9Boxes™

Marketing Benchmarking Tool

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About 9Boxes™

The 9BoxesTM is a management framework covering the nine key areas of marketing. For your marketing to provide maximum benefit to your business, all nine areas need to be aligned.

Designed to support businesses of all sizes, the 9BoxesTM enables business leaders to make intelligent decisions around strategic marketing; to build a strong marketing capability and to ensure marketing supports business goals and contributes to delivering profitable growth.

Position

Position is the cornerstone of your strategic marketing. It’s the DNA of your business and guides the other 8 boxes.

Why is it important?

Position leads your marketing strategy, so make sure you score top marks for
Position before you focus on other marketing areas of your business.

What’s best practice?

1. You’ve developed a market strategy.
2. Your business plan is current and relevant.
3. You know your current market position.
4. You’ve documented your vision and values.
5. Market, service, product and price strategies are all documented.

Capability

Capability is your marketing engine room: your people, structures, processes, budgets and resources

Why is it important?

Capability, in a nutshell, is your business’ ability to develop a long-term marketing strategy.

It helps you deliver a focused and consistent marketing plan that supports your business.

What’s best practice?

  1. You have a marketing strategy and communication plan.
  2. Tools are in place to measure your marketing.
  3. Your marketing people can help your business grow to the next stage.
  4. Your marketing people know what’s next for your business.
  5. You’re sticking to a well-defined marketing budget. 

Channel

Get Channel right and you’ll know, measure and track the right ways to reach your customers.

Why is it important?

Channel is how you source new business. These could be third-party relationships, often referred to as ‘word of mouth’, or traditional marketing channels like digital marketing, advertising and PR.

Understanding Channel is crucial for revenue generation. It’s also imperative that you market with clarity to your channel partners.

Your business needs to have expectations and measures in place for each of its channels because it’s easy to waste time and money-nurturing channels when they’re not delivering us work.

What’s best practice?

  1. You know and measure the channels that deliver work to your business.
  2. All of your channels have KPIs.
  3. You’re actively seeking new channels.
  4. Every channel has a documented communications program.
  5. You regularly review and refresh your communications programs.

Buyer's Journey

Understand Buyer’s Journey and you’ll influence your customers and turn leads into revenue.

Why is it important?

Buyer’s Journey means understanding why your stakeholders engage with your business. If you understand this, you’re better placed to influence them and convert more leads into revenue.

And once you know the journey, you can better control your pipeline and direct your marketing spend.

What’s best practice?

  1. You’re clear about how every client has bought from you.
  2. You understand how many touch points it takes until someone buys from you.
  3. Marketing communication is focused on the ultimate goal: sales.
  4. Your regular insights program means you speak to your customers frequently.
  5. You regularly review what your competitors are offering.

Communication

To connect to your key stakeholders, your Communication tools should be thoughtful, relevant and appropriate.

Why is it important?

Communication is all about the language, messages and materials your business uses to communicate with your internal and external stakeholders.

It’s important because it’s your best opportunity to present your business.

What’s best practice?

  1. You have a stakeholder engagement matrix.
  2. Your communication material delivers your position.
  3. Brand values are evident throughout your internal and external communications.
  4. You’re always talking about your customers, not your business.
  5. You regularly review and update your marketing materials. 

Starting Conversations

Nurturing and converting leads takes deep customer relationships. These relationships begin by Starting Conversations.

Why is it important?

Starting Conversations is how your business nurtures and converts leads into your direct source of revenue: sales.

Your business needs to understand how your customers buy from you in order to maximise conversion opportunities.

Measuring the effectiveness of your sales function is crucial to your success because sales as a function has changed. Today, more than ever, it’s about deeper relationships.

What’s best practice?

  1. Your sales strategy and process are fully understood and used by your business.
  2. Your business has the right, fully trained sales staff.
  3. Marketing and sales are working together.
  4. Your tools support your sales strategy.
  5. Budgets are in place and you hold regular sales meetings. 

Products / Services

Build strong revenue in your business with the right products and services.

Why is it important?

Product and services are foundations of your revenue-generating activity. You need to regularly review them – and your competitors – so your business keeps up with changing market conditions.

Don’t just ask, ‘what are we selling?’ Also ask, ‘what are our clients buying?’

The answers may be quite different.

The products and services you sell need to be aligned with your position and understood by everyone in your business.

What’s best practice?

  1. Everyone in the business knows why and how you sell what you do.
  2. The product you sell is what your client wants to buy (value proposition).
  3. You’re always looking at how you can improve your offer to market.
  4. Someone in your business is working on new product ideas.
  5. You’re watching your competitors. 

Client Management

Identify the right clients to grow your business, and keep data on them current.

Why is it important?

If you have the wrong clients, it makes the relationships hard.

It’s easier and cheaper to find and service clients who suit your business, and with whom you enjoy working.

Client Management is choosing and having the right relationships with the right clients. That means losing the idea of ‘any client is a good client’. As your business grows, this will hold you back.

What’s best practice?

  1. You know where your new markets are and how to generate revenue from them.
  2. Your operational management systems track and understand the Buyer’s Journey.
  3. You know the difference between good and bad clients – and your team does, too.
  4. You reject clients who don’t fit your business.
  5. Your business is clear on the key measures of success for a good client.

Client Service

Keep your customers happy and engaged long after the first sale has been reached.

Why is it important?

Every client needs attention, and servicing an existing client is far easier than selling to a new one.

Client Service means remembering to nurture ongoing relationships with customers after the sales process has been completed.

What’s best practice?

  1. Someone in your business is responsible for prospects when they become clients.
  2. You understand why you’re over- or under-servicing clients.
  3. You regularly review your client engagement strategies.
  4. You always ask: ‘What else can clients buy from us?’
  5. You regularly gather client insights, outside of the sales process.

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