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Jonathan Slobom explains INSPIRE TM a methodology you can follow to produce a marketing strategy.

Jonathan has spent his entire career in marketing. He worked for agencies looking after blue chip companies. He was immersed in marketing strategy. Done well, it has massive value. In turbulent times, with such a lot of change, we must make our great ideas to work very quickly.

A strategy is a plan.

In that plan, that plan asks:

  • Who are my customers?
  • What needs do I serve? Functional and emotional needs
  • How do we serve those needs profitably?

A plan removes the way SMEs typically ‘do’ marketing. This ring a bell? They copy what their competitors do. They have an idea and we’ll just give X a go. Facebook, back of bus.

A plan de-risks. You don’t know what results your competitors are getting, so why would you want to follow their lead?

In SMEs, the founder is still in place in many cases. They are entrepreneurial. They often naturally see strategy planning as time consuming, complicated and costly. But it doesn’t have to be. And often nothing happens with the plans that are written.

Jonathan has simplified the process. He gets his clients through the marketing strategy planning process in 6 DAYS. This appeals to the founders.

Jonathan Slobom discussed 3 types of strategy:

  • Founder’s vision. This is most likely all in the founder’s head. Jonathan advocates getting the founder to write down their strategy in an action focused structured way.
  • Corporate strategy – classic model
  • Test and learn. Give this a go, then give that a go. Sometimes they hit upon a good strategy.

Now imagine each of these is a circle. Overlapping circles. Where they all intersect, that’s the sweet spot that Jonathan believes SMEs can benefit from most. Capture the Founder’s vision, put some structure around it and then add test and learn.

How do you do this in 6 days?

He stripped the strategic planning process to its barest essentials.

His solution? A 7 –step INSPIRE process.

Find the INSPIRE model on Jonathan’s website:


valuable pieces of information to help you understand the market better than other people. Jonathan speaks to stakeholders of the business. All with a vested interest in the business. He uses a structured set of questions and uses the answers in workshops, where he addresses:


Over-served needs – loads of choice, you need to be large to compete.
Unserved needs – rare, but do exist.

Partially served needs – really understand your customer and better fulfil those needs better than others. Niche down.

Segment your market

Which customers should you target?


Do a SWOT analysis.
Prioritise the SWOT analysis. Give the senior team 3 votes each. Look at the Threats and Opportunities. You can only focus on 3. They are proactively deprioritising. It’s about focusing on a few opportunities. They’ll be more likely to stay on strategy and execute.

80-90% of the time SWOTs are done in isolation. They think of as many things as they can in each of the 4 quadrants. Jonathan narrows the focus to 3 things. How? Look at your competitors. Ask why people buy from you. Don’t conflate what you can do for customers for what your customers want! Get under the skins of your customers. Focus on their emotional needs, not their functional needs. These sorts of questions will help you create the best SWOT analysis ever.

The benefit here is getting directors aligned. This is a discipline.

Intended Positioning

What do you say to your market? A vision and positioning statement. Jonathan distils this to 3 key messages. It helps the collective company communication. It aligns the business about clarity of messaging.

Take the 3 messages and distil and distil, you’ll get a company strap line. They should have an intrinsic meaning to your customers. This makes you memorable.


These are the tactics you’ll deploy to get your message into your market. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses will launch straight into to tactics. This is not efficient.

Now, we are making well informed decisions. Where possible do the minimum viable product, if you want something to do that is NEW. Test. Then increase investment. Test, Learn, Refine.


This is about executing the plan. Who is going to implement what parts of the plan? When we execute we measure. This improves insights and that loops you back around the circle of INSPIRE.
This methodology simplifies marketing strategy. It makes the process something that can be implanted into businesses.

INSPIRE drives double digit growth

Jonathan talks about implementing this INSPIRE strategy, they can experience DOUBLE DIGIT GROWTH. Jonathan’s own strapline is Exceptional Growth is a Choice. He wants clients who buy into the INSPIRE framework. It is collaborative and consensual working through a marketing process and own the outcomes.

CAUTION: Marketing isn’t about the latest shiny objects. INSPIRE interprets marketing and makes it accessible.

The distinction between marketing strategy and marketing tactics, is that tactics only amplify what you already have got. If you are only 40% efficient, or have operational bottlenecks, and you spend more money on Facebook advertising you are still are only 40% efficient, but you might have more outcomes. Only when you address efficiency/bottlenecks as part of a marketing lead, business strategy, do you spend money more wisely.

If you serve your customer needs better than competitors, you can put your prices up.

What would you advise listeners to do in the next 100 days?

  1. Stop do marketing for their reasons and do things for customer reasons. Ask them what they really value about your business
  2. Align your marketing to that feedback.

How do people get in touch with Jonathan Slobom?

Jonathan Slobom on LinkedIn

The Next 100 Days Podcast is brought to you by Graham Arrowsmith and Kevin Appleby