After a strategy review

This will usually prompt some reappraisal of how you think about your marketplace and how you segment customers. Good market definition is essential before trying to segment or target customers. It should be in plain jargon-free language that explains the role you play in customers’ lives or businesses: the jobs they need doing and how you help with those. A new business strategy will also raise questions about brands – what to do with the brands you have, whether to build one brand actively, and so on.

After raising a round of investment

Growing businesses can achieve a step-change in growth if they get sales and marketing investment right. But many an emerging, seemingly well-funded business has run a TV campaign and expired soon after. There’s more to effective marketing than loud communication.

Rethinking your offer, propositions or brand

A customer-centred approach complements the internal expertise and understanding that you have, to ensure that your value propositions are clear and compelling, anchored in the most relevant customer benefits. Outside-in thinking can help simplify the most complex offerings, making it much easier to promote them effectively. This helps with internal understanding too, giving better delivery to customers and a basis for continuous improvement. Building a brand is not an end in itself, but a strong brand can contribute to this clarity, inside and outside the business, while confused branding can drain resources and reduce clarity.

Reviewing your marketing strategy

With so many choices now for a business to connect with customers and promote its offerings, a holistic, impartial review of marketing communications is useful to sharpen things up, and focus everyone involved in implementation.

Of course there’s more to marketing than communication. It can be helpful to think about marketing in two parts: the input to the business, to define and segment your market, understand your customers, and develop and improve your products and services; and the output from the business – what you do, as well as what you say and where you say it. A customer’s eye view of your offering is the best place to start to get a coherent overview from which to drill down to specifics by function and create ownership across the business.

Planning an innovation push to create organic growth

Most people would agree that innovation is a Good Thing – but a lot of time and money can be spent on innovation projects that go nowhere. Creative thinking and imaginative problem-solving works best when rooted in a clear picture of customer needs and journeys through the category, and the ideal experience they’d pay for if they could get it. Innovation inspired by a customer-centred purpose, in other words.