Benjamin Franklin

Marketing Cheat Sheet (MCS) for marketing consulting

Marketing Cheat Sheet (MCS) for marketing consulting


In most occasions the arduous task of a marketing consultant is to moderate the overzealous promoter or entrepreneur who swears by the superiority of his product.  Don’t get annoyed.  The undying passion for his product alone marks the difference between an entrepreneur and other mortals, we the consultants included! Invariably, when we move to the phase of taking a brief from him, experience taught us to be a good listener throughout the session, though the sense of logic nudges you to interrupt.

Invariably, post this briefing session, you wonder as to why nobody thought about this world-changing product so far! Such is the persuasive selling ability of an entrepreneur. Learn to enjoy this session but do not get swamped.

An honest stock-taking is required if you are genuinely interested in building a strategy that works and produces results. We should also be able to sieve the chaff from wheat…  We use a simple age old checklist technique (let us call it Marketing Cheat Sheet or MCS to sync with time). This is how it goes. With a glee we tell him “Thank you sir and that was very informative.

We are excited. However, we have a policy of getting a fact sheet filled by the prospective client on his own and here it is.  Please answer each query as elaborately as time permits. This will help us come back to you with our plan of action.  Good day to you.”

Talking about a product and writing about it are not the same. Talking is verbose and free flow whereas writing is restrictive and focused. If he is able to articulate his ideas in a written form, you can bet on his clarity and move forward.

In many cases this approach had helped the entrepreneur to get even more precise and recognize where he stands, In turn, this has helped us get a good start of the consulting arrangement…  In some cases the entrepreneur never got back to us probably not wanting to go through this exercise.   Either way we found this tool very helpful.

The MCS reads like this:

1.  Why did you venture into this product or project? (Background)

2. How do you define your product?  (Product concept)

3. Is the product altogether a new concept or an improvisation over an existing product?

4. Does the product fulfill a want or a need for a customer?

5. What problem does it solve for the customer?

6. What pleasure or comfort does it add?

7. How has the customer been managing without this product so far?

8. Who is the primary user – customer? Give a detailed profile like gender, age, location etc.

9. Who are the secondary customers? Give a detailed profile like gender, age, location etc.

10. How will you reach the product to these customers? (Channel)

11. Have you done any formal research on your customers and markets? If yes, what is the outcome?

12. Name your competitor/s

13. What features does your product offers that the competitor product does not offer?

14. Can anyone replicate your product?  If not, why?

15. What is your plan to make your customer know about your product?

Another important point that we do not give in the MCS but ask him across the table, after getting this MCS exercise through is about the plan for funding the marketing initiatives. This information would tell us the boundaries for preparing any spend plan.  In our experience the entrepreneur does not like to write anything about this sensitive information and hence it is better kept for a one to one discussion.

If the venture is not offering a product but a service, the MCS gets tweaked suitably. Also, we modify this MCS aligned to the phase in which we are called to consult:  plateau stage, declining market share, falling margin contribution and so on.

However much time it takes, we do not get into a project without getting this MCS done. This has always given us abundant clarity as marketing consultants, to define objectives and deliverables leading to a meaningful association with the client.


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