Something has happened over the last year or so—at least half the time when I talk to clients, whether in a one-off strategy session or a longer consulting relationship, my Zoom whiteboards have become packed with diagrams, frameworks, and models.
I've talked about this previously, so I won't rehash the why, but it's interesting that so many people that I work with are craving this type of clarity. There are several models I really like as tools for helping people create focus about their marketing, brand strategy, services, or ideal customers.
My specific interpretation is something I learned many years ago in some unmemorable business tome I had to read for a job, and then was improved upon as I learned more about this subject. Simon Bowen's Genius Model is a great resource for digging into the Venn idea further, as his interpretation centers the customer outcome in the middle of the intersecting circles (this is the way I think of it as well). This can be particularly useful if you're develop a new service or addressing a new audience.
In our work, we get far more granular with this model, fleshing it out at least one more level, and then creating content frameworks off of that.
You've seen mine here:
SWOT or Four-Square Model
I think of the SWOT or Four-Square Model as a way to create a clear eyed view on what's happening right now (something we don't do enough of), which helps us to be proactive instead of reactive (something else we should all do more of).
We use model this all the time, both for ourselves and clients (sometimes I don't even show it to clients, but it's a good way to codify conversations so I can share it with our team for discussions). This was a method I learned ages ago when I worked in public sector communications, and it's continued to serve me well. You can read more about this method here (pro tip: look for the Google Doc template link).
Do you facilitate transformation or growth that's multi-faceted, with stops along the way? I would likely sketch this out in a pyramid to help you articulate your clients' growth. Here's one I created for us, to describe our clients' journey and ground ourselves in their current reality:
You can also see another usage of the pyramid model when I talk about buying journeys in this previous newsletter.
This one can be invaluable in articulating your audience and sales priorities. I can't recall when I first learned it, but it was many, many years ago when I was focused on PR and we had to prioritize media outreach. The people in the center of the bullseye were our reliable, always on coverage folks, while we had several other rings of increasing difficulty. This is very useful for tactical thinking and prioritizing!
I couldn't find a pretty, non-client example so I drew you one and snapped a photo in my Notes app—gorgeous, right?
Now, the big risk when working with this type of thing—especially without a skilled facilitator—is that it can be an exercise in glamorous busywork, which is no good. I'd rather you never look at a model than use it as an excuse to avoid progress. (Yes, this is a thing that happens a whole lot.)
A framework or model can be as simple and a progressive line with signposts for each stop along the way—the power (and value, if we're talking about building value in your business) is in putting it down on paper. It can be as un-fancy as my scribbled bullseye and still be legit!
Do I have you convinced? Should you be using models in your business and marketing strategy? Is something holding you back from embracing this way of working?
P.S. You know I never do the scarcity thing, but I wanted to advise my email newsletter readers that my Spark Sessions program is almost booked for the first quarter, and I will be raising the price a bit for the second quarter to better match the impact of the work we're creating with our clients. This is a great way to develop a framework, a content plan, or solve one big problem with me, over the course of three long sessions (think a consulting VIP day, but broken up over several weeks so there's more time to think and finesse). Hit reply to get on my calendar for an Alignment Call to see if this is a good fit for you.