4P vs 3C Which Model is Right for Your Business


Overview of 4P and 3C Models

The 4P and 3C models are two of the most common and widely used marketing models used by businesses today. The 4P model is focused on Product, Place, Price, and Promotion, while the 3C model is based on Consumer, Cost, and Convenience.

In this article, we will compare these two models to help you determine which one is right for your business.

Definition of 4P and 3C Models

4P and 3C models are common marketing models used for analyzing customer and market needs.

The 4P model was developed by Neil Borden in the 1950s and is also known as the Marketing Mix model. It stands for Product, Price, Place, and Promotion which are all elements of a successful marketing strategy. The 4Ps relate to product design, pricing decisions, distribution choices, and promotional strategies.

The 3C model was proposed by Kotler and Levy in 1969 as an expansion of the 4P framework, also referred to as the Marketing Mix Model. It stands for Consumer, Cost and Convenience which all represent different customer priorities when making purchase decisions. This model has moved beyond traditional marketing to consider customers’ broader preferences when making buying choices such as price sensitivity and convenience.

When applied together both models enable businesses to effectively analyze their markets in order to understand customer needs with clarity while ensuring their offerings align with their target audience’s preferences. The 4P Model helps marketers identify how they will communicate messages about a product or service while the 3C Model helps identify what needs should be met through product design or pricing strategies.

Differences between 4P and 3C Models

The 4Ps and the 3Cs are popular frameworks used in marketing to define and explain the many elements of a business. The two models, which have been around for decades, have different approaches and uses. Understanding their differences will help you determine which framework is best for your business.

4P Model
The 4P model was first introduced by E. Jerome McCarthy in the 1960s as part of his textbook “Marketing: An Introduction”. The model identifies four essential components that should be considered when developing and implementing a marketing strategy: product, price, promotion, and place. This approach allows businesses to think holistically about how their products or services fit into the market including customer needs and competitive forces.

3C Model
The 3C model was proposed in 1990 by Koichi Shibano as an alternative to 4P model. The 3Cs focus includes customer segmentation (consumer), cost effectiveness (cost), and convenience (convenience). This marketing framework looks at the entirety of customer experience rather than just individual tactics like promotion or product design – it emphasizes satisfaction of customers by understanding who they are, what they want, how much customers value those wants, and what would make them pay to obtain those wants.

Ultimately businesses need to choose if they want to focus on defining their target market with the objective of optimizing satisfaction or on developing a marketing mix that focuses on promoting products/services and increasing profits with through various channels/mediums – both approaches offer value and insight into different aspects of a company’s growth strategy depending upon their needs.

Advantages of 4P Model

The 4P marketing mix model provides a framework for companies to review and analyze their marketing strategies in detail. This model puts emphasis on the four key aspects of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place. With the 4P model, businesses can evaluate each of these important areas to see how they interact with each other, as well as how they relate to the success of a product.

Let’s explore the advantages of this strategy in more depth:


When it comes to assessing a product’s marketing potential, the 4P Model can provide you with valuable insights. The four Ps are Product, Price, Place and Promotion and each of these elements needs to be given due consideration when setting up your marketing mix.

  • Product – What do you offer to the customer? Is there anything unique about your product or service that will make it stand out from competitors? When considering the product element of the model, think about what features could be improved and how changes could be implemented efficiently without disrupting your customers’ buying journey. Also consider any potential risks or regulations that might affect your product’s operation.
  • Price – How much should you charge for your products or services? Deciding on a pricing strategy can be a challenge; however, there are various strategies available such as penetration pricing, cost-plus pricing and market-oriented pricing. It pays to do some background research into competitor prices before deciding on an optimal price point.
  • Place – Where should customers access your products or services? Is there one single location they should visit (maybe a physical store) or are they able to access multiple channels such as online retailers or retail chains? Channel selection is an important part of getting the right message across to customers so consider their location, culture and needs when making decisions on where they should buy from/access products.
  • Promotion – How will you advertise and market products to target audiences? This includes traditional methods (television commercials) as well as online techniques (social media campaigns). Promotion may also extend beyond advertising; think about offering incentives such as loyalty cards or discounts in order to encourage repeat business from existing customers.


