The 4 As of Marketing | Acceptability, Affordability, Accessibility and Awareness

Lesson Notes

4 As of Marketing

The 4A model was developed by Jagdish Sheth, a marketing professor at Emory University, and Dr Rajendra Sisodia, a marketing professor at Bentley University.

The following diagram portrays the structure of the 4A model.

According to the diagram, the main components of the 4A framework are

  1. Acceptability,
  2. Affordability,
  3. Accessibility,
  4. Awareness

Each of these elements has two sub-dimensions. These components are nothing but a set of conditions that must be satisfied to obtain success with any given product or service offering.

1. Acceptability

It is the degree to which a company’s total product offering exceeds customer expectations. It involves two dimensions; Functional acceptability and Psychological acceptability.

Functional Acceptability

It relates to the “objective” performance attributes of a product or service. It answers questions like “Does the product have the features that consumers in the target market demand? Is it accountable? Does it perform as expected?”

Functional aspects of product design can be increased by intensifying the core benefit or increasing reliability of the product.

Example – Chinese Smartphone brand OnePlus – Its latest offering OnePlus 8 Pro is a pretty well-rounded smartphone with leading features.

Psychological Acceptability

It refers to the more “subjective” attributes of a product or service. For instance, Psychological acceptability is often associated with “luxury” brands.

So a mid-priced vehicle may be just as objectively functional as a vehicle of similar size made by Mercedes or BMW. But those brands are more psychologically satisfying to a specific segment of buyers.

Psychological acceptability can be developed by incorporating changes to brand image, packing and design, and positioning.

Examples  – Tesla and Apple Watch

2. Affordability

It is the degree to which buyers in the market are capable and willing to pay the product’s price. It involves two dimensions;

Economic affordability. [Ability to Pay]

It pertains to whether the target audience in the market has adequate economic means to pay for a product’s price.

Example: Walmart Private Labels.

84% of Walmart’s customers buy private label products which in simple terms means every 4 out of 5 customers usually bypass big named brands to purchase items with Walmart’s stamp of ownership on them.

It is recorded that Walmart has 18 private labels that garner more than $18 billion through sales, and the groups most massive private brand ‘Great Value’ produces more than $27 billion annually on a global level.

Psychological affordability. [willingness to pay]

Psychological affordability applies to a customer’s willingness to pay, which is fundamentally determined by a customer’s understanding of the value they will obtain from a product or service corresponding to the cost of it.

Example: Airbnb.

Airbnb, launched in 2008, has been successfully crafting lasting experiences for travellers that are simple, tasteful and affordable. The latent benefit of Airbnb expansion is the extended supply of travel accommodations that could benefit travellers all over by making travel more affordable.

Accessibility is the third element of the 4A model that defines whether customers can acquire and use a product or service at ease.

The two dimensions of Accessibility are availability and convenience.

3. Availability

It marks whether the company selling its products has enough stock to meet consumer demands.

Example: Walmart

Walmart runs nearly 11,500 stores under 56 banners across 27 countries and eCommerce websites in 10 countries. Walmart inventory management has proved to be one of the most significant contributors to the success of the multinational retail business.

Basics of Walmart Replenishment

  • Cross-docking.
  • Shelf-scanning robots.
  • Walmart’s inventory technology.
  • Vendor-management inventory.


It refers to how accessible it is for customers to get a product or service.

Example :

In 1923 the former chairman of Coca-Cola, Robert Woodruff, seized the essence of Accessibility when he stated that Coca-Cola should always be “within an arm’s length of desire”.

7-Eleven Inc. began its life as an icehouse in 1927 and has emerged as the world’s most extensive and most recognized convenience-store retailer. The brand is an American international chain of convenience stores with its main headquarters in Dallas, Texas.

After Japanese affiliate Ito-Yokado acquired almost 70% of the business in 1991, it was reorganized as a subsidiary of Seven-Eleven Japan Co. Ltd in 2005 and is now held by Chiyoda, a Tokyo based Seven & I Holdings Co., Ltd. 7-Eleven manages multiple franchises and has licensed over 71,100 stores in 17 countries.

4. Awareness

The degree to which buyers have knowledge and understanding about the brand. The two dimensions under awareness are brand awareness and product knowledge.

Brand awareness

The ability of the customers to recall and recognize a brand is called brand awareness.

Example : Coca Cola.

Coca Cola scores the place of being one of the best examples for brand awareness. Another most notable thing about Coca-Cola is their campaigns.

It has always been famous for bringing up the most viral and relevant campaigns, e.g. “Share a coke”. They have aimed to remain relevant and continue to be to this day.

Product Knowledge

Customers potentially will not engage in buying any products unless they have adequate information regarding the same.

Example: Go Pro.

GoPro is a brand that makes high-quality, accessible handheld video cameras and is one of the best brands at developing user-generated content (UGC).

The users not only post videos of their own experiences, but the company also buys the rights to self-shot videos with unique and engaging content, fine-tunes them, and posts them on its owned channels of advertising.

In this way, GoPro inspires others to use a GoPro camera to record their experiences.