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Use this framework to set and achieve objectives

The MOSAIC framework was developed in 1996 by B2B International as a tool to drive action from market research studies.

One of the oldest and simplest frameworks for addressing problems and opportunities is to answers the following three questions:

• Where are we now?

• Where are we going?

• How can we get there?


The MOSAIC model is an extension of these three questions. It is a framework for addressing macro and micro business issues.


MOSAIC is an acronym for six steps required to reach a goal -  mapping, objectives, strategy, action, implementation, and controls.

Mapping: A map is an essential part of any journey. It tells you where you are, where you could go, and the routes by which you can get there. No one would think of venturing up an unknown mountain without a detailed map. A map is just as vital in business.

In the same way that a spatial map locates roads, towns and the physical geography of an area, a business map contains the economic equivalent – the competition, the size of the market, growth trends, an analysis of the customers, their needs, the route to market, pricing structures and so on. The amount of detail required at this mapping stage depends on the subject in hand. A detailed and accurate map will be needed for a complex and important project.

Mapping the market takes time. It is also a job that is never finished. It is important that the mapping stage doesn’t bog down the process through the obsession with finding “just one more piece of information”.

The mapping process usually results in the clarification of thoughts. It is an occasion to locate the problem or the opportunity within a context and, in so doing, it helps show the way forward.

Objectives: Objectives are a statement of the way forward. The acronym SMART defines the setting of the goals:

·         S – the objectives should be specific, significant and stretching.

·         M – they should be measurable, meaningful and motivational.

·         A – they should be achievable and agreed with colleagues.

·         R – they should be realistic, reasonable and relevant.

·         T – They should be time based and trackable.

Strategy: A strategy is the blueprint for meeting the objectives. The strategy describes the plan of action rather than the detailed tactics as these could change on a day-to-day basis.

A good strategy is one that is based on a competitive advantage. It should be grounded on the core competence of the company and play to its strengths. It should also be very clearly targeted and focused on a particular audience.

Day-to-day decisions and tactics in the implementation of the plan will be made by a variety of people.  It is important, therefore, that the strategy is straightforward and obvious, providing a clear view of the direction of travel.

The strategy should have some flexibility. We often hear people talking about Plan A and Plan B. If there isn't a Plan B, and there is no flexibility in the strategy, the project could fail if it hits a problem.

Action: The strategy has to be turned into an action plan. This is where tactics, people, resources and timing come into play. The action plan will comprise steps to achieve the objective. Against each step it will be necessary to show who will be responsible and the date by which that milestone will be completed.

"The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry". This being the case, it is important to foresee what problems will be faced and how they can be overcome.

Implementation: Implementation is the process of putting the plan into effect. It is almost always the most difficult part of the MOSAIC model as it is here that the plan on paper proves to be more difficult than expected. Implementation requires action and whoever is responsible for that action may find that the effort and time is more than they anticipated. Optimism at the time of preparing the action plan very often means that during implementation things take longer and cost more than was budgeted.

Recognising the difficulties of implementation is crucial. Whoever is responsible for each part of the plan will need constant monitoring and motivation. The plan should allow for small steps which can be readily achieved and which lead to intermediate progress points. It is seldom possible to jump quickly and straight to the objective. Keeping things simple and straightforward during the implementation stage is critical.

Control: The implementation is unlikely to go exactly as planned. The plan will have a critical path which must be tracked so that if a problem is faced, it can be solved. Controls are necessary to spot these problems and take corrective action. The controls must be determined at the outset and built into the plan. Usually this means some form of measurement which ascertains whether a milestone has been achieved.

Paul Smith, a marketing consultant, has developed a similar planning tool called SOSTAC.  SOSTAC stands for:

  • Situation – where are we now?

  • Objectives – where do we want to be?

  • Strategy – how do we get there?

  • Tactics – how exactly do we get there?

  • Action – what is our plan?

  • Control – did we get there?


Paul Smith also offers a book on how to write a marketing plan using the SOSTAC framework.

Some things to think about:

  • How would you rate your company in understanding the map of your market? How well does it know the market size, the market segments, the competition, customers needs and unmet needs? How up-to-date is this knowledge?

  • Does your company have clear objectives about where it is going?

  • Does your company have a strategy for how it is going to meet its objectives?

  • Does your company have detailed action plans for how the strategy will be achieved?

  • Is your company good at making things happen – at implementing plans?

  • Does your company have effective controls to make sure that you stay on course and achieve your objectives?

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