Tabloid newspapers are powerful communicators and
can exert influence on how people think. One of the most effective
tools they use (and abuse?) are concepts that simplify reality and
allow people to see what is happening. So a politician is
"beleaguered", a celebrity is on the way "up" or "down", a government
is either "on a roll" or "stumbling". Many people say that the papers
influence opinion and they argue they just reflect it. But whichever
of these is true they cut through lots of data and create insight.
As marketers we need to create insight and become powerful communicators
to win over the business to our ideas for growth. There are often many
ideas but this is accompanied by great uncertainty about which will
produce the right results. This uncertainty seems to derive from two
sources. Either there is too much data, so it is difficult to sift out
what is important or there is a shortage of real customer driven
insight because there is little market research available or affordable.
Have you found yourself sitting through analytical or descriptive presentations that provide some interesting content, but few actionable recommendations?
Or sometimes have you found yourself struggling to come up with
insights and unable to justify the investment in high price market
research to create the customer understanding that will bring clarity
to your decisions?
One of the breakthrough tools we have developed to cut through data and create insight
is to develop "really useful concepts" that help you to see through the
mist and bring clarity to decisions about what to do. We have found it
makes a huge difference and supports a cost effective approach.
- When there is too much data, the "really useful concept" slices
through the data to bring out the compelling insights.
- When there is not enough money for new research, the "really
useful concept" supports a structured approach to thinking through the
issues and coming up with answers. This approach may be done with
customers or just your colleagues in the business.
You will probably have heard us talk about the concepts we use.
What characterises all of them, is that they are built around an
important business decision rather than just descriptive of an approach
to analysis or discussion.
- Power Categories – where should we invest to get the most profitable growth?
- Power Attributes – what features and benefits most powerfully influence customers to choose our products?
- Power Propositions – products and services that deliver power attributes.
- Power Channels – where does the product or service need to be seen and be available so our customers will discover it and can buy it?
We also have two additional ideas that have provided valuable support.
- Rocketing – the tendency for customers to trade up and spend disproportionately on things that are really important to them
- Internal Entrepreneur
– describes the skills and behaviours of the people who can make things
happen and influence the organisation to change and actively create
were recently challenged about why our website and our conversation
does not use the conventional language of the brand marketing world.
So why we do not talk about market segmentation, brand positioning,
marketing communications, brand pyramids, brand wheels and so forth?
The question caused me to think about this and reflect on whether by
being different, we are just confusing the issue. In our experience
this marketing speak can encourage debate, but often does not lead to
decisions. So we plan to stick to these "really useful concepts"
because they are just that "really useful".
We know that internal entrepreneurs succeed when they become great communicators.
Maybe we can learn from the Tabloid press and use simpler more powerful
concepts. When our clients adopt these "really useful concepts" they
find it helps to create a common understanding about the decisions that
the business must make. This helps engage the business team and win
support for the ideas.
What is it that makes a concept "really useful". It must have the following characteristics
- It creates insight about an important business decision or action.
- It communicates. It is easy to grasp and possible to have an idea
of what it is about from the title.
- It is adaptable and can help you derive insight from robust data or management discussion.
- It has been proven to work through robust analysis or previous practical examples.
What "really useful concepts" do you use to make decisions? If
you want to share them, you can look at the blog version
of this article and post a comment.
Our next due date for an ezine is 25th December, so we will skip
that one and the next issue will be a New Year perspective on 2nd
In the meantime have a great holiday break. The Differentiate
team will be taking the chance to get some skiing in. But we are back
shortly after Christmas and will be fired up for the New Year.