Wednesday 27 February 2019, Bristol

Our second PM Forum South West Event of 2019 saw us at Grant Thornton’s Glass Wharf Bristol office. Here we were to be enlightened by Stephen Welsh and Kent Valentine of Draw Group. They were going to talk to us about simplifying marketing, from the strategic level right through to delivery – overcoming the hurdles of vague objectives, restrictive resourcing and seemingly intractable disagreements.

Draw Group have developed a strategic framework for achieving this and ultimately being able to, if you will, make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Challenges facing professional services marketers

Kent and Stephen described the challenges that marketers face, and their list certainly resonated with our audience:

  • Precious resources
  • Pressure on results
  • Diverse stakeholders
  • Lack of focus
  • Value is unevenly distributed
  • No objective check or reference

They brought these problems to life with evocative and engaging language: partners expecting campaigns to “cry diamonds” because of the level of investment required, or being “professional pie fingerers”, and using “kitchen sink” as a verb – as in “Let’s kitchen sink the thing.”

Solutions for these marketing problems
Of course all problems need solutions, and the Draw team had some lined up for those described above: 

  • Allocate resources carefully
  • Clearly define metrics for success
  • Consolidate perspectives
  • Ruthlessly prioritise
  • Fish where fish are
  • Create shared understanding

After a brief foray into the usefulness of the Eisenhower Matrix (the one with a four-part cell and axis reflecting “importance” and “urgency”), Kent and Stephen zeroed-in on their own marketing framework.

Strategic marketing framework
The Draw Group strategic marketing framework enables ruthless prioritisation. And the key factor is that everyone gets to bring their thoughts to the table. Or more accurately, add Post-it notes to the wall. Nine columns are worked through sequentially, with the first seven needing to be completed first. Each column feeds into the next. The first seven columns are:

  • Vision – Why does your brand even exist?
  • Objectives – What are the goals of this work?
  • Success – How will you define success? How will you know when you are done?
  • Measures – How will you record performance?
  • Audiences – Who are you talking to specifically?
  • Needs – What do these priority audiences need?
  • Actions – What do you want your audiences to do? What actions can they take to help your objectives?

For each of these columns, everyone’s thoughts are captured, then culled and then checked against the previous columns to ensure they align. If they don’t, the process is redone. Once the first seven columns are agreed, the final two can be worked through:

  • Content – What information do you need for the audience to get their job done and to be encouraged to perform your target actions?
  • Functionality – What are the specific things the solution you are creating must be able to do?

The audience benefited from Stephen and Kent walking us through an example which we could all identify with - a bit of holiday planning. We had it on good authority that this was how all holidays are planned in the Valentine household! It really brought the tool to life, showing how simple yet effective it could be.

The talk was rounded off by showing how strategic benefits and tactical benefits were reached. And how they came together to empower everyone in your organisation to act. As the audience left, there was a feeling that everyone took away something new, even those seasoned in strategic planning.

By Huw Bendon
On Point Copywriting