4Ps are one of the fundamental elements in marketing. In fact, the marketing process revolves around the 4Ps (product, price, place, and promotion). Some marketers even stretch this list by 7 to 8Ps, including positioning, packaging, performance, and people.
However, there is a less discussed concept, which may be new to the marketing world, but it is equally important. We are talking about 4 A’s of marketing. 4 A’s are a marketing development from Dr. Rajendra Sisosdia and Professor Jagdish Sheth. But what exactly are the 4 A’s of marketing, and why are they important? Let’s find out.
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What Are 4 A’s Of Marketing?
4 A’s of marketing is basically a customer-oriented marketing approach that focuses on four elements that are very important from the customer’s point of view. 4 A’s actually mean;
The core objective of 4 A’s is basically giving entrepreneurs, managers, and businesses better insight into customers’ perceptions. It is eventually the customer who takes different roles such as user, payer, and selector.
The 4 A’s marketing concept states that these four elements are mandatory for the success of a product that can offer value to customers, society, as well as businesses. Let’s discuss every A of 4 A’s marketing framework in detail.
Components of 4 A Marketing Model
Acceptability means how much or to what extent does a product or service meets the expectations of the customers in a given market/niche. Are the customers satisfied? Did it fulfill their expectations or not? Sometimes, a product may even exceed the customers’ expectorations. Acceptability is further categorized into two dimensions.
Types Of Acceptability- 4 A’s of Marketing
Functional acceptability addresses the objective traits of a given product or service. It may include the performance, features, or facts about the product. For example, were the customers expecting these features? Are they actually useful for them even if they were not expecting them? Most importantly, will these features make the product more distinctive and attractive?
If a company makes a bigger cereal box to give “more” in “less,” it seems a wonderful idea. However, if the box is too big to fit in the regular cupboard shelves, it will be placed somewhere else where it might be out of the customer’s sight, thus ignored.
Psychological acceptability addresses the “subjective” traits of any product/service that are perceived differently by the customers. Psychological acceptability describes how a customer perceives a product or brand from a societal point of view.
Companies like Rolls Royce, Mercedes, and BMW are luxury cars brands. They are generally regarded as a symbol of “eliteness” because it is not easy to own and maintain luxury cars from these companies. People take pride in using products from these brands.
Affordability means the willingness and ability of a customer to pay for a certain product or service. Again, affordability has two further dimensions psychological and economic.
Types Of Affordability In 4 A’s Of Marketing
Psychological affordability refers to the willingness of a customer to pay for a particular product or service. That is, a customer is in a position to make the purchase but is he/she willing to do it? This depends on how the customer perceives that specific product. Will that product make him feel good? Or will it have any impact on his/her societal acceptance or even a source of appreciation or acceptance?
For example, oil field workers may prefer to drive Chevy Bolt or Nissan LEAF just because their peers drive tricked-out trucks.
Economic affordability refers to a customer’s financial ability to buy a specific product. Does the customer you are targeting have enough financial resources to buy your product? For example, a customer may want to buy a product of HSN or QVC but is unable to do that unless these brands start offering a six-easy-payments method.
Affordability is important because it is helpful for businesses to create a product or service that is not only valuable but is cost-effective as well. Besides, affordability is more important when you develop your marketing campaign on reliability and cost-effectiveness.
Accessibility in 4 A’s of marketing means the level of ease with which a product or service is accessible for the customers. Accessibility here basically addresses customer convenience and customer accessibility. Here are two further dimensions of accessibility
Types Of Accessibility In 4 A’s Of Marketing
Customer convenience means how easy it is for a customer to obtain or get a product or service. Human psychology is pretty simple; customers always prefer the most accessible options. “An arm’s length of desire” is exactly what Coca-Cola’s former chairman said while explaining the importance of making the product readily available to the potential customer.
7- Eleven is really a perfect example of customer convenience. The company has established thousands of stores just to make sure that they are easily recognized and available to the customers.
Availability here means whether the specific company has enough stock of a product to meet customers/market demand. If a customer wants a product at any given time while the company is out of stock, it will lead to customer dissatisfaction and force them to look for alternatives.
Awareness basically addresses both existing and potential customers of a product or service. It focuses on things like;
- Informing customers/ and potential customers about the benefits and features of a product
- Persuading potential customers to make the purchase, and
- Maintaining a trustable relation with the existing customers.
Types of Awareness in 4 A’s of Marketing
The customers must have sufficient knowledge about the product. The business must be able to inform its potential customers that they are selling this specific product or service. For example, Eliquis is a pharmaceutical drug that is used for the treatment of A-Fib. However, a massive number of patients only know about Warfarin or Xarelto because they don’t have enough knowledge about Eliquis.
Brand awareness is a simple marketing term that defines how much customers remember, recall, or recognize a brand. For example, PepsiCo offers multiple products such a Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, Frito-Lays, etc. But a customer may remember all these products just by hearing the word “Pepsi.” Brand awareness is what actually differentiates a company from its competitors.
Benefits of 4 A’s of Marketing Framework
4 A’s of marketing must be an integral part of any marketing mix. Here are some worth mentioning benefits of 4 A’s of marketing framework.
Enables True Customer Centricity
4 A’s of marketing framework is more of a measurable approach. That is, it helps the businesses to develop a marketing mix that is more measurable rather than just a blind traditional marketing effort.
This framework does not focus on when and where you can sell your products. Instead, it helps businesses understand why people buy a certain product and what can affect the success of that product or service.
Besides, when a business focuses on developing customer-driven strategies, it doesn’t have to go for “hard selling” techniques.
It Improves Marketing Productivity and Accountability
The 4 A’s framework is also advantageous because it helps in determining the productivity of a marketing effort and keeps accountability; the results are highly measurable. That means, with the help of 4 A’s framework, a business can easily evaluate which marketing activity is productive and which isn’t. In fact, if a product fails to score well on the benchmarks of 4 A’s, then the product can be rejected.
Holistic View of Business Success
Another good thing about 4 A’s framework is that it includes or addresses every aspect of a firm from a marketing perspective. When a firm channelizes all its activities towards customer-driven and easily measurable objectives, it gives more freedom to its management and brings more productivity. Moreover, it urges the leadership to maximize their individual and collective efforts for the achievement of organizational goals.
Giving Vivid Managerial Prescriptions
4 A’s of marketing also offer a protective shield to businesses by helping them prevent marketing failures, ultimately conserving capital and human resources. Apart from that, this framework can be very effective in determining the problem areas in a product and turn a potential failure into a successful launch.
Better Allocation of Resources
Trusting the gut intuition or playing “hit and trial” methods do not work in marketing. This is why 4 A’s marketing framework is very effective because it assists businesses in more efficient allocation of resources. It enables the management to identify the weaknesses and strengths of a marketing campaign and then allocate resources accordingly.