Businesses have been using the 4P’s marketing mix model for decades. However, as consumers buy much differently today, here’s a newer approach.
In its purest form, marketing is the process of identifying, anticipating, and fulfilling the needs/wants of customers with the purpose of producing profits. In this way, businesses have been utilizing the 4P’s marketing model for decades toward making important decisions and executing marketing plans. However, as consumers buy much differently today than they ever did before, we’ll compare a newer approach, which will ‘SAVE’ the modernization of your marketing.
Introduced by E. Jerome McCarthy in 1960, the 4Ps were, and still are, a mix of marketing considerations surrounding Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Although this traditional marketing mix model, a.k.a. the producer-oriented model, is still widely used even today, there are several variations and evolutions of the model, including the 7P’s, the 4C’s and 7C’s.
Reinventing the 4P’s
In 2013, Harvard Business Review wrote an article titled Rethinking the 4P’s, which addresses the need to reevaluate the framework. While the 4P’s have been serving consumer markets for more than half a century, in the world of enterprise marketing, this approach “yields narrow, product-focused strategies that are increasingly at odds with the imperative to deliver solutions.”
For instance, the 4P’s place more emphasis on product aspects and specifications than it does on unique differentiators and the value it delivers. If you’re like most people, you naturally want to understand the benefits first before being informed about specific features. In this way, the 4P’s product-focused approach undermines the ability for consumers to connect with your brand in a way that they can realize the greater value. For instance, McDonald’s indeed sells hamburgers, but more often than not, people are really buying the affordable family-dining experience. Nike sells athletic shoes and apparel, but more often than not, people are buying the spirit and attitude of feeling like a winner.
The good news is, regardless if you’re marketing directly to consumers (B2C) or to business enterprises (B2B), to effectively modernize your marketing mix is quite simple. Rather than seeing the 4P’s as an obsolete method, the framework only needs to be slightly revised to arrive at the significantly different solutions-centric viewpoint.
The SAVE Framework
One of the marketing evolutions much better suited in serving today’s consumer is known as the SAVE framework. The SAVE model now guides business owners and marketers to focus on marketing considerations surrounding more present-day considerations, such as Solution, Access, Value and Education. This new structure is a bit more evolved and customer-centric helping you to attract prospects and convert customers while producing valuable and sharable content in alignment with today’s customer journey.
SOLUTION – over Product:
Many businesses are shifting to solution-oriented models as opposed to pure product- or service-based. More often than not, businesses get caught up in the features and functions of a product or service and how it will dominate among competitors. What customers care more about is having their problems solved. Ultimately, the product or service is meaningless unless you position it around the needs and wants of your customers while communicating benefits over features.
ACCESS – over Place:
Today, geographic location is no longer a deterrent when it comes to purchasing product or service. The Internet has long since taken over and broken down most of the physical barriers. The name of the game today is making your product or service accessible. This means anyone can review and purchase anytime, anywhere, and on any given device. Be sure your website as the epicenter of your digital communications has a responsive design and is mobile-friendly.
VALUE – over Price:
A customer’s perception of value is far more significant than the actual price of the product or service when it comes to making the decision to buy. With more instantaneous access to information, and with a broader selection from which to choose, the concept of value plays an even more critical role for consumers today. By concentrating on what benefits your customers will truly value the most will help you identify the right positioning of value in the form of benefits in relation to cost. In contrast to cost-plus pricing, value-based pricing works best when you build a strong brand, or the product has highly valuable features, or is a service indistinguishable from competitors.
EDUCATION – over Promotion:
Promotion usually entails buying your way in to gain the awareness of your audience. Today, customers can tune in and out what they want, when they want – almost everything is on demand these days. So why not produce informative communication materials, to which people would choose to tune in? Sharing educational content will not only position you as an expert and thought-leader in your industry, it will also build trust as your audience will gain a feeling of dependability and familiarity from you – the very key ingredients required for gaining customer loyalty. There is a great saying to drive the point of education over promotion home, “people love to buy, but they don’t like to be sold.”
The new SAVE framework will allow you to better embrace and more effectively tackle your marketing goals in the modern world: identifying, anticipating, and fulfilling the greater needs and wants of today’s informed consumers. Using the SAVE method as a framework in developing your brand architecture and go-to-market strategy will seat a more customer-centric foundation and way of thinking in your business – a cornerstone in being successful today. It paves the way for executing a modern marketing plan comprising of creating high-value interactions and prosperous relationships through content, social media, and throughout your entire digital marketing plan.