The authors present a powerful and tested approach that helps managers see a business’s every action through the eyes of its customers. This approach is organized around the values that matter most to customers: Acceptability, Affordability, Accessibility and Awareness. Taken together, these attributes are called the “4A’s.” The 4A framework derives from a customer-value perspective based on the four distinct roles that customers play in the market: seekers, selectors, payers and users. For a marketing campaign to succeed, it must achieve high marks on all four A’s, using a blend of marketing and non-marketing resources.
The 4A framework helps companies create value for customers by identifying exactly what they want and need, as well as by uncovering new wants and needs. (For example, none of us knew we “needed” an iPad until Apple created it.) That means not only ensuring that customers are aware of the product, but also ensuring that the product is affordable, accessible and acceptable to them.
Throughout this book, the authors demonstrate how looking at the world through the 4A lens helps companies avoid marketing myopia (an excessive focus on the product) as well as managerial myopia (an excessive focus on process). In fact, it is a powerful way to operationalize the marketing concept; it enables managers to look at the world through the customer’s eyes. This ability has become an absolute necessity for success in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace.