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We talked to Claire Thorpe, now a business coach and copywriter, about her experience of using and applying Watertight Thinking when she was in an in-house marketing position. Interview by Rachael Wheatley, Watertight Business Thinking.


Rachael Wheatley: Thank you for joining me, Claire. I know you now run your own business, but tell me about when you first came across Watertight Marketing?

Claire Thorpe: I came to a workshop that Bryony ran nearly 10 years ago. It really helped me to prioritise my marketing. It is tempting to go to the top of the funnel first and focus there – and that’s often what people not in marketing expect marketers to focus on.  The company I was working for at the time had no urgency around the ‘buckets’ – customer loyalty and on-boarding which is where I saw most opportunity for us to improve.

Rachael Wheatley: How have you used Watertight with non-marketers?

Claire Thorpe: Mainly I’ve used the six step process and the Touchpoint Leaks® to point out where marketing campaigns fill the gap. It helps to put the campaign in context of what comes before and after and think about who we’re targeting and what was needed. The other thing Watertight helped me do was to have good strategic conversations with people not in marketing.

Rachael Wheatley: What resonated most from the book and methodology?

Claire Thorpe: The journey element. You’re taking people through a journey. A lot of people think marketing is all about promotion, so Watertight helped me to articulate to others that marketing wasn’t just a bit of wording. It helped marketing to get more aligned with the business and feel more of a connection with the leadership team. I’d struggled with that before, so Watertight helped bridge that gap between marketing and the business plan and goals.

Being introduced to Watertight came at a time when I was progressing my career. One of the things it helped me do was have business-level conversations – more informed conversations. It helped me to think of marketing more in the context of business thinking. It also helped others to get those a-ha moments! I could see the penny drop when people realised that marketing could support not just lead generation but the sales and customer services team.

Rachael Wheatley: What has Watertight equipped or enabled you to do?

Claire Thorpe: It’s enabled me to structure things better. Especially needed if you feel a bit overwhelmed. The Foundations helped me to think longer term, not just about campaigns. That structure made me feel more considered and calmer.  It slowed my thinking down because I was approaching things more strategically. It gives a framework, structure and clarity. If you use the tools, it’s gives you that thinking time – so needed but often pushed to the  back of the queue.

Rachael Wheatley: What’s the impact been from having applied Watertight thinking and tools?

Claire Thorpe: The impact in the business I was in at the time I first came across Watertight was that it gave us structure. We’d been very reactive but by the time I left, we were being much more proactive. We had a solid framework in place and marketing was in good shape. It was a great way for the small marketing team to get more of a strategic head and helped build the foundations of a successful marketing operation. It was as helpful for the rest of my team as it was for me as the manager. So even as a senior marketer, it’s been useful. I know I can use it alongside my own experience and any other tools I might use too. At a business level, a lot wasn’t written down so Watertight was useful in asking good questions so we could document our thinking: what are the objectives? what is the strategy? That helped us to arrive at the answers or even just to articulate and share our thinking.

Rachael Wheatley: Which of the Watertight tools have you found most useful and why?

Claire Thorpe: The Touchpoint Leak® Traffic Light Assessment. It’s a really good one to workshop internally. And having a red-amber-green system was really helpful visually. It led to the creation of a content plan, with each piece of content being matched to a stage of the customer journey. It equipped us with a common language to talk about marketing gaps and explain what job a piece of marketing was doing. It helps with prioritisation, too, and pointing out why you’re doing what you’re doing in the order you’re doing it.

Rachael Wheatley: Why would you recommend Watertight to others?

Claire Thorpe: Marketing teams love it. Personally, I love its clarity and simplicity. It’s helped me feel less overwhelmed and my team could easily implement it in practice. It’s been so valuable to me throughout my career. I see it as a way of thinking; more than anything it’s helped me get more strategic about marketing.


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