4 Cs: Scuba Diving Industry Marketing Mix — Customer-Centered

Customer Value, Costs, Convenience, and Communication in the Dive Industry

Darcy Kieran
Jul 17, 2019 · 9 min read
4 Cs: Scuba Diving Industry Marketing Mix — Customer-Centered
4 Cs: Scuba Diving Industry Marketing Mix — Customer-Centered

The “4 Cs of Marketing” is a modern way of looking at the scuba diving industry marketing mix. It was inspired by the age-old “4 Ps of Marketing”. Therefore, on the one hand, we could stay it’s redundant to do a Scuba Diving Industry Marketing Mix analysis with the 4 Cs if we’ve already looked at the 4 Ps. On the other hand, it forces us to look at the dive industry from a slightly different angle — bringing other observations to light.

In our 4 Ps marketing-mix analysis of the dive industry, we discussed mainly “our industry.” We were product-focused.

What the 4 Cs model brings to the table is a different viewpoint. Under the 4 Cs model of a Scuba Diving Industry Marketing Mix, we look at the whole marketing-mix under the eyes of a customer. It’s a slight difference — but an important one. This change in the angle of view helps us identify friction points with our clients. And what is more important than the client?

The 4 Cs of marketing we’ll use in our scuba diving marketing mix analysis are:

  • Customer / Consumer Value
  • Cost
  • Convenience
  • Communication

Since we’ve already performed a 4Ps marketing-mix analysis of the dive industry, we will discuss a few more things that come to mind when looking at the marketing mix under the eyes of a customer. It should help us identify gaps between what we offer and what customers want.

AN ANALYST’S WORK IS NEVER DONE: Internal and external factors impacting our business frequently change, and we need to update our analysis. Since dive industry analyses lead to scuba diving industry strategies, we also need to review our strategies to see if they remain valid.

1. Customer / Consumer Value

This is, roughly, the equivalent of “Product” in the 4Ps model.

In this scuba diving marketing mix using the 4 Cs, instead of looking at our product and planning ways to sell them, we think about what consumers want — and then, we design the product, the price, and the distribution.

To start, let’s look at dive gear

We have many dive industry top executives thinking that the best way to pushing dive equipment to clients remains through local dive shops. It’s easy for the dive manufacturer because they’re already setup to do it that way. They can keep on cruising. But what are today’s consumers’ expectations?

We live in the ‘next day delivery’ era. Customers expect to find all brands of dive gear, all models, all sizes, and all colors. And they expect to get it today or tomorrow. Can the small local dive shop satisfy this expectation? Not.

The current distribution model in the dive industry is disconnected from what consumer wants. To satisfy today’s consumers, we need to redefine the role of the local dive shop.

What about courses?

Do you think customers are happy with how complicated we make it? I don’t think so. Today’s consumers expect to get scuba diving training in a much more convenient way than what we currently offer.

To start with, when a future-client searches online for a dive center to learn to dive, why are we listing addresses of local dive shops selling gear instead of the actual location of the pool where they will receive training? This is another antiquated practice maintained by training agencies. At least, local dive shops can properly list pool locations on Google Maps — it just requires a bit of time to get Google to verify these locations.

Furthermore, have you recently reviewed your process for providing training courses to your clients? Making it easy for you and your staff is often the opposite of making it convenient for your clients. For instance, do you ask your student-divers to drive to your downtown dive shop to pick up the cylinders they need for their dives in a quarry far outside of town? It’s convenient for you. Not for them.

If you focus on what customers want and need, you will bring all the cylinders directly to the dive site.

We dive more in-depth in the way we provide scuba diving gear and dive training in our discussion of the octopus strategy.

2. Costs

This is an interesting one. It roughly matches ‘price’ in the 4 Ps Marketing-Mix Model.

Using the 4 Cs model in this scuba diving industry marketing mix analysis brings a very different way of looking at the price of your products and services.

When you look at pricing for courses, you check your costs and add a profit margin on top of that. But what do you do when you look at it under the angle of the “cost” to the consumer”?

Let’s look at the entry-level open water diver course as an example.

For you, let’s assume the selling price is $299. OK. But is that the cost for your client? Not at all. For instance, let’s say the only way to get to the pool, and the dive site is by car. For people who do not have a car, the cost of taking your course is increased by the cost of renting a car for the weekend.

If you insist that they come to your downtown dive shop to get their cylinders and rental gear before driving to the dive site, that is an additional cost for your clients. It’s convenient for you, not for them. Once you see it like that, you may consider bringing rental gear and scuba cylinders to the dive site. There’s a cost to you, but it is significantly less than the cost of each client having to come to your local dive shop to get their gear before going to the dive site — especially for someone living right next to the dive site!

Furthermore, if you bring all the gear to the dive site, a client could more easily go scuba diving with his Ferrari instead of having to rent an F150 to transport heavy wet equipment.

The dive industry uses processes designed to be convenient for us. We need to throw a bunch of them out and re-design processes convenient for the client.

The Octopus Strategy would be the first step in that direction, but let’s continue our customer-centered scuba diving industry marketing mix analysis.

3. Convenience

This loosely corresponds to “place” in the 4 Ps model.

We’ve already mentioned “convenience” when discussing the total cost of a product or service to a client because inconvenience is a cost.

Besides that aspect of convenience, there’s the question of where and how do customers want to purchase our products and services. It may not be the way we’ve been selling them for decades.

