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In marketing you are often exposed to the task of clarifying what, so what and now what. It is easy to gravitate towards spending most of your time on “what’ related questions. By focusing on “so what” and “now what” you have potential to increase your contribution to the result of your team.
The “what, so what and now what” model deeper reflections on the context for an initiative. It is a useful tool in your marketing analysis tool box. Your value propositions become stronger if you know:
- what the situation look like
- what it means to your customer and your customer’s customer
- the actions you recommend as part of your value proposition.
The model is useful in a variety of contexts, but restricted to marketing challenges here.
Market analysis is often centered around; what is happening in the market place and what our response should be. This has been the focus for a long time and when differentiation in the market place came from what you delivered to your customers. In the digital economy it is harder to create differentiation around what you offer. Focus is shifting to a new territory. The time we spend on defining what is happening and what we should do is still important but not enough.
The digital economy is also characterized by information overflow. Even if something is true a job remains in sorting out in which way it is relevant. Asking you “so what?” for all identified market factors is an easy way to help you sorting it out. Arming yourself with a good library of “so what?” questions will take your contribution to the team to a new level. Your customers are likely challenged with the growing information clutter. They will value a partner able to helping them to sort out what is important and what is not for the opportunity you are collaborating on. A solid “So what?” understanding is the first vital half of realizing your differentiation.
All strategy and plans are useless without actions. When both what and so what is clear the next half is to define “Now what?”. The actions we would like to take in response to our “what” and “so what” insights. We are here moving into the territory tied together market analysis and marketing execution. They way you execute will define a larger share of your differentiation The ability to define a response to “Now what?” and put it into action is perhaps your biggest potential differentiator in the future.
Good questions to work with in this area:
- How do I reflect upon new marketing challenges today? – This model is a based on deeper reflections and is for most of us to go one step deeper than we tend to do.
- How do I spend my time between defining “What”, “So what” and “Now what”? – It is easy to have a bias to the first but the last two is where your differentiation will come from.
- Which of my current challenges is worth the extra time to do deeper reflections? – This model is more time consuming and not suitable for all your challenges.
For additional reading on the reflection model and experiences from using it turn to:
- Reflection toolkit [PDF] – by Northwest Service Academy
- Examples of reflection question based on the What, So what and Now What model [PDF] – by Hilbert EDU
- If you’re in charge- Now what? The 8 point plan [eBOOK] – by Thomas Jeff and James Citrin