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The Limitations of Frameworks: Exploring Why They May Not Always Work

Frameworks sometimes don’t work. The trouble is, people dive straight in. This is understandable. There is pressure to get the issue sorted and the framework is a tempting route to the answer.

This is not how it should be. Before applying a framework you need research. Boring, boring, boring! You feel you have enough information and herein lies the danger. It is at this early stage that objectivity is required. The collection of the information is not only important for guiding the strategy. It is vital in the diagnosis.

When there is only selective information, the route to the solution might seem obvious. More information causes consternation – “on the one hand we could do this, on the other hand we could do the other”. The more you know the less clear cut everything seems. But this is reality. There are always differences in a marketplace. It is why we segment. Segmentation groups together customers and potential customers of a certain ilk. Armed with a segmentation we can begin to understand why some people are happy and aligned with our offer and others are not. We now can see who to target and what messages will have greatest effect.

Collecting intelligence is the role of market researchers. For sure, market researchers can collect intelligence and they are particularly good at surveying markets. However, surveys are expensive and take time. It's not unusual for a decent survey to cost the price of a medium sized car and take 2 to 3 months to complete. Shortcuts can help. There is usually a treasure trove of intelligence within an organisation. Sales and service people, technical people, production people and finance may have something to say that is worth listening to. And there will be data within the organisation that can be brought together and analysed. Sales data, customer complaints, reports are just a few clicks away on the server. Every market has its gurus, people steeped in the subject, and they may be prepared to provide an overview or a summary. And a few hours searching the Internet will produce a harvest of relevant data.

There is no fixed ratio in terms of time required to complete the diagnostic stage versus applying the framework but from experience I would say that it is 10 to 1. It is worth it. If the intelligence gathering and diagnostic is carried out diligently, the framework will be easy to apply and almost certainly will work.

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