3 Weaknesses of the See-Think-Do Framework

To get one thing straight right in the beginning: I think that the See-Think-Do framework of Avinash Kaushik is really awesome. The framework connects all the ideas of marketing in a simple and beautiful way. But it also has some weakness, which I would like to address.

The weakness of the potential audience

Avinash Kaushik defines different sets of audiences for each stage of the framework. To define the audience of the see stage Avinash Kaushik gives the following example “My definition of the audience in the See stage are “all people who wear clothes.” Essentially, this is the largest possible way in which you can frame your potential audience. Largest.”.

Avinash Kaushik also edits “The See stage is exclusionary, though. For example, it won’t include anyone who does not wear clothes.”

If Avinash Kaushik is right in his argumentation, that the potential audience for a product or a service is just as big as the number of people who are already using it, then new markets will never be created. But in reality new markets emerge very often. No one had an insurance before insurances were invented. No one jump of the bridge with a rope on their feet before bungee jumping was invented.

Additionally this definition of potential audience does not explain “Once-in-a-lifetime” or “First-in-a-lifetime” purchases, like midwifes or tattoos.

The weakness of the one product/ service focus

Avinash Kaushik focusses on selling product and services. This works very good, when you just sell one (kind of a) product or one (kind of a) service. But how can you use this framework when you sell different (kind of) products like P&G or Unilever?

Of course you could start to optimize all your products with this framework, but will this bring you to the global optimum or just a local one? Probably to a local one, because you are not using the synergies of your products.

The weakness of the non-consumable products/ services

Another weakness of the framework could be explained best by an example. Let’s say you want to create a new social network. The see stage would describe your potential audience as all people who use social networks. So far, so good.

But who are the people in the think stage? These are all people who use social networks, who think they might need some.

Do you see the problem?

When you already use a social network, you not need another one. You can’t use up your social network. On the contrary: It get’s more useful the longer you use it, because ot the network-effects.

Well, these are the 3 weaknesses which the see-think-do framework has in my opinion. It shows that you could not use the framework for every business-/ marketing-case. But still it is an awesome framework which works at least for most of the cases and which gives you a great mindset for building your business.

If you have any thoughts or feedbacks on this topic, please share it via the comments. This would be awesome!

Please share, if you like.
2 Responses to 3 Weaknesses of the See-Think-Do Framework
  1. Avinash Kaushik Reply

    Christoph: I appreciate the feedback. Thank you!

    I concur with you that the value of any model lives or dies with the level of intelligence we bring to it.

    Quick thoughts on the three….

    1. See identifies the largest possible addressable audience. So if you were to start an insurance company when none existed, See would be everyone who could possibly use insurance. (Just as if we are a clothing company the largest possible audience is everyone who possibly wears clothes, but not naked people.)

    2. Please accept my sincerest apologies for not understanding this one completely. In the last year I’ve had the opportunity to develop the model with a few companies, one of which is a $2.4 billion marketing budget CPG company. It worked well in framing what their marketing was solving for.

    3. This reminds me of one of the early lessons in MBA school. Ford is not in the cars business, it is in the transportation business / it is in getting people from place x to place y efficiently business / it is in helping people get to their loved ones fast business. Each definition brings with it new possibilities. If a new social network defines its “largest addressable audience” as people on other social networks, they might suffer from limited success as you rightly point out.

    It was really great to read your post and think about these complicated challenges.


    • BiallaC Reply

      Dear Avinash,

      thank you so much for your reply. It was very helpful to understand your framework a little bit better. And I am still excited about the brilliance and the simplicity of your framework.

      Just some quick thought on your quick thoughts:

      ad 1) This definition is much clearer (and logical) to me. It’s better to say: “possible addressable audience” than “My definition of the audience in the See stage are “all people who wear clothes.” Essentially, this is the largest possible way in which you can frame your potential audience. Largest.”

      ad 2) A proof of concept is the best proof that I am wrong ;)

      ad 3) My point on this is a little bit different. I am not a native speaker, therefore I described my point not very well. Sorry for that. What I wanted to say is that your concept implies/ needs consumable products. When you own an asset which will wear never out or even get more valuable in the course of time, you will never thinking about to get a new one. Of course you would change your asset, when you find one which fits better to your needs, but this case is not covered by your framework from my point of view.

      Kindest regards

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Please enter your name, email and a comment.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>