Tuesday, November 22, 2005

What Can Marketers Learn
from Japanese Manufacturers

We can deliver effectiveness and efficiency by learning from those who have mastered lean manufacturing and by focusing as much attention on implementation as we have always paid to strategy and creativity. It is in the executional stages that lean marketing can flourish when guided with best practices that help you identify and remove waste from the system.

The disciplined methodology of Lean Manufacturing that was created by Toyota has produced incredible results – not just for Toyota, but for the entire manufacturing industry. Better cars for less money. Better everything for less money.

Lean Marketing can follow the same principles of Lean Manufacturing by attacking our systems where process help is most needed:

-- The ability to convert customer knowledge into competitive advantage
-- The ability to shift from push marketing to pull marketing
-- The ability to bond your marketing and sales people in common direction
-- The ability to use technology to increase quality and speed to market

What must change to improve marketing and sales?

We need to improve in four areas:

-- The ability to produce marketing that outperforms competition moored in old ways
-- The ability to shift from corporate-centric messaging to customer-centric messaging
-- The ability to move, monitor and modify, using lean practices
-- The ability to improve staff performance and productivity to do even better tomorrow

I am going to write at these points more aggressively over the coming year. We need to become lean marketers that produce top line revenue for our companies. For now, let this introduction suffice