The Evolution of the 4 P's

March 20, 2015

Spanning over five decades, the 4 Ps (Product, Place, Price and Promotion) have long been considered “the foundation of marketing”. But just like retro flares have been replaced by skinny jeans, the role of marketing has also evolved – meaning the acronym is increasingly harder to clearly define in the modern world.

Various people have come forward with new takes on the 4 Ps, but one that really stands out to me on a B2B level is the SAVE (Solution, Access, Value, Education) approach, published in the Harvard Business Review. I think a lot of it applies to forward-thinking agencies, so here’s a quick breakdown:

Product changed to Solution. Rather than focusing on your product or service and banging on about how good it is, it’s now about approaching it from the point of view that asks ‘how can it solve a customer need/problem/issue?’

Place changed to Access. ‘Place’ can get complicated with a sales channel involving a multi-faceted distribution model. People now have the power to access information at any time of the day from any location. Deliver what they need and when/where they need it – otherwise you could lose out.

Price changed to Value. Once you have adopted SAVE, it is natural that the ‘solution’ will need to demonstrate a tangible value.

Promotion changed to Education. With a long and complex sales cycle, education is certainly applicable to B2B. Marketing requires ongoing communication with the customer – and educational content for your sales channel is vital.

It’s important to recognise when a marketing model becomes out-of-date, and this is a prime example. Can you think of any other concepts that are no longer relevant for innovative businesses?