Most business schools based their marketing teachings on the 4 P’s (Product, Place, Price and Promotion) but they have not adjusted these pillars for the current reality. An article in the Harvard Business Review, “Rethinking the 4 P’s,” provides a great framework for building your marketing strategy going forward. Rather than the 4 P’s, they suggest a SAVE methodology. Although developed as a B2B marketing framework, SAVE is also relevant for consumer marketing and growth.
Rather than the traditional focus on “Product,” either a good or service, the SAVE approach has you focus your offerings on the needs they meet. Do not concentrate on features or technology, but focus on what your customers want and then build your offering to meet their needs.
Instead of “Place,” retail locations (online or physical) or distribution channels, you should develop an integrated cross-channel presence that considers users’ entire customer journey. The point here is that it is less important to be available through a specific channel or a device but to understand your customer and be available when, where and how they would want it.
While “Price” was always a fundamental part of marketing strategy, setting the appropriate price of your product, now the focus should be on value for your customer. Articulate the benefits relative to price, rather than stressing how price relates to production costs, profit margins or competitors’ prices.
The fourth P in the traditional model is “Promotion,” the marketing mix of performance marketing and press, but a focus on education is the preferred modern alternative. You should provide customers with the information they need at each point of the purchase cycle instead of relying on advertising, PR and performance ads.
How to make the shift
While the SAVE framework is a logical evolution to traditional marketing, it is often difficult to change the way your company approaches marketing. The article suggests three ways to make the change to SAVE:
- Encourage a solutions mindset through the company. Not only the marketing team but also your product team should be focused on thinking of ways to meet customers’ needs.
- Ensure that the marketing and growth organization reflects and reinforces the customer-centric focus.
- Create collaboration between marketing (and sales) and development/delivery. Do not let functional boundaries determine your solutions.
Move to the SAVE framework
To compete successfully now and beyond, you must evolve your company beyond traditional marketing to the SAVE framework. As your competitors are already building customer-centric, solution based products, if you do not evolve, you will not survive.
- The four P’s of traditional marketing theory (Product, Place, Price and Promotion) do not fit with the current business climate and expectations of customers.
- As a replacement for the four P’s, the SAVE framework with a focus on Solutions, Access, Value and Education, provides an alternative.
- The core of SAVE is providing solutions that meet customers’ needs and overall focusing on the user.