Many of our processes require our clients to jump through hula hoops while walking on their heads — sort of. We’ve designed our processes to make them easy for us with a significant disregard for what would be convenient to the client.

For instance, think about your rental gear department. And compare with a car rental place. When I fly into Los Angeles, and I need a car, the process is quite simple. Online, they have my profile and my preferences. It barely requires a few clicks for the reservation to be done. When I arrive in LA, they do not let me figure it out on my own. A van identified to the rental car brand picks me up. At the lot, the bus driver drops me directly in front of my car, and the keys are in it. Now, let’s look back at our rental process… Right. Not quite that convenient!

Do you have a rental software allowing your client-divers to rent the ‘same thing as last time’? Can they do it online at 2 AM with only a few clicks? And when they arrive to pick their dive rental gear, is it ready, all prepared in a cool transportation bag?

Being consumer-centered is a lot more demanding than continuing to be product-centered. But it is required to serve today’s consumers.

You’ll notice that doing a scuba diving marketing mix analysis for your company, using the 4 Cs model, will be much more challenging than doing it with the 4 Ps.

4. Communication

This is equivalent to “promotion” in the 4 Ps model.

Under the 4 Cs model, you do not promote (push) your business’ products & services. Instead, you communicate value to your customers and potential customers.

Unsubscribing & Blocking

In today’s social media and internet era, you can personalize your message. And you can “communicate” with them instead of pushing a general promotional ad. Customers get easily annoyed by advertising nowadays. They want to decide for themselves if you are allowed to talk to them. “Unsubscribe,” and “block” are King & Queen!

If every email message you send is an ad or promotion asking them to spend more, they will unsubscribe in droves. If every post on Facebook is a promotion, very few of your followers will see your posts.

Personalized Messages

To properly communicate with customized messages, you need, first, to understand the target market you want to talk to. From that socio-demographic profile, you can determine what the most appropriate channels to reach them are — e.g., Facebook or the newsletter of a local chamber of commerce. Learn the culture and language used on that channel. Make yourself fit in. Then, talk — don’t sell.

Blog & Video

At one point, blogs were trendy. Then, social media took off, and blogging was perceived as “old.” Well, blogging on your website remains an excellent form of communication, as long as you are providing value in the content of your blog.

For instance, on Facebook, instead of pushing an ad sending people to your eCommerce site where you immediately want them to buy a course, you could promote a blog post including a video describing the experience of taking a scuba diving course with you. A Montreal dive shop in an urban setting is progressing well in that direction with numerous “experience” videos like this one, below.

Note: This video is in French. But you’ll get the “feel” of it with the music, the imagery, and the smiles.

Facebook & Google

For reaching potential clients based on socio-demographic profiles, Facebook is King. You can determine the geographic area for your ad and set an audience based on various criteria, including age and interests. Once again, though, the message should be more informational than trying to convince them to buy scuba lessons from you, the first time they hear about you.

On Google Search, your ads reach people searching specifically for what you are selling. These people are closer to making a buying decision. On Facebook, you can reach people who are not actively searching for scuba diving but fit inside a socio-demographic profile that should make them interested in scuba diving. That is the place to communicate the beauty of scuba diving with you, in targeted Facebook ads.

In this post, we’ve performed a concise overview of a scuba diving industry marketing mix analysis using the 4 Cs of marketing. It’s a tool much more adapted to analyzing a particular company.

When analyzing your business, you may need to do it more than once — for each socio-demographic segment, you are serving. Different people have different expectations and different costs.

You can learn more about the 4 Cs, a consumer-centered marketing-mix analysis, by diving in here.

What’s Next?

Once we’ve completed our analysis of the scuba diving industry, we will summarize key trends and strategic analysis findings before moving on to the next section where we’ll work on drafting strategies for the dive industry.

Meanwhile, please contribute to the development of this analysis by providing feedback, below. Let us know changes, additions, and retractions you deem valid and valuable. Together, we can put the scuba diving industry back on a path to growth.

The “4Cs of Marketing” is just one of 5 methods we use for studying the dive industry.

Porter’s Five Forces provides us with a snapshot of the current competitive forces in the dive industry. It helps predict profitability. A SWOT Analysis helps us identify if any of our weaknesses should be fixed to prevent going heads up with one of the external threats, and what opportunities match our strengths. The 4Ps and the 4Cs are focused on the marketing of our scuba diving products and services. And finally, the PESTLE Analysis looks into the external macro-environmental factors impacting our industry. It is a tool to identify threats and weaknesses for the SWOT analysis.

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Continue reading: Scubanomics Table of Content.

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The Scuba Diving Industry by the Business of Diving Institute (BODI)

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Darcy Kieran

Written by

Entrepreneur | Executive | Author | Radio Announcer | Scuba Diving Instructor — #WritingCommunity — #Miami #Montreal #Marseille


News & editorials for the scuba diving industry. Scuba diving market data & statistics. Business analysis. Innovation-fueled strategies for growth. Dive store management. Your career as a dive professional.

Darcy Kieran

Written by

Entrepreneur | Executive | Author | Radio Announcer | Scuba Diving Instructor — #WritingCommunity — #Miami #Montreal #Marseille


News & editorials for the scuba diving industry. Scuba diving market data & statistics. Business analysis. Innovation-fueled strategies for growth. Dive store management. Your career as a dive professional.

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