Why We Offer Programs, Not Services

Why We Offer Programs, Not Services

One of the many benefits of working within one specific sector for more than a decade is that we’ve seen many of the same recurring problems. This has allowed us to build frameworks for solving those problems, and these frameworks have allowed us to systematize the way we approach work, which we’ve codified into the programs we offer.  

At Thrive, we’re not “full-service.” We’re not “industry agnostic.” We don’t do everything.

Instead, we do a select number of things and we do them well. We’re strategic and intentional about our work, and we stick to what we know so we can produce repeatable results that move the needle for our clients in powerful ways.

Four main desires

We’ve learned over the years that our clients generally desire four specific tasks and outcomes, and these four specific tasks and outcomes all have to do with delivering more economic value:

  1. Launch products in innovative ways that cause them to sell out
  2. Build or transform a brand to attract more customers
  3. Locate and attract more paying customers through strategic marketing tactics
  4. Expand commerce strategies to sell more products in more ways

There are myriad ways of accomplishing these tasks and outcomes, but we’ve developed a program for each that delivers dependable results based on what we’ve learned over the years. 

For example, we work with businesses on positioning in all four of our programs because we believe that starting with how a business is positioned is the right way to begin every engagement. Without a firm handle on positioning, strategy, messaging, and even impactful creative don’t stand a chance.

Yes, we still make websites, design marketing collateral, and create social content, but we do it within a tightly managed program so each deliverable is created for a very specific purpose.

This is the right way to do it because it ensures the outcome is strategic, efficient, and effective. 

Known and unknown problems

(We’re grateful to business strategist Tim Williams of Ignition Consulting Group for his thinking and guidance on this topic. This graphic below is borrowed from him.)

Taking this even further, we’ve discovered that every client engagement can be categorized into one of the four quadrants in the following grid:

Most of our client engagements fall into quadrants A and B: known problems/known solutions, and unknown problems/known solutions.

We sometimes perform work for clients in quadrants C&D, but that work occurs less frequently, is much more robust, and requires significantly more diagnostic effort at the onset of the engagement to ensure the right problems are being uncovered and addressed.

The majority of the work we do, however, falls into quadrants A and B. 

It’s within those quadrants that we’ve been able to uncover patterns and trends. This is a good thing for the companies we work with. It’s also a good thing for us. 


Because we know what works and what doesn’t, and we proceed accordingly. It limits the amount of surprises that pop up and allows us to move forward with confidence. 

Fixed program, customized thinking

The natural question might be to ask whether we engage in a one-size-fits-all approach that results in the same prescription for each one of our clients. 

The short answer is no. 

While the programs are fixed, the thinking, strategy, and creative output is completely customized. Our freedom to be creative comes from our discipline to be structured. We learned this the hard way. 

If you’ve still got questions, we’re more than happy to chat about our process with you. Reach out to us today.

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