Traditionally, the marketing model employed by most businesses focused on the four P’s and prioritized the business over the consumers.
Nowadays, marketers are beginning to find more promise in putting the needs of their consumers first and making their marketing approach more consumer-oriented.
Although this type of business approach is more commonly used for niche marketing, it has now evolved enough to become suitable even for mass markets.
Who is the Consumer?
More than any of the other aspects of the 4 Cs of marketing, the customer is the one that plays the biggest role. Consumers are the ones who will purchase your products and keep your business afloat. As such, it is essential that you find ways to cater to their desires and needs.
The main difficulty with such a set-up from the businessman’s point of view is the fact that they will be at the mercy of their customer’s wants.
If companies continue to produce similar products without trying to innovate and create a new market, they will simply be competing with one another to earn the interest of the main consumer market.
Meanwhile, customers will be given the great power to choose from a wide variety of sellers who are all more than willing to offer them with any and all that they want and need.
In order to make a profit in such a customer-centric market, a company will need to know the exact preferences of its market in order to increase the possibility of being selected by the discerning buyer.
The Power of the Consumer
The previous product-centric marketing approach is a cycle that a more customer oriented marketing approach wishes to change. Prioritizing the customer over the product means that companies and businessmen can no longer push their customers around.
Consumers will no longer be forced to purchase their wares simply because there are no better alternatives.
The current market is already filled with an abundance of products that are undoubtedly great but are nonetheless unfocused. In order to streamline production, companies must allot enough time and research to thoroughly understand consumer behavior.
Any product that is developed for the current market should be tailor-made according to the consumer’s needs and developed in accordance with the results of the conducted market research.
How to Find your Target Market
The easiest way to succeed in a customer-oriented market is by clearly identifying your target customer or target market.
The main factors that you will need to keep in mind in order to determine your target market are the product or service’s actual worth, it's competitive market advantage, and its position in the market.
- Determine Product Worth
The ultimate factor that will determine the fate of your product is the value that your customers will place on it. You will not have the power to manipulate the product and will instead be wholly dependent on how much value or worth your customers will perceive it to have.
- Find Your Market Position and Market Advantage
Considering your customer’s needs and wants should be given utmost priority if you want to achieve maximum profitability. A product or service will be given a higher chance of achieving market interest and visibility if it is able to fully satisfy what your buyers want.
As in every choice that you make in a customer-centric market, your customer will be the one to drive your product and not the other way around.
Importance of Knowing Your Customer
In order to satisfy the ever changing needs of the consumers, the marketing world must be in constant flux and evolution. It is an exciting world and only those who are able to keep up with the changes will be able to survive.
Today, the consumer has replaced the product as the most important aspect of the world of trade and industry. The humble customer now has the power to dictate the direction of product manufacture and marketers are left with no choice but to sit up and listen.
Consumers now have the ability to choose not only what or where they want to execute a purchase, but they also have the power to select the actual time and method of purchase and communication.
In order to survive, companies must start to include a more personalized touch even in the beginning stages of development and design. After all, if a company is able to go above and beyond what the customer actually wants, there will be an increase in the possibility of a repeat purchase, referral, and definitive customer loyalty.
Real Life Application of the Consumer-Centric Marketing Approach
In a market which puts the customer’s needs first, a product will no longer be manufactured without thinking of a specific target market beforehand. Instead, the companies will put themselves in their consumer’s place and aim to discern what their buyers would perceive as desirable and valuable.
However, a problem would no doubt arise in the mind of the small business owner who only has limited amount of resources and skills that he can work with. He might feel discouraged to continue his business altogether if he feels that his limited potential will hinder his success in a customer-driven market.
Fortunately, there is still a large possibility of success for the businessman who only has expertise or experience in a single field.
Succeeding in the new market will only require a shift in perspective instead of a total shift in expertise. In truth, consumers put a lot of value in authenticity and being true to yourself and to your product or service will only increase your chances of success in your chosen niche.
In the end, the key to the consumer aspect of the 4 Cs is about putting their needs over the product and seeing things from the point of view of your customers.