S.A.V.E.: Edging the Ps out

S.A.V.E,  a marketing strategy that is revolutionising the corporate world. The traditional concepts of marketing that revolved around the 4P’s have now paved way for something more effective and relevant to the current market scenario…

The paradigm has shifted. The space in which business houses find themselves now is unfamiliar to most and perhaps a bit radical in the way it views traditionalism. For decades marketing management gurus have expounded upon the goodness of the 4Ps of marketing namely Product, Price, Promotion and Place.  

In the 4Ps application, marketing was a linear progression. Identify a product that people would want, price it sensibly, promote the product through various channels of advertising and finally sell it through a place where prospective buyers would visit.

But in the new age business practices, it is not as simple. In an era where assistants are called associates and executives are called facilitators, marketing also is not just about selling a product and making a profit. Like nearly every other business activity in the trade of optometry, this too has become an inclusive process where you are not just selling a product but also imparting other value added services that will endear you to your customer further.

AdobeStock_99537711This new marketing strategy is called S.A.V.E. When explained, S.A.V.E means offering a Solution, providing easy Access to this solution, focusing on Value instead of price and stressing on educating the consumer instead of promoting.

How does one adapt the technologies of S.A.V.E in the optical business?

S for Solution

The thrust of this concept is that nobody is really looking for products in their lives. They are all looking at solutions to their various problems. So you as an entrepreneur have to figure out what their problem is and then think of a product that will resolve this problem. In case of the optical trade, this process involves engaging your customer in a meaningful conversation, to understand his or her visual needs. Implementation of this strategy would also mean that there will be an increasing demand for business model innovation that will help you as the business owner to understand the needs of the customer.

Online-shop_buttonA is for Access

Access is a derivation of Space. A key question that all business owners would ask is- what is the geographic location of my customers? In the earlier times, a store owner would try and procure a shop in a busy residential or shopping area with the thought that the demographics would veer the locals to the store and ensure business. But now, the business owner literally has the liberty to sell anywhere in the world. So Place in the 4Ps has happily morphed into Access. Now with internet and the super speed being offered by broadbands, getting an online branch of your shop is easier.

The only thing is that in this new fangled marketing strategy of S.A.V.E, he has to be closely glued into the internet updates so that he can explore its total potential and use it for Access.

V for Value

Though the rich-poor divide in many countries is still daunting, it is also true that the purchasing power of people has increased especially in rapidly developing countries like India. So while the price of the product is still important, its valuation is better assessed and perceived.

The argument here is that the challenge is no longer about creating an A grade product. That is a given. There are plenty of people out there who are producing flawless products. But now, there is a little more to the product that has to be added to make it stand apart from the rest. And that is the big V. For instance, the big consumers are those in the developed countries, who use and throw without a second thought. But in the last few years probably because of the internet that has bridged societies in unimaginable ways, there is a rising social conscience amongst the common man. Even if his or her work and stay environment does not permit it, they want to make a difference in the world. To contribute in however small a way towards a change. A good change. And if a company is able to aid the process through their product, then they have got a winner on their hands.

A unique example in this is the optical company called Warby Parker. Warby Parker has a special value addition to their glasses. They have created social enterprises in the developed markets that make and sell low cost spectacles. By doing so they are building new supply chains and brands and effectively expanding the business. So the customer feels that with his purchase, he is aiding a cause. The Warby Parker effort in contributing towards society has got it many celebrity fans. Like Oprah Winfrey who happily wears WP eyewear. In 2015, Warby Parker was selected as the No. 1 Innovation Company beating Apple.

Finally, E for Education

This is perhaps the most critical aspect of the strategy. As an extension of value-addition, the business person is not just a seller of products but an entreproducer.  So what is an entreproducer? An entreproducer seeks out his potential customers, finds out their interests and proceeds to educate them about the interests they hold. He thereby provides them with more content and information that will hone their interest further. Eyecare technology is rapidly developing and there is a wealth of information that is available at the click of a button. So what does an optometrist do in such a situation? The first thought would probably be that with such a plethora of information who would want to know more? But then, that is the crux of the issue. With everybody having access to the net, the information deluge can be overpowering. But to make sense of the content, one needs to be guided. And this is where the E part of S.A.V.E comes in. Educating your prospective clients. Letting them know through your personal or official blogs the latest technology available in eyecare, the pros and cons, what should be their choices and what should be the parameters based on which these choices would be made.

There will definitely be a lot of feedback to these kind of blogs. From queries to doubts that need clarifications. Slowly as you educate, you are creating a fan following. Most importantly, you are also building trust. And …you are creating potential customers.

Bottom line
In S.A.V.E, the bottom line marketing strategy is to understand the needs of the customer, sometimes even before he becomes a customer. S.A.V.E reinterprets the 4Ps of marketing and makes it more in sync with the current scenario of business.The process of shifting from the 4Ps system to S.A.V.E has started with B2B organisations and one of the most successful of them is Motorola. Changing of mindsets is not easy and in this kind of adoption of a new strategy there has be a blanket sweep of acceptance through the ranks of an organisation. Customer-focus is the chief mantra of S.A.V.E.

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