A New Marketing Mix for Solutions
Software solution marketing may be similar to software product marketing – but the two are not the same because solution marketing requires a more customer-centric strategy.
In their article, “In the Mix,” published in the journal Marketing Management four years ago, Chekitan Dev and Don Schultz proposed replacing the 4 P marketing mix (Product, Promotion, Price and Place) with a more customer-focused “SIVA” marketing mix, built around solutions. Although it’s four years old (!), this model is even more relevant today. The SIVA model forms the foundation for this overview of software solution marketing.
Comparing the 4 P’s and SIVA
In their model, Dev and Schultz replaced the 4 P’s with SIVA – Solution, Information, Value and Price. Based on my experience, SIVA can include the 4 P’s but SIVA still represents a much broader approach to marketing. You’ll soon see how these relate to software solution marketing.
- As opposed to a product looking to be sold, the solution is designed to solve a customer’s problem.
- Rather than just one-way, static “push” promotion, information is all about maintaining a two-way educational dialog with the marketplace.
- Compared to cost-plus, vendor-centric pricing, value takes into account the custom’s benefit less the total cost of the solution.
- Instead of static distribution or “place,” access allows customers to purchase solutions when where and how they want.
The pattern is clear: marketing needs to shift away from the static, one-way 4 P’s model to a dynamic model that starts with the customer, enables marketers to better meets their needs and gives the customer greater control throughout the process.
The SIVA Solution Marketing Mix
Let’s take a look at each of these areas. This is the basis for software solution marketing. Future blog posts will explore each area in greater depth.
- Solution – Whatever it takes to solve the customer’s problem. The solution might include your product, as well as partners’ products, solution frameworks, integration tools and services, strategic and technical services, solution training, solution-level support and more.
- Information – The process of sharing information, engaging in a 2-way dialog and educating the market on your solution. Rather than trying to force suspects to see your message, you’ll enable them to find information later on when they have a real problem to solve.
- Value – A more inclusive equation that takes into account the benefit that the customer will achieve minus the TCO or total cost (e.g., product price plus the cost of service, ongoing maintenance etc) of the solution. Benefit – total cost = value.
- Access – The ability for the customer to acquire your solution when and how they want it. For example, software companies might have both SaaS and on-premise offerings.
Check back for further blogs on each of the elements of the solution marketing mix.