The concept of the 4Ps has been a staple of a marketing strategy since it was first talked about back in the 1960’s. Marketing leaders today use these key strategic decision areas to help shape their marketing strategy and deliver their products and services to market. But some would argue that they are no longer enough. Some leaders believe the idea of developing a marketing plan to address the strategies around the 4Ps are too company centric and lack a consumer point of view.
That is where the concept of the 4As of marketing comes to play. The 4As model was developed by professors Jagdish Sheth of Emory University and Dr. Rajendra Sisodia of Bentley University and covered in their book The 4 A's of Marketing: Creating Value for Customer, Company and Society.
Their premise is an organization should develop a marketing plan that is more customer centric and strategically addresses the issues of acceptability, affordability, accessibility, and awareness.
- Acceptability addresses the issue of how functionally and psychologically acceptable your offerings must be to meet or exceed the needs of your target market.
- Affordability analyzes whether or not your target customer is able and willing to pay the proposed price point.
- Accessibility refers to how available and how convenient it is for your customer to purchase your offering.
- Awareness relates to your overall brand awareness and your customer’s knowledge of your product and service.
Many will find overlap between the 4Ps and the 4As. To me the key points here are the importance of focusing on both and including the customer perspective in your strategy decisions.
When I relate this to our industry, hardwood lumber, in addition to building our marketing strategy for the species we cut, the price per board foot we target, and the promotional campaigns we build it is also important to address the 4As.
For example, will customers feel good about doing business with Baillie Lumber? Do our customers feel they are receiving the value we promised them? Are we easy to do business with, readily available and providing our customers the purchasing methods they want to use? And lastly, are we expressing the unique differences of our offerings effectively, whether it be our proprietary grades, our hardwood ripping programs or our customer specific inventory supply practices sufficiently enough to our customers?
We’ll be sure to include the 4As in our strategic marketing thinking. How about you?