The Electric Outlet and The 4 Basic ‘P’s of Marketing

Needing to respond to some business related emails while at the mall, I proceeded to look for a coffee shop where I could just sit in, plug in my laptop, and get down to work. Right in the middle of this beautiful mall, are 2 well known coffee shops, located just adjacent to each other. Since one of them was in the direction I was walking in, I simply chose that particular one. As I was placing my order, I asked the waiter where exactly I would -find a power outlet to station myself and get to work on my laptop. The answer to my surprise was: “Sorry sir, no power outlets are available”. This is when I just canceled my order and proceeded to the other coffee shop. As I was approaching the waitress to ask her the same question, there it was; the power outlet just visible next to one of the tables. I threw my backpack right at that table and simply proceeded to place my order. Chiching!

Here’s the lesson. Always remember that if you want to start a business, it’s not only about the product or service, the price, the promotion, or the place (the basic 4 Marketing ‘P’s) that you need to think of. You diligently need to think of the smallest details that each and every one of those 4 ‘P’s encompasses from the customer’s point of view. What makes or breaks a business is putting yourself, or not, in the shoes of the customer and making sure that the 4’C’s, which are the 4’P’s’ counterparts, from the customer’s viewpoint, are thoroughly taken into consideration from that perspective.

Here are the 4 basic Marketing ‘P’s for any business and their corresponding 4’C’s from the customer’s point of view.

Business (4Ps)Customer (4Cs)

ProductCustomer Solution




If any of the 4’C’s, and what’s related to them, does not fully meet or exceed the expectations of your customer, the customer might take their business somewhere else.

As far as the product was concerned, having a latte was just the perfect customer solution for me. So, the first ‘P’ was met.

As far as the price was concerned, the cost of the latte that I was intending on paying was just as expected. So, the second ‘P’ was also met.

As far as the promotion was concerned, the name and signage of that first coffee shop, in terms of communication, was just in my face and attracting my attention. So, again, the third ‘P’ was met as well.

As far as the place (the physical location) was concerned, the location of having it in the middle of that mall was perfectly convenient for me. Great!

However, when all those 4’P’s on the surface had been met, or even had exceeded many of my expectations, it is the littelest details that become more important here. And this is exactly what differentiates a customer-centric business from a non-customer centric one.

Customer centricity is achieved when anything and everything is designed around the comfort and the convenience for the customer. Never underestimate the value of that little plug and the convenience it had created for me at that other coffee shop. From here on, I now know exactly where to go every time I need to head for a coffee shop for the purpose of working, (or even not working) at this mall. That very first coffee shop that lost my business, simply did not fully meet my needs at that particular time, and was surely not convenient for me to stay there, regardless of how outstanding their basic 4’P’s were. It simply did not thoroughly think of everything to make my experience as “convenient” as possible. Sitting down on a nice leather couch was eventually goanna turn to be so irritating once my laptop would start giving me the warning sign that of my battery is running out of juice, and is about to die.

Thinking with the “End in Mind” starts with the very initial planning phases of building a business, that could most of the time very well take place over a “cup of coffee”. Enjoy, and always strive to take your business to the next level.

A master Soft-Skills trainer working with various industries, Samir has had over 20 years of extensive experience delivering a series of workshops and training courses to clients in the government, automotive, banking, media, retail, telecommunication, utility, education, and legal industries. His consultancy, teaching and training experiences are evident in the various positions, assignments and projects he has been involved with both in the USA and the Middle East.


Great article outlining the example of how a simple receptacle can do more than just provide electricity… a good designer, for the first coffee shop, could have saved and developed a new loyal customer within a very competitive coffee market there at the mall. As the saying goes… you snooze, you lose!

Great post.

So true, this is the case with the inflight internet provider giving free texting facility to a mobile carrier. This has increased their chances over other airlines and that mobile carrier over other providers.

I believe that customer compliments and complains must be taken into consideration, these are the secrets for success too.

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