Most clients have problems. Some they can solve on their own. Some they cannot.
Marketing consultants/agencies are usually used to solve problems that clients cannot solve on their own. Normally an agency or consultant is used because the client lacks the skill or the time to tackle the problem on their own.
Many consultants/agencies will take the brief from the client and slavishly address it. It is the normal approach.
At Flock Associates we do things a bit differently. We believe the first skill and first step on any project is to help clients define the REAL PROBLEM.
Often clients come to an agency or consultancy with a symptom of the problem, not the real problem. We believe as a consultant your real value comes if you define the real problem.
Take this Rubik cube. You will remember as a kid that sometimes you thought you just needed to move just one square to finish a side or layer BUT, when you did that you messed everything else up. The job is to define the REAL problem.
At Flock we use the Five Whys to conduct a root cause analysis. What is a root cause analysis? Well it means we keep asking “why?” until we understand the core underlying, real problem. The Five Whys is borrowed from Toyota who built the Five Whys into all the processes. It allows to be far more effective and efficient their competitors.
Eric Ries also talks about the Five Whys in his book The Lean Startup. By clicking on the image below you can see Ries explaining the Five Whys in a video from Harvard Business Review.
Let us have a look at the Five Whys and a Root Cause Analysis in a marketing procurement context using a fairly typical example:
Client brief Flock with the following project brief; “Please look at how we use our marketing spend and save us some money”.
So, you want to save money?
#1Why? Because profits are down.
#2Why are profits down? Because we missed our sales targets.
#3Why? Because our brand has lost relevance.
#4Why? We’re no longer connecting with a youth audience.
#5Why? We’ve missed the digital wave and we don’t use the right media to connect with kids.
New Project brief: How can we reallocate resources to build relevance with a youth audience?
Here you can see what would have been a fairly simple marketing procurement exercise became a far more beneficial project – all down to the Five Whys? Of course, some root cause analysis may require the client and Flock to do some analysis to answer the Five Whys, but surprisingly it is often a simple cup of coffee and an hour of time, that can get to a real problem brief.
We think in today’s complex international multi-channel integrated environments the rigour of the root cause analysis is imperative to save time and money. We believe it is why we define solutions that solve the root cause of our clients’ problems; it is why we believe we build more effective marketing solutions for our clients.
If you would like to bring us your problems we will ask the questions and provide the coffee, and together we will solve your Rubik’s cube! For contact click here.
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