A 5Cs checklist: A quick way to review your marketing strategy

by | May 9, 2023 | Uncategorized

How up to date is your business’ marketing strategy?

A strong marketing strategy requires a firm base and regular review to keep it relevant and competitive. Yet, with the pressure of the day-to-day, even the most well-developed marketing plans can go unchecked.

The 5Cs framework provides a simple but comprehensive way to audit the foundations of your marketing strategy, informing and redirecting your marketing decisions. And Glew’s interactive checklist can help you to take a measure of where you’re at.

By thinking about how well your current strategy incorporates the 5Cs, you can pinpoint which area you need to pay most attention to: Company, Customers, Competitors, Collaborators and Context (or Climate).

What’s great about 5Cs is that it can be applied regardless of your organisation’s sector and size. Whether you have one hour or several weeks to invest in using the 5Cs method, you can make it work for you; just try to incorporate a review of some sort at least once every three months.

Although it’s Company that usually appears first in the list, I always recommend auditing that C last for two reasons:

  1. By leaving internal reflection to the end, you’re less likely to bias your reflections on the external.
  2. Because good marketing is all about meeting ‘customers’ needs pr#ofitably’.

I’d suggest starting with your Customers audit first.  If you understand your customers and know your position relative to the market, your marketing strategy is going to be more focused and easier to prioritise in your ever expanding to do list.

Complete Glew’s interactive 5Cs Marketing Review Checklist as you go.



Starting with Customers, in the last three months have you asked for feedback or sought new insights to improve your understanding of your target market? It’s not just about collecting data, but how you’re using that data to derive insights which drive decision making.

Have you revisited your ideal customer personas (or created personas)to  make sure you’re targeting their needs? Sometimes, a group with a specific set of needs can emerge from this review, offering new potential business routes.

Have you looked at which webpages people are visiting and which email links they’re clicking on to better understand their interests and behaviour? Updating relevant calculations, such as customer lifetime value and cost per acquisition, can help you gain a sense of where and what you should be investing in.


For Competitors, are you up to date with any new innovations? Do you know what they’re doing that’s resonating with the market? Are you aware of any new entrants or services which may offer a substitute for your target audience? Reading your competitor’s reviews can help you to identify your target audience’s pain points and where your strengths and weaknesses lie in relation to your competitors.  Considering the basis of your competitors’ brand positioning can help to ensure you keep yours unique, relevant and credible. The goal shouldn’t be to jump on every new trend, but to use these insights to solidify your own offering.


With Collaborators, I recommend including internal and external collaborators in the mix, since your colleagues are so vital for making your marketing strategy effective. Ask yourself, in the last three months, have you had contact with all your key stakeholders, including partners, suppliers and distributors? Have you updated your contact list and identified gaps? Have you considered whether the software you’re using, for example, your email and website platforms, are working for you? Considering opportunities with new partners or cross promotional campaigns with existing ones could make a big difference to your marketing success.


The Context or Climate then is all about the external environment influencing your marketing situation. Take time to review those PESTEL factors: political, economy, social, technological, environmental and legal/ regulatory (think IR35 and GDPR); some situations can lead to shifts across a number of these dimensions at once. The Covid pandemic, for example, changed consumers’ financial situations, social behaviour, and their use of technology.  Many companies had to quickly adapt their marketing to align with these changes.

It is always good practice to be aware of emerging trends that might impact you, whether negatively or positively. AI, for example, might feel like a threat to parts of your business, but it could also have huge potential.


Finally, look inwards at your Company or organisation. Have you revisited and quantified your goals? Do you know how your marketing is performing in relation to past periods? Have you mapped your product portfolio to see how different products are performing? This exercise can really help you prioritise your marketing activity and cut costs, ensuring you’re investing in the right strategies.

It’s also well worth checking your messaging and positioning is still relevant and appropriate in relation to any new insights into your customers, competitors, and the current climate.

As a stock check, the 5Cs is a great tool that can easily highlight where you need to strengthen the foundation of your marketing strategy. For example, you might be on the ball with customer research but less up to date with your collaborator relationships; you might know exactly what’s going on with your performance, but little in the way of your competitors’.

These observations are incredibly helpful, but the next step is to turn them into actions to take forwards. You can use Glew’s accompanying 5Cs marketing review worksheet to summarise the areas you want to focus on and, if you’d like to develop your analysis further, list out the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for each of the 5Cs in a combined SWOT table.

Get the 5Cs Marketing Review worksheets

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In summary, the 5Cs is a great starting point for building a strong foundation for your marketing. Whether you dedicate a working lunch to it or decide to do a 5Cs analysis with every product team, you can adapt it so that’s it manageable for you.

If you’d like some help carrying out a 5Cs audit or support with developing your marketing strategy, please get in touch for a no obligation consultation.


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