Role of Digital Supply Chains in Killing the four Ps of Marketing Mix

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Four Ps of Marketing Mix are dead….long live the Four Cs of Marketing Mix

In his book Marketing 4.0, Marketing Guru Philip Kotler suggests-

“In a connected world, the concept of marketing mix has evolved to accommodate more customer participation. Marketing mix (the four P’s) should be redefined as the four C’s (co-creation, currency, communal activation, and conversation).”

We will see as we go through the definitions of the four Cs in the subsequent sections, this replacement indeed makes sense in the new Digital Age. This redefinition of Marketing Mix by Kotler is also actually a big help, in my perspective, for supply chain design and strategy professionals, since it provides them the opportunity to evaluate and roadmap the supply chain capabilities they need to build to support Marketing 4.0 in the Digital Age.

Digital Supply Chains and the New Marketing Mix

Co-creation

“In the digital economy, co-creation is the new product development strategy. Co-creation allows customers to customize and personalize products and services, thereby creating superior value propositions.” – book definition

From eLogistics perspective, it means leveraging digital technology to create multiple supply chain segments within a supply chain to serve different customer segments as well as leverage Digital for extreme customization.

Machine learning can support creating intelligent customer-product-channel segments and then developing supply chain strategies to deliver differentiated offerings to these segments (all while balancing the cost to serve each segment against the value that segment brings to the business) will help organizations achieve co-creation with their customers.

Other technologies like IoT sensors will facilitate the collaboration between customers and companies, not only in terms of direct inputs from customers but also in the form of tracking customer behavior and preferences. This data will be then leveraged to further evolve supply chains.

Currency

“With dynamic pricing, companies can optimize profitability by charging different customers differently based on historical purchase patterns, proximity to store locations and other customer marketing profile aspects. In the digital economy, price is similar to currency, which fluctuates depending on market demand.”- book definition.

Again, different pricing for same product (say home delivery) requires you to have a flexible and responsive supply chain that can use a common supply chain infrastructure to provide different level of services, thereby enabling the provider to charge different price points.

Digital technology plays a critical role in omnichannel supply chains. Not only in terms of automation where warehouses are automated to handle small parcel volume efficiently, but also in terms of data integration from various channels into a central demand planning system.

Communal Activation

“In a connected world, customers demand access to products and services almost instantly, which can only be served with their peers in close proximity. This is the essence of communal activation.” – book definition

Crowd shipping, logistics eMarketplaces, trucking eMarketplaces, on-demand warehousing portals, digital freight forwarding platforms like Flexports – are all examples of various versions or levels of Communal Activation.

The core eLogistics capabilities required for seamless communal activation can be summarized into two: Real-time visibility and seamless data exchange between various parties on the platform.

Conversation

“The concept of promotion has also evolved in recent years. Traditionally, promotion has always been a one-sided affair, with companies sending messages to customers as audiences. Today, the proliferation of social media enables customers to respond to those messages. It also allows customers to converse about the messages with other customers.” – book definition

Yes, promotions have become conversations since the say of customer has increased. And eLogistics is playing a role here as well. When you promote your service, your customer has the ability to customize it as per their convenience. Examples? The same customer may prefer doorstep delivery one day and will then choose a locker delivery for another one if it suits them.

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