Effective Content Strategy Guided by The SAVE Framework

The SAVE framework as described recently in the Harvard Business Review magazine is a perfect guideline for your content and marketing strategy. I discuss how it can be the centerpiece of your customer-centric strategy.

save content strategy

Harvard Business Review magazine published an article on the SAVE framework. It is a shift from the traditional 4 P’s marketing model. The authors claim that in today’s B2B world, the classic model (emphasizing product, place, price, and promotion) isn’t necessarily irrelevant, they just “need to be  reinterpreted to serve B2B marketers.”

Publishing and content marketing are a perfect example of this framework. According to the authors, “the SAVE framework is the centerpiece of a new solution-selling strategy.”

The SAVE framework fits like a glove to your publishing strategy. To attract your prospects/customers, to retain them, to make your content valuable and sharable, you should follow the SAVE framework. Many of you already do it, though not calling it as such.

Many others are still looking for the model that would work best for you, for the model that would help you draw a successful, effective and long-term content strategy. I believe that the SAVE framework can help you tremendously.

What is the SAVE framework? The emphasis from the 4 P’s model is shifted from “products to Solutions, place to Access, price to Value, and promotion to Education”.  In short, SAVE.

Here’s how the SAVE can guide your content strategy:

Instead of product, focus on Solution.
The SAVE framework says, “Define offerings by the needs they meet, not by their features, functions, or technological superiority”.

Therefore, your content strategy must be customer-centric. Ask yourself:

  • Who are your prospects/customers?
  • What are their main pain points?
  • How can you help them live/work better?

Through helpful and relevant content help them learn the benefits of your products and services.

Instead of place, focus on Access.
The SAVE framework says, “Develop an integrated cross-channel presence that considers customers’ entire purchasing journey”.

I’ll twist this a bit and say this is about knowing where your prospects/customers hang out and what exactly they’re doing there. Your brand should be accessible there. This is basically a question of the content distribution.

Access is about the integration of all channels and tools available to you that are relevant to your prospects/customers. You should know what channels you’re present on (Facebook, blog, popup store, Twitter, Pinterest, printed magazine, email newsletter, etc.) and why. How is each channel used by your prospects/customers, at what point of their purchase journey they play a role and what that role is?

For example, what are you trying to accomplish by your presence on Facebook or with a blog, etc.? And what kind of content and engagement should you expect on each and every channel you use?

Instead of price, focus on Value.
The SAVE framework says, “Articulate the benefits relative to price, rather than stressing how price relates to production costs, profit margins, or competitor’s prices”.

Your prospects/customers need to sense that your content is valuable to them. According to Sharon Tanton, valuable content is:

  • Helpful – It makes a difference, it answers a genuine question.
  • Entertaining – Provokes a reaction. Smile, laugh, or think – people respond to it and want to share it.
  • Authentic – Genuine and original. Written from the heart, it tells a story that people understand and respond to.
  • Relevant–  It is rooted firmly in the client’s world, it makes perfect sense.
  • Timely – it is sent out at the right time, it hits the audience when they are most receptive.

Instead of promotion, focus on Education.
The SAVE framework says, “Provide information relevant to customers’ specific needs at each point in the purchase cycle, rather than relying on advertising, PR…”

According to Marcus Sheridan, content marketing is about educating your prospects/customers, “We’re just teachers.”

Therefore, do just that. Answer your prospects/customers’ questions. As Marcus likes to say, if they ask, you answer. Ask everyone in your company who is in contact with your customers (in the calling center, the sales department, the lost & found department, etc.) to write down any questions your prospects/customers may have, no matter how insignificant they may be.

All in all, help them live/work better.

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What is your take on this framework as the centerpiece of any content marketing strategy? Can it help the beginners?

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