The evolution of markets, and the role of marketing

Consulting projects don’t emerge out of nothing – unlike the universe, there’s not a vast expanse of emptiness in clients’ minds into which pops—miraculously—the idea for a new project, writes Fiona Czerniawska, co-Founder of Source.

Consulting projects don’t emerge out of nothing. Unlike the universe, there’s not a vast expanse of emptiness in clients’ minds into which pops—miraculously—the idea for a new project. No: clients’ minds are teeming with life. But much of what’s swimming around is at an early stage of evolution, singled-celled organisms if you like. So what takes an amoeba and turns it into a fully-fledged consulting project, and what role can marketing play in that process?

There are really three evolutionary stages we need to think about.

The first is all about the survival of the fittest: some of those single-celled ideas will turn out to have legs. What separates the winners from the losers is the extent to which clients can find corroborating evidence to support the idea that other people are thinking about their fledgling notion, too. They don’t want to waste time on an issue or opportunity that’s going nowhere, and the only way to find out whether it’s going somewhere is to look around, talk to people, and see if others agree with them that it’s worth pursuing. In the second stage, the client now knows they should do something, they’re just not sure what to do and whether they have the skills to do it. Cue more research and more conversations with colleagues, but in a much more focused, in-depth way. This is where an idea morphs into a concrete project, one that you can do, or decide you need help to do. Which takes us to the third and final stage in which some work becomes consulting projects consultants can pitch to win.

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