Yarning to an old mate last week, the usual wide ranging stuff you examine with someone you know well, he said “you know, what you do is forensic marketing, exhuming the deeply held assumptions that distort the outcomes, simplifying  the jargon, identifying the make-work activity, seeing with a fresh eye the alignment of priorities” 

    It struck me as a very useful description, so I constructed a simple list of the starting points:

  1. Who are your customers?
  2. Why are they your customers?
  3. What do they buy?
  4. How much could they buy?
  5. What do various customers have in common?
  6. Why do they buy from you, and not your competitor?
  7. How much & what do they buy from your competitor?
  8. How do you define their Wallet?
  9. Is it the same as they would define it?
  10. What keeps your customers, your competitors, and you awake at night?
  11. Which customers have you lost, and why?
  12. What would you have to do to get them back, and is it worth the cost?
  13. If you were seeking to enter your market now, how would you do it?
  14. What are the barriers to better performance of your products?
  15. What are the markets where your capabilities rather than just your products have relevance?
  16. How do you communicate with customers?
  17. How do they communicate with you, and what is the quality of that communication?
  18. How engaged are you with your key (not necessarily biggest) customers?
  19. Where are the markets that have evolved  that use different versions of your key pieces of capability?
  20. What can you learn from them?
  21. How do the demand chains work?
  22. Where in the chain does the real leverage reside?
  23. Where are the sources of waste in the chain?
  24. How do you innovate to eliminate them?
  25. How can you turn those who inhabit your demand chain into collaborators?
  26. What are the key competitive capabilities of your competitors?
  27. How do competitors react to the tactics you employ?
  28. How effective are their reactions?
  29. How has their response fed into your planning?

    Once I started the list, I found it just went on, and on, and on, pages of it.

    What changes is the way elements interact, apply differently to different situations, and the means by which experience, deep sector knowledge, and the wisdom that comes from hard lessons steers you towards a smaller range of drivers that warrant deeper analysis in any given situation.

    A review of marketing, that can be best described as “forensic” can deliver real benefits from the insights that evolve.