide range of organisations from large to small, start up to established. He facilitates planning and strategy workshops, undertakes reviews, develops insights and ideas, and mentors and coaches leaders. As Chair of the Growth Leaders Forum he helps business leaders unlock their potential and chart a path to growth –

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