Implementing the SAVE Approach at Motorola

January 31, 2013

Eduardo Conrado, senior VP and CMO-Motorola Solutions, shifted his marketing strategy two years ago, moving away from a traditional, product-driven approach and instead focusing on the needs of customers in the government, enterprise and public services markets that the company serves.

The transition saw him leave behind the 4 P’s of marketing, a well-known framework that emphasizes product, place, price and promotion, in favor of a new model. SAVE focuses on solutions, access, value and education.

The BMA chairman published the model with Richard Ettenson, professor at Thunderbird School of Global Management, and Jonathan Knowles, CEO-Type 2 Consulting, in the current issue of the Harvard Business Review. He spoke to Buzz about the roll out of the new framework at Motorola and the steps that other btob marketers need to take to begin the same journey.

BMA Buzz:  How did you implement the SAVE framework at Motorola?

Eduardo Conrado: I had my team look at a few things. How do we evolve from being a traditional products company to being more of a solutions company, focused on the customer? We had just launched our corporate framework around the brand. We started with that foundation, defining the essence of the company. Then we worked as a team on the evolution towards becoming a solutions-oriented company. What does [the change] mean in terms of how we communicate with the customer? What is the impact that [a product] will have on the customer, on addressing their need, and then what is the impact of the communication vehicle that we use?

More and more of our customers said [they were] looking at solutions based on a need. If you’re looking at a customer-centric approach that turns the product into a solution addressing their need, you have to define what the ultimate value or return on investment is. Price moves toward value. You actually are making a solution that addresses some need.

By changing the status quo, you move from a promotional mode to long-term thinking around education. You’re providing thought leadership around the vertical. What are the trends that our customers see? Your content has to change to pieces that are more educational in nature.

BMA Buzz: Is this what we are seeing as companies migrate to content marketing?

Conrado: Exactly. When you think about content marketing, ultimately it is not creating more pieces but creating content that is educational in nature. You’re providing a point of view. You’re making your customers more informed and, by default, you become a thought leader in that space.

On the access side, we talk about place migrating to the web. Customers seem more aware and are doing their own research across multiple mediums. They are talking to other customers. They are getting into the website and the research and looking at white papers. You have to look at content distribution. An integrated, cross-channel approach will [deliver] broader access.

When you put it all together, product moves to solution, place to access, price to value [and] promotion to education. That’s what we ended up putting in place over the last couple of years at Motorola. We restructured our traditional product marketing teams into solutions marketing teams and, in the regions, created vertical marketers, people who are experts in the customers and who are marketing around the customer.

The type of content that we create also changed. [We create] a lot of white papers and point-of-view papers. We get involved much earlier in research. Marketers traditionally create a lot of content that is customer facing, but if you look at this approach, it’s also sales-team facing, so they can articulate this approach to our customers.

When you talk about value and education and solutions, it changes your whole content structure. When you look at distribution of the content, or making the content available across different channels, your systems that support that also have to change. You have to have a traditional website. You have to run better analytics. You have to add personalization, marketing automation. It means being able to handle multiple content types across the channels, and it means tying it to the sales force automation system. So the infrastructure that we put in place [has huge implications].

Buzz: What would the first step to implementing this approach be for btob marketers?

Conrado: If you are going to move to a solutions approach, you’ve got to look at it beyond communications and a campaign. You have to look at how you take a broad portfolio and turn it into a solution for sales. The solutions-marketing piece is critical. You have to start with a vertical focus on the customer so you can articulate the value and eventually start looking at your integrated marketing structure and rethinking that into a content operations area where ultimately there is a highly integrated systems-driven approach to provide the right content and information to your customer.


"Implementing the SAVE Approach at Motorola." BMA Buzz. 1/31/13.