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The C-3 Model Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


It’s a framework for defining strategy. And like most brilliant things, its effect­iveness lies in its simpli­city. For many busine­sses, especially smaller companies, ‘strategy’ is a luxury. They are too busy keeping customers happy right now and keeping payroll paid this week to enjoy contem­plating a high-f­alutin’ strategy.

Regardless of company size, the 3C framework is an excellent tool for defining strategy. Even if your company is at a point where strategy feels like a luxury, the 3 C model will help you think about strategy — for that day when it becomes not just a reality but a necessity for your business.

The 3 Cs in the model are Company, Customer and Compet­itor. At the inters­ection of these 3 things is good strategy:

The Idea

The idea is that at the inters­ection of a company’s strengths, the needs of a customer group and the offerings of compet­itors lies the opport­unity. If your company is fantastic at building custom software for insurance brokers and there is a large group of insurance brokers out there who need software to help them be more succes­sful, and there are no other companies out there building software for insurance brokers, then wow, you have your strategy. Of course real life is a bit more compli­cated than that — but the framework works, you usually just add more detail.

Here’s how to put it to use:

The Company — the internal analysis section

3 key questions to answer:
1. What are our compet­encies (what are we really good at?)
2. What are our aspira­tions (what do we want to do?)
3. What resources do we have?

The next two sections are external analysis. Companies can do a workshop among manage­ment, sales and customer service to get the answers to these — and it’s almost always helpful to get indepe­ndent research among customers and on customers (although almost every company I know thinks they already know all the answers). They do tend to know a lot, but not everyt­hing.

The 3C Model


1. Who are the customers in the market? (on a segment basis — might be by vertical, function, geography, company size or other parameter)
2. What are the needs of the various customers? (again, this is on a segment basis)
3. How do they buy? (segment)
4. How much do they buy? (ultim­ately, your market has to be big enough to support your company in achieving its growth goals)


1. What are compet­itors offering (and not offering) that your customers need?
2. What can compet­itors not easily offer that you might offer?
3. How do compet­itors go to market (sell, service, market) that does not connect well with customers?

Your marketing strategy

Your marketing strategy becomes apparent. You’ll be able to define:
• What you offer
• How you offer it
• What your unique value propos­ition and market positi­oning is
• Your message that will connect with your target market