How to Create a Modern Marketing Strategy

What is a modern marketing strategy? Successful marketers in the digital age create a marketing strategy that accomplishes two key things. First, they put the customer at the center of their marketing strategy. Second, they create strategies that are globally scalable. In this post, I’ll share more on what a modern marketing strategy looks like. I’ll also explain how it can help companies as they grow beyond borders.

Modern Marketing Strategy Must PUt The Customer First

Most of us who took marketing courses in college learned about the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, Promotion. These were considered the cornerstones of any marketing strategy. But in the digital age, customers have evolved. The four P’s model reflects company-focused ways of thinking. That model for creating a market strategy solves for how businesses communicate with customers. Modern marketers do things differently. They know their customer has moved on.

For this reason, I’ve adapted the four P’s model to create the SAVE model. In this model, Product becomes Solution. Place transforms into Access. Price evolves into Value. And Promotion turns into Engagement. These four terms make up the acronym SAVE, which is a mnemonic device to help marketers remind themselves of their customers. After all, customers need to be at the heart of the company’s marketing strategy. This framing helps keep the customer in the center.

Traditional Marketing StrategyModern Marketing StrategyRationale
ProductSolutionCustomers don’t want to buy a product. They want a solution to their problem.
PlaceAccessCustomers want to easily and quickly access the solution, wherever they happen to be, at the time they decide they want it.
PriceValueCustomers want to understand the overall value as well as overall cost to ensure the benefit. Price does not matter to customers as much as value. 
PromotionEngagementCustomers increasingly want and require ongoing engagement with a brand, even post-purchase. They do not want to have something “promoted” to them. Bi-directional communication isn’t enough. They want a real and ongoing, multi-faceted connection.
The SAVE Model: Elements of a Modern Marketing Strategy

Solid Global Marketing Strategy Solves for Local Customers Too

Now that we’ve covered why your marketing strategy should be customer-focused, let’s look at how you can make it globally scalable to solve for local customers. How can you create a marketing strategy that can evolve with your business as you expand around the world? It’s actually pretty simple. Put the local customer at the center of your marketing strategy.

Global Marketing Strategy:
Traditional or 4 P’s Model
Global Marketing Strategy:
Modern or SAVE Model
Product. Create the product in one market first and adapt it later for local needs.Solution. Create solutions that are flexible enough to be quickly and easily tailored to meet local needs.
Place. Find the places in each local market that are best for selling the product.Access. Identify the best points of access for local markets to ensure easy and instant availability of the solutions.
Price. Create a price book that reflects local economic realities.Value. Adapt the solution to map to local perceptions of value, which may or may not include price.
Promotion. Determine how best to communicate with the local audience.Engagement. Figure out where to easily and meaningfully engage with local customers in places they can already be found.
The SAVE Model: Elements of a Modern Global Marketing Strategy

Let’s take a closer look at the implications of using a 4 P’s model versus a SAVE model for global marketing. The table below provides some examples.

Global Marketing Examples:
Traditional or 4 P’s Model
Global Marketing Examples:
Modern or SAVE Model
Product. Design an accounting software product for the US market first. Then realize it cannot support international banking systems.Solution. Build the same software product with consideration for key target countries up front, ensuring future compatibility with local banking system plug-ins.
Place. Figure out where people purchase accounting software and how they find out about new products.Access. Understand which market leading systems and companies customers already use and integrate with them, offering the solution in corresponding marketplaces.
Price. Charge the same price in markets that can afford it and adjust the price downward for the same software even if it has more features than local customers really need or want.Value. Determine which aspects of the solution are most valuable for each market and charge for those according to the local perception of value. Don’t charge for things people don’t need or want.
Promotion. Use the same tactics you use in your home market to communicate across local channels, leveraging the same global playbookEngagement. Determine where is best to engage with local customers even if the channels, strategies, and frequency of comms are completely different from the home market.
The SAVE Model: Examples of a Modern Global Marketing Strategy

In summary, a modern marketing strategy needs to accomplish two things. It should orient your company more toward the customer’s needs. And, it should ensure global scalability. I hope the SAVE model helps you as you shift your marketing efforts away from the four P’s, toward the customer, and out into the world.

Nataly Kelly

Nataly Kelly is an award-winning global marketing executive and cross-functional leader in B2B SaaS, with experience at both startups and large public companies. The author of three books, her latest is "Take Your Company Global" (Berrett-Koehler). She writes for Harvard Business Review on topics of international marketing and global business. Nataly is based in New England, having lived in Quito (Ecuador), Donegal (Ireland) and the rural Midwest where she grew up.

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