The 4P model of marketing is centered around the core marketing variables of product, price, place and promotion. It is the most widely used marketing strategy and focuses on the product-specific decisions necessary for successful brand development.

With regard to price, one of the main advantages of the 4P model is that it allows marketers to focus on product value rather than competing solely on price. This encourages companies to think more creatively about product pricing, allowing them to differentiate their products from those of their competitors in terms of added value. Additionally, it allows companies to carefully define what constitutes a “good deal” for their products or services from both a customer and business standpoint.

The 4P model forces marketers to consider elements such as:

  • Competitive pricing strategies
  • Pricing objectives for each target market segment
  • Promotional pricing strategies such as seasonal discounts or volume discounts
  • Additional resources required to ensure successful price implementation

By using this method an effective pricing strategy can be crafted that provides customers with an optimal mix of quality and affordability while still providing profit potential for the seller.


The Place component of the 4P model explores how companies choose which markets and channels their products will reach. Businesses must decide how they want to get their product or service to the customer, including options like through self-distribution, a retailer, an online marketplace, or a combination of processes.

Another important consideration addressed in this section is pricing. Companies must evaluate competitive product prices in the marketplace and determine both competitive and value-based pricing strategies for their own product line. Furthermore, businesses can use technology to open up new channels of distribution, such as through websites and social media for purchasing. It is important for businesses to have a comprehensive set of methods for getting the product into customers’ hands in order for it to be successful.


The Promotion element of the 4P Model includes all of the marketing activities associated with advertising and selling products or services. Promotion is a critical part of the marketing mix, as it allows companies to tell potential customers why they should choose their product or service over those offered by competitors. The different components of promotion include personal selling, public relations, direct mail, sales promotions and advertising. These are all important elements in establishing a competitive advantage and reaching a broad target audience.

Personal selling involves using salespeople to direct communication to potential buyers. It can range from phone calls or emails sent directly to customers, to meetings with business associates or other members of the community. Personal selling establishes communication between buyers and sellers that is not always achieved through other promotional methods.

Public relations (PR) campaigns target specific audiences by creating content for use by media outlets such as magazines, newspapers and TV networks. PR campaigns focus on building relationships with key stakeholders in society or increasing visibility for the company’s brand in their market area.

Direct mail campaigns involve sending promotional materials directly to individual people via postcards or letters instead of advertisement via print media or television broadcasts that reach wider audiences at a time but are not designed for personalised communication. Sales promotions offer incentives such as discounts and rebates to increase sales of certain products while helping differentiate them from competitors’ offerings; they also make use of loyalty programs that help build customer relationships over time and encourage existing clients to make new purchases in future. Lastly, advertising encompasses techniques such as radio broadcasts, print ads in magazines and newspapers, online ads on websites or social media platforms, online display banners on search engine results pages (SERPs) and even sponsored content on content platforms such as YouTube channels so people can be informed about a product’s features prior to purchase decisions being made.

Advantages of 3C Model

The 3C Model, also known as the Customer Perspective Model, is a great tool for businesses to understand customers needs in order to better serve them.

The 3C Model focuses on the customer, their context and the company itself. This model can help you tailor your services and products in order to better satisfy your customers.

Let’s take a look at the advantages of the 3C Model:


The 3C modelCustomers, Corporation and Competitors – is a convenient tool to focus marketing decisions. It offers several advantages over the more traditional 4P model, which stands for Product, Price, Places and Promotion.

The Customer element of the 3C model helps focus the efforts of businesses on their end consumer rather than just on product or service creation. At its core, marketing is all about understanding customer wants and needs. By placing the customer first in the 3Cs model, companies are prompted to address those wants and needs first when making business decisions. This ultimately drives better performance which should lead to higher quality products or services being developed along with greater profitability for the company.

Another benefit of focusing on customers in marketing decisions is that companies become better able to reach their target markets through relevant messaging and channels. In addition, this approach provides a way for marketers to start implementing segmentation techniques into their decision-making processes thus allowing them to tailor solutions for particular segments based on often detailed audience data that has become increasingly available since the emergence of analytics solutions such as Google Analytics.


The Cost component of the 3C Model covers the costs associated with the process of bringing a product to market. This can include expenses such as research and development, marketing and advertising, materials, labour/manufacturing expenses, packaging costs, transportation costs, inventory and warehousing costs. These costs can be capitalized or expensed on the income statement depending on their nature and have a direct impact on profitability.

From a strategic viewpoint, analyzing cost drivers can give organizations greater control over overhead expenditures in order to maximize profitability. One example would be outsourcing activities such as manufacturing that are traditionally handled in-house – in this case the cost per unit is typically reduced while allowing greater flexibility among suppliers to meet delivery schedules.

Another significant benefit from an internal accounting standpoint is an improved understanding of how different factors affect overall margins through margin analysis and results tracking. By examining these items at a granular level there is an opportunity for more effective decision making when setting pricing for products or services within an organization’s market space.


The 3C Model evaluates the different factors that influence overall customer needs and preferences. Central to this model is the idea of “convenience”, which emphasizes easy access to services and products. This model provides an efficient way for companies to deliver quality experiences that guarantee customer satisfaction.

The 3C Model takes into consideration both product-level aspects (such as design and features), as well as service-level elements (such as delivery and convenience). By utilizing convenience as a key factor, businesses can give their customers an enjoyable shopping experience. Companies can provide convenient services by simplifying purchase options, extending hours of operations, making return process easier, or providing free shipping options. As long as customers are not required to go through too much difficulty while they purchase the product or avail any kind of service, they will likely come back for more in the future.

Convenience should also extend beyond just purchase options: companies should make sure that their products are usable with minimal effort on the side of the customer. Simple user-friendly features make it easier for customers to use a product without having deep knowledge about its functions; this also ensures higher levels of satisfaction among users by avoiding unnecessary confusion due to complicated user interfaces or small fonts displays. Overall, convenience is central in delivering optimal value from products and services to customers; properly addressing convenience can provide great returns for businesses in terms of loyal customers and increased revenues.

When to Use 4P Model

The 4P marketing mix model is a powerful tool for businesses that have a physical product to sell. It helps to guide the business on how to approach their marketing strategy and considers the four Ps – product, price, place and promotion. This model can be used to get a better understanding of how to target and reach the ideal customer for their product.

Let’s look at when the 4P model should be used:

When you want to focus on product and price

The 4P Model is beneficial in cases where the primary goal of the target marketing strategy is to focus on realigning product and price with target customer demands. This model can be used effectively to identify optimal customer segments and ensure that product, price, promotion and place (the four Ps) are utilized in order to drive demand for products or services, leading to increased conversions and customer satisfaction.

The 4P Model is helpful when businesses want to move away from traditional marketing models that dictate a “push” approach – which often leads to ineffective spending on budgeting, advertising efforts, product placement and more. The expanded model allows businesses to assess customer demands far more effectively before launching any marketing initiatives; this enables quick turnarounds when it comes time to adjust products or prices based on real-time feedback.

The 4P Model differentiates itself from standard 3C models in its flexibility – while 3C models are most effective when used as baseline structures for pushing existing products into the market, 4P Models take into account current demand trends and act as dynamic structures based on customers’ needs at the given time frame. This makes them ideal for companies who want to ensure that their brands remain ahead of competitors by regularly catering towards customers’ needs in competitive market environments.

When you have a strong distribution network

The 4P Model is a framework used to evaluate and determine a marketing strategy for businesses. It represents Product, Price, Place, and Promotion as four separate elements of the model but it also considers the four factors together since they are all interrelated.

