Design Thinking for Marketing Part 4: Evaluation

Design Thinking for Marketing Part 4: Evaluation

One of the main tenets of design thinking is checking that your solution is fit for purpose. 
 
You start by empathising with the problems of your target audience, you frame the problem, you go off on a wild, creative magic carpet ride to come up with brilliant and weird and simply off the wall ideas, and then you have to evaluate them. 
 
This is sometimes where the process falls down in marketing, because, despite having all the previous framework in place, often people revert to old ways of thinking and old assumptions to evaluate an idea. For example, an idea might be compared against pre-existing assumptions and found wanting, or may be discounted because something similar hasn’t worked before. 
 
However, this evaluation phase should be taken very seriously, because this is where the process really tightens down and starts to produce diamonds. 
 
The evaluation criteria against which all surviving ideas (after the creative / ideation phase – see more here) should be rigorous. Start with writing a structured evaluation framework. 

For the concepts that make it through this stage, a scored SWOT analysis can provide useful insight. 

  1. A gate / set of gates – for example, the idea must be:
    • Achievable within X budget
    • Implementable before X date
    • Deliverable by X means
This should be essentially a PASS / FAIL stage. If ideas can’t achieve the basic fundamental project constraints, they aren’t feasible. 
 
For the concepts that make it through this stage, a scored SWOT analysis can provide useful insight. 
  1. A SWOT analysis for each idea, answering the same set of questions:
    • Strengths:
      • What are the advantages of this approach?
      • What will be the positive impact of this idea?
    • Weaknesses:
      • How could this approach be improved?
      • What will be difficult with this concept?
    • Opportunities:
      • Why will the market be enthusiastic about this approach?
      • What else could we do with this concept?
    • Threats:
      • What barriers stand in the way of success?
      • What do we lack that we would need to make this work?
To make the SWOT quantitative, assign a scoring system where each item each quadrant for all ideas is ranked – for example, for concept A, B and C, rank all the strengths on a rating from 1-5, then do the same with weaknesses (minus 1- minus 5), opportunities and threats (minus 1 to minus 5). 
 
The total will be [total of concept X’s strengths] + [total of concept X’s weaknesses] + [total of concept X’s opportunities] + [total of concept X’s threats]. This allows you to rank the ideas objectively. 
 
For example:
 
At this stage, you will often find one or two winners emerging. These are the concepts that you should take to the next level – which in design thinking is prototyping but in marketing we call testing. Find out more in next week’s blog.
 
We can help design an evaluation process for your marketing ideas. Contact us to find to more

Sybil Williams
Founder and Growth Catalyst