18 November 2022 1361 words, 6 min. read

Marketing 4.0: origins, advantages and advice

By Pierre-Nicolas Schwab PhD in marketing, director of IntoTheMinds
Marketing 4.0 is a new marketing vision: more inclusive, personalized, and effective. This type of marketing is a formidable asset in your inbound marketing strategy. Author Philip Kotler first used the term in 2017. This new digital marketing era follows […]

Marketing 4.0 is a new marketing vision: more inclusive, personalized, and effective. This type of marketing is a formidable asset in your inbound marketing strategy. Author Philip Kotler first used the term in 2017. This new digital marketing era follows 3 generations of processes from marketing 1.0 to 3.0. Here, the four objectives are to define and contextualize marketing 4.0 before presenting its advantages and advice.


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All about Marketing 4.0 in 30 seconds

  • Marketing 4.0 innovates on three aspects: the introduction of the 5A’s to complete the marketing mix, the multi-channel presence, and the ultra-connectivity with customers
  • It is the fourth generation of marketing, following the productivism of marketing 1.0, the customer attention of marketing 2.0, and the segmentation of marketing 3.0.
  • 6 major advantages: customer-centric approach, targeting, results measurement, active communities, personal branding, and two-way communication.
  • Managing e-reputation well becomes an essential marketing effort in the life of your company
  • One should not consider that traditional sales channels should disappear in favor of digital
  • Advertising: you should create personalized campaigns to be able to attract the attention of your audience

Chapter 1

What is marketing 4.0?

In 2017, Philip Kotler popularized the term in his book “Marketing 4.0”, which discusses the exponential evolution of marketing. Indeed, traditional media is increasingly giving way to digital media. However, Marketing 4.0 combines the best of both worlds: traditional and digital marketing. Thus, influencing purchases and developing sales requires a good understanding of the customer’s behavior.


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The use of new digital technologies distinguishes this marketing approach. Data is increasingly required in the analysis phase. In addition, assertiveness is increasing, including with the use of artificial intelligence and robotics in actions.

Marketing 4.0 involves techniques such as Big Data, CRM, and marketing automation.

Characteristics of Marketing 4.0

Its characteristics are distinct and disruptive:

  • Make way for the 5A’s: The old “4P’s” of the marketing mix is supplemented by the “5A’s”: Aware, Appeal, Ask, Act, and Advocate. These new metrics imply that the customer is interested in many brands. In concrete terms, they get information on the Internet and proceed to the act of buying before giving their opinion on their customer experience. This is the main contribution of marketing 4.0.
  • Multi-channel customer experience: The customer experience is facing an unprecedented evolution, especially with the advent of digital technology. Now, products are available online before in-store purchase. It is also possible to go to the store before being delivered at home.
  • Ultra-connectivity: Here, we anticipate customer requests before the purchase process. We then seek to establish a long-term relationship with a multi-channel marketing approach. This includes inbound marketing, e-mails, targeted advertising, and social networks. In addition, brands seek to involve their customers in the life of their company (Jara, A. et al., 2012).

Chapter 2

How did we go from marketing 1.0 to marketing 3.0?

Marketing 4.0 and its numerous characteristics result from a strong evolution in marketing practices. We present the main aspects of marketing 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0.


Marketing 1.0

Marketing 1.0 came from the industrial revolution and reached its peak with the Fordist revolution. Here, customers had little choice in front of them; also, there was little rivalry between companies. As a result, companies focused on their products and production.

By producing more and more goods, business structures had only one objective: to sell more. Therefore, personalization was strictly limited in favor of productivism. In short, the customer was only secondary in the minds of the companies.

marketing 4.0 productivisme

With marketing 1.0, we don’t ask questions: we make and sell! (source: Shutterstock)

Marketing 2.0

It is only with marketing 2.0 that companies started to personalize their advertising messages. The effect is immediate: advertising campaigns immediately become more impactful. Because of this, customers’ expectations became more and more important. We then witnessed the emergence of brand images as a differentiation tool.

Marketing 2.0 appeared in the 1990s and refocused on the consumer to establish new marketing fundamentals based on customer satisfaction and loyalty. The offer is therefore built according to the needs of prospects.

marketing 4.0 evolution

Marketing 3.0

The major change brought about by 3.0 marketing lies in its segmentation, which is more efficient and fairer. Its use of digital technologies is a harbinger of the emergence of marketing 4.0. Advertising persuasion techniques are perceived as less intrusive than traditional advertising. Finally, thanks to marketing 3.0, the first content strategies are born.

marketing 4.0 targeting

Le 3.0 prépare le terrain pour le marketing 4.0, surtout en matière d’attention portée au consommateur. (source : Shutterstock)


Also, two types of marketing have emerged through this new process:

  • Attraction marketing: offering relevant product information to increase its conversion rate
  • Experiential marketing: arousing strong emotions to create a link between the prospect and the brand

Chapter 3

What are the 6 advantages of marketing 4.0?

Marketing 4.0 has made the commercial world accessible to everyone. In truth, any company can advertise through digital channels. This grants them many advantages, listed below:


Advantages of marketing 4.0 Explications
Customer Centric Approach Companies are interested in the personalities of their customers. They ask themselves about the latent needs of prospects and act to concoct the ideal offer.
Target marketing Our modern tools allow us to create marketing campaigns for each targeted segment. The best practice is to prioritize the consumers most likely to become customers.
Measuring the results Marketing 4.0 provides precise and useful performance indicators to assess the impact of advertising campaigns. Some examples of metrics: are the number of visits, bounce rate, cost per click, and so on.
The Community Multi-channel presence is a key aspect of creating communities of engaged and active users. These groups are the first ambassadors of your brand!
Brand image Total freedom opens to companies. Brands can convey a positive image, be more human, and be closer to their customers. There is still a debate about the impact of brand image on purchase intention. On the one hand, some believe that thinking through one’s brand image is essential to gaining customer trust (Kim, R. B., & Chao, Y. 2019). On the other hand, an analysis of consumer behavior shows no particular relationship between brand integrity and purchase intention (Dash G. et al., 2021)
Communication Unlike the traditional approach, marketing 4.0 communication is a two-way street. It goes from the brand to the customer and vice versa.

Chapter 4

Marketing 4.0: 3 tips on how to use it correctly

Finally, we share with you 3 best practices before you start marketing 4.0. On the agenda: e-reputation, traditional vs. digital and personalized advertising.

Dedicate time to e-reputation management

The influence of opinion is one of the main criteria for the success (or failure) of 4.0 marketing campaigns. Today, every voice can be expressed on social networks. So, it is important to know about e-reputation management. Knowing what to do in a crisis can be decisive in keeping a healthy brand image.

In short, monitoring positive and negative comments allows you to gauge the nature of your reputation. The most important indicator to measure customer loyalty remains the propensity to defend the brand, a real ambassador role.

Balancing traditional and digital processes

When author Philip Kotler, an authority among his peers, talks about Marketing 4.0, he is not talking about a clean slate. On the contrary, this marketing process is simply the sum of all the best practices acquired over the decades regarding customers’ needs.

Marketing 4.0 mainly puts forward the idea of a multi-channel presence. Selling your products/services on physical and digital channels is proof of sound business management. Nowadays, there is no better way to increase engagement and enhance your brand image.

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Design targeted and compelling advertising campaigns

Finally, marketing 4.0 faces a big challenge. Indeed, capturing attention and arousing strong emotions is complicated for customers increasingly exposed to advertising. It is an essential step on the road to building trust between customers and brands.

Targeting remains a major attraction for reaching new customers. This marketing 4.0 strategy allows to go and find prospects who recognize themselves in the brand’s message. The key to brand success is to share essential values with its targets.

Posted in Marketing.

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