When you have a strong distribution network – a wide reach to customers – then the 4P Model might be an effective tool for creating and optimizing your marketing strategy. A well-developed distribution network can be an advantage when using the 4P Model because you are able to leverage multiple avenues for reaching customers to create higher brand awareness and customer loyalty. You can also use this network to maximize promotion efforts like social media campaigns or print ads, as well as expand into new product categories or test new pricing plans without sacrificing profit margin too much. Furthermore, having established relationships with various distributors allows you to get more insight into customer needs and preference which will allow you to focus on what really matters in terms of product offerings and pricing considerations that optimize customer value while still maintaining profitability.

When to Use 3C Model

The 3C Model is a popular business model used to analyze the relationship between customers, company and competition. This model looks at customers, their needs, the company and its capabilities, and the competition. It takes into account external factors that may affect the company’s performance such as the economic environment, technological advancements, and the legal and regulatory environment.

This model can help businesses make better decisions and gain a deeper understanding of the market and their customers.

When you want to focus on customer needs

The 3C Model – also known as the Customer, Cost and Convenience Model – is a marketing strategy that puts emphasis on customer needs, allowing businesses to combine their products and services in a way that will bring maximum value to their customers, while trying to keep costs down and provide convenience. This model was first proposed by academics Koichi Shimizu, Eiji Araki and Makoto Konno in Human Studies in 1989 as an alternative to Philip Kotler’s 4P framework.

When deciding whether or not the 3C Model is right for your business, it’s important to consider your customer base and assess the value your product or service offers. The scope of the model should be tailored to fit the needs of individual businesses; if you are focused on understanding customer needs and delivering on their wants, then this model could be a great tool for you.

The 3C Model works best when companies want to prioritize nourishing relationships with customers without sacrificing quality in order to remain competitively priced. It encompasses cost, convenience and customization elements that take into account customer feedback, communicate market suggestions and generally create a system based on feedback from customers who have interacted with the product or service.

When applied correctly, this model can give you insight into how shoppers view what you are offering from their perspective instead of solely looking at it through a marketer’s viewpoint. Implementing successful consumer-focused strategies allows businesses to gain repeat customers who continue using their products over time because of improved satisfaction earned through personalization options support more meaningful interactions with prospects.

When you have a limited budget

The 3C model, which stands for customers, company, and competitors, is a business tool developed to analyze the external influences of an organization. This approach is a sophisticated version of the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) model and provides businesses with an opportunity to explore their relationship with external factors such as customers, competitors and other outside elements.

The 3C Model should be used when a business has limited resources or budget because it enables a company to understand its environment without investing too much time or money. By identifying customer needs and competitor strategies, businesses can create successful strategies even when they don’t have access to extensive resources. This model is particularly helpful in industries with rapidly changing customer needs or high competition like technology.

By focusing on customers first, this model allows companies to better assess how specific marketing efforts can lead to greater business success by creating the right segmentation strategy and understanding the most effective tactics for engaging those segments. Taking into account what competitors are doing helps managers identify areas where they can differentiate their offerings from others in order to create competitive advantage. Additionally, evaluating their own capabilities allows businesses to understand how they can best deliver value through their products and services.


The 4Ps and the 3Cs models are commonly used frameworks for understanding and managing marketing strategies. Ultimately, the model you choose to employ will depend on your own business’s goals, objectives, strategy and mission statement.

When determining which model is right for you and your company, it is important to remember that both the 4Ps and 3Cs models have their merits. For example, the 4Ps may be advantageous to companies with a large product or portfolio as it provides a more detailed focus on product attributes and helps in creating a powerful pricing strategy; where as the 3Cs may be beneficial as they allow businesses to pay more attention to customers wants by emphasizing an effective customer experience.

Therefore, there is no definitive “right” or “wrong” answer for marketing management; rather the best model will depend on your specific needs within your industry and business environment.