I’ll have an E please, Bob
The world has changed rapidly and customers have adapted to the digital era in recent years. Customers have taken control of the market, they now decide what information they want to absorb and when, from anywhere, through their fingertips. The 4Ps have been replaced by the 4Es – Experience, Exchange, Everyplace and Evangelism; a concept introduced by Brian Fetherstonhaugh from Ogilvy & Mather.
For the first time, through my experience, I believe it is really time for marketers and businesses to come to realize how the shift from 4Ps to 4Es matters to their business sustainability.
- From Product to Experience: In today’s business world, rather than focusing on the features of the product, consumers often take a step back and discover the whole journey of your product experience or what we call the “Customer Journey”. Imagine you are planning to have a coffee with your friends, and yet you do not want to go to a place with just the best coffee but also somewhere with an inviting atmosphere, friendly staff, with a professional service who recognize you and know your name. A place where you can socialize and laugh as loud as you and your friends want without receiving any evil glances from the tables around you. These are a few reasons why customers are willing to pay more to get the experience they would love rather than just a great product.
- From Place to Everyplace: From the past, it used to be businesses controlling where and when products or services were purchased and consumed. Now though, consumers create their own journeys, they have the ability to interact with a product and service anywhere and anytime they want. Hence, it is crucial for businesses to understand the full range of possibilities in reaching customers. The challenge is knowing how to engage with customers at the right place and at the right time; when they are most receptive.
- From Price to Exchange: Traditionally, businesses beat their competitors by pushing down the price to increase their market share and cutting the cost of production to increase margin. Today the situation is more complex as customers consider not only the pricing of the product but the overall value they will receive in exchange for their money. Instead of focusing on cutting the price, businesses need to be aware of the value of their product or service and highlight that value to their customers, so that they are willing to allow the business to grab their attention and engagement.
- From Promotion to Evangelism: Traditional promotions such as discounts, free giveaways and lucky draws, as well as mass product advertising, are no longer sufficient to grab attention of a business’ target audience. “Evangelism”, is a more contemporary way to promote your brand and engage your target audience. Organisations need to ensure customers have direct experience with their brand and make them love it so much so that they want to tell their friends or even the whole world about the experience. The customer is recruited as a brand evangelist.
In summary, from my experiences, the 4Es concept is a really sensible and relevant way to think about customer engagement in today’s market where good user experience is the key to success. Those businesses that do not understand the importance of designing user experiences that delight customers will fall behind and eventually fade away.