When people hear the term ‘lean marketing’ they think its about spending less on marketing in a tough economy. In reality, its about getting the most out of your current marketing dollars — regardless of the spend.
Sometimes, it feels like spending marketing dollars is like making sausage — a lot of fat and waste goes into the end product. In the well-known words of Lord Leverhulme: “Half of my advertising budget is wasted, but I’m not sure which half.” Enter Lean Marketing — a popular, disciplined approach to marketing that has roots in Total Quality Management (TQM). Edward Demming, a forefather of TQM, popularized the PDCA cycle for quality. It’s the same foundation used for Lean Marketing:
- PLAN: Establish the processes needed to achieve an acceptable response rate, cost-per-action, or cost-per-acquisition for of new customer. This is achieved by leveraging a variety of marketing tactics (advertising, social, CRM, etc) that work together to achieve optimal results.
- DO: Implement the processes. Coordinate marketing activities to streamline approvals and leverage creative assets across platforms.
- CHECK: Monitor and measure the effectiveness of processes that generate marketing activity. Report and evaluate combined results.
- ACT: Do more of what works. Remove inefficiencies. Revise processes as needed to improve efficiency, increase response rates and reduce the cost-per-acquisition.
Tools of Lean Marketing include process mapping, value stream mapping, constraint theory, continuous improvement, lean thinking and Kaizen. Over the past two decades, these tools have proven to be effective in the manufacturing world. In recent years, they proven to be effective in marketing too.
The lean approach to marketing takes a different spin that other marketing optimization methods because it focuses on improving the processes that drive good marketing results — instead results alone. This means that a lean marketing approach won’t get in the way of the creative process. Lean marketing encourages creativity throughout the marketing process. Team members are challenged to explore tactics that remove the barriers, delays and waste that drives up the cost-per-acquisition.
Social media tactics are typically good lean marketing tactics because they can drive lower acquisition costs over time by building relationships that drive future sales, brand loyalty, retention and referrals.
In a lean marketing environment, integrated social media tactics don’t replace traditional media tactics. Advertising attracts prospects. It drives awareness. Social media connects prospects. It nurtures relationships. Customer Relationship Management tactics identify the best prospects. It identifies sales opportunities.
Each marketing tactic makes other marketing tactics more effective and successful.
Credits: The ‘Lean and Mean’ illustration with this post is a screen capture of animation by Bruce McFarlan of Zanimation. McFarlan’s animation styles vary from contemporary flat graphic to hand painted moving illustration. Great stuff.
Lean With It
“Lean wit It, Rock wit It” is a song by Atlanta rap group Dem Franchize Boyz from their album On Top of Our Game. This remix features the teletubies (Tinky Winky in purple; Dipsy in green; Laa-Laa in yellow; and Po in red). Wrong on so many, delicious levels. Enjoy!