The classic marketing mix is referred to as the 4 P’s; that’s Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. It originated in 1960, and over time marketers added additional P’s, like Packaging, People, and so on. I once worked for a corporation that used 10 P’s. (No, I can’t recite them). Whatever the number, the point was to use them as a tool to plan for successful product development, and the right placement and offerings in the marketplace.
The 4 P model has evolved as marketing has moved from a push model to a pull model.
It’s not easy to comprehend how much the world has changed since the 4 P’s was introduced in 1960. That was the era of a push economy. Manufacturers made things, pushed them into the marketplace, and told consumers what to buy. In the digital age, that model has flipped. Consumers have the power and they tell companies what they want (and when and where they want it). It’s true of B2B and B2C alike.
As a result, the movement evolved from the 4 P’s to the 4 C’s (shown below), but in 2005, Chekitan Dev and Don Schultz introduced an interesting model called SIVA. That is: Solutions, Information, Value, and Access. SIVA more accurately reflects the customer-focused strategy that’s required in today’s marketplace.
“SIVA supports and builds on the true marketing concept—finding customer needs, wants, or desires and fulfilling them at a profit to the marketing organization.”
-Chekitan Dev and Don Schultz, Marketing Management, 2005
When consulting with our clients on their brand strategy and marketing strategies, I’ve found the SIVA model to be a useful tool. It’s important to always be present for customers, and to meet on their terms. The SIVA model helps provide the discipline and structure to do that, whether working to define the brand position, planning an ecommerce site, or crafting an elevator pitch. It reminds us that marketing exists to help find, convert, and keep customers, and we must never stop seeking to understand how we can better connect with them.
(This doesn’t mean we have to throw out the 4 P’s altogether. They’re still useful for internal management, because all that customer focus doesn’t negate the need to manage a business with discipline to ensure profitability.)
If you aren’t familiar with SIVA, play with it as you plan your next marketing project.
Instead of telling customers what service or product you provide, ask yourselves and your team, “What solution are we really delivering?” I know a company that sells foam balls for industrial cleaning purposes, like the insides of boom pipes that are used to pour concrete in construction work. The customers could care less that this company has foam balls. What they care about is not causing down time due to pipes full of dried concrete. That shift in focus makes all the difference.
Those same customers look for Value—what product will do the best job, and at what price. In fact, they chat about it on web forums, where they trade information and seek education. Companies that help them find Solutions, Information, Value, and Access (often in the form of education) will gain their favor.
Need help adding some SIVA power to your marketing? We’re just the folks to help.