When I started mind mapping in the 1990’s, one of the first and most practical uses I found was for learning and absorbing information. Whilst I was still working out the basics of mind mapping techniques, I experimented with mapping books, themes and topics for school and university subjects. The methodology forced me to dig into ideas and questions more deeply, and left a visual record to re-visit when exams loomed.
Many of my attempts were awkward and self-conscious, so I rarely showed them to others. When I did, they were often met with a raised eyebrow or an indulgent smile (“how creative!”). These days, however, there is more openness to alternative learning and revision methods, and I’ve seen huge benefits in sharing maps with others. Text-light and concept-rich, they help to compare understanding and kick off conversations that dense pages of linear notes do not.
The Mini MBA in Marketing
On a mission to refresh and sharpen my mapping and marketing skills, I drew and shared the six maps below in the last months of 2020, whilst studying the Marketing Week Mini MBA with Mark Ritson. The course is a popular 12-module program for marketing grown-ups, with a lively LinkedIn community which connects learners across dozens of countries around the world.
Mark’s lectures were engagingly delivered and tightly structured, which always helps in creating clearer mind-mapped notes. They may be of interest to past, current or future learners in the course, or indeed for anyone refreshing their knowledge of marketing core concepts. These six maps come from the strategically-focussed first half of the course, starting from market orientation and research, through the holy trinity of segmentation, targeting and positioning and out the other side to the marketing strategy itself.
I’ve left out any further commentary to let the maps speak for themselves. If you like your words in complete sentences, there’s also a favourite quote from each module, and a suggested soundtrack for those who like to whistle while they work!
Module 1: Market orientation
🎧 Soundtrack: ‘Humility’, by Gorillaz
“Marketing is not only much broader than selling; it is not a specialized activity at all. It encompasses the entire business. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is, from the customer’s point of view.”Peter Drucker
Module 2: Market research
🎧 Soundtrack: ‘Human Behaviour’, by Björk
“If you want to understand how a lion hunts, don’t go to the zoo. Go to the jungle.”AG Lafley (on ethnographic research and understanding customers)
Module 3: Segmentation
🎧 Soundtrack: ‘It’s Not About You’, by Scouting For Girls
“Market segmentation has been described as the cornerstone of modern marketing. It is an analytical process driven by customer needs, which helps maximise resources, emphasises business strengths over competitors, and enables more effective and better targeted marketing programs to be developed.”Sally Dibb
Module 4: Targeting
🎧 Soundtrack: ‘You’re the One’, by The Vogues
“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do”Michael Porter
Module 5: Positioning
🎧 Soundtrack: ‘Pick A Part That’s New’, by Stereophonics
“Positioning is not what you do to the product; it’s what you do to the mind of the prospect. It’s how you differentiate your brand in the mind. Positioning compensates for our over-communicated society by using an over-simplified message to cut through the clutter and get into the mind. Positioning focusses on the perceptions of the prospect not on the reality of the brand.”Al Ries and Jack Trout
Module 6: Marketing strategy
🎧 Soundtrack: ‘One Vision’, by Queen
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat”Sun Tzu
Of course, it doesn’t stop there. The second half of the course switches to tactics, looking at distribution, product, pricing, integrated marketing communications and brand. Stay tuned to catch those maps next time, and to hear more about a real head-scratcher of a final exam!