Marketing 4.0 : Definition and features

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Marketing expert Philippe Kotler has defined Marketing 4.0 as a new dimension of marketing linked to connectivity and technology. In Marketing 4.0, customer data acquisition plays the leading role, and completely transforms the buying process by focusing as much on needs as on expectations and behavior. Between evolution and revolution, is marketing 4.0 destined to replace traditional marketing ?

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Definition of Marketing 4.0?

Marketing strategy professor Philippe Kotler has been an authority in the field for over 50 years In his recent textbook “Marketing 4.0 – The Digital Age”, prefaced by Professor Pierre Volle, he describes the many digital innovations that have taken marketing into a new dimension in just a few years.

Marketing can be classically defined as a set of sales techniques implemented by a company to market its products and services to a defined market. Any marketing strategy requires studying consumer behaviors to influence their purchases and develop sales.

The specificity of marketing 4.0 is that it uses the new technologies of the digital world to better understand consumers’ decisions. It uses tools such as Big Data (processing of voluminous data), CRM (customer relationship management) and marketing automation (automation of marketing campaigns).

Marketing 4.0 takes into account not only the development of technologies but also the evolution of customers’ consumption habits, more informed and more demanding. Today’s consumer is more socially responsible but also more connected. He can use social networks to support a product or to denigrate it. The customer’s buying journey is becoming more complex than before: they can now ask questions on blogs and forums, or address the brand directly using social networks.

In this context, new generation marketing proposes innovative methods to reach the consumer. It focuses on the customer experience by activating numerous digital levers to seduce them, convince them and anticipate their behavior: local referencing, content marketing, predictive algorithms, e-reputation…

What is the difference between marketing 3.0 and marketing 4.0?

After the product-centric marketing 1.0 and the customer-centric marketing 2.0, the marketing 3.0 is both more human and more digital. It seeks to place values at the center of the brand, notably by developing content marketing to talk about mission, ecology, commitment, CSR… It no longer talks to customers but to men and women. It no longer targets a market but addresses a society that is committed, creative and in search of meaning.

Marketing 3.0 also prefigures the advent of marketing 4.0: it uses digital technologies to convince the customer in a less intrusive way than with traditional advertising, in particular by implementing a content strategy (inbound marketing). Marketing 4.0 simply goes further, leveraging more data to predict consumer behavior and deliver a more personalized experience.

The characteristics of marketing 4.0?

  • The ultra-connection

The company anticipates customers’ needs upstream of the purchasing process. It creates a permanent connection through a multi-channel marketing strategy using inbound marketing (newsletters, blogs…), emails, banners, targeted ads and social networks.

  • Adopting the 5A’s

The traditional “4 P’s” of the marketing mix (Product, Price, Promotion and Placement) have been replaced by the “5 A’s”: Aware (inform), Appeal (attract), Ask (ask), Act (act) and Advocate (recommend). The customer can be interested in several brands, get information on the internet, buy and then give his opinion on his purchase. The traditional customer journey is thus transformed by integrating the influence of social networks to reach ultra-connected consumers.

  • The importance of the user experience

Marketing 4.0 uses data collection to better meet the needs of customers who are more demanding (through personalized services) and more pressed for time (through mobile applications).

  • The path multicanal

Digital technology is profoundly transforming the purchasing process: customers can now discover a product on the web and then buy it in store, or conversely, they can go to the store first and have the product delivered to their home.

However, “classic” marketing is not dead: it is still essential to start by looking at the product, establishing its price and then defining the places where it will be available, before promoting it. Le marketing 4.0 est donc complémentaire, et pose aussi de nouvelles questions éthiques, à travers notamment le problème de la gestion des données. Marketing is constantly innovating and is still evolving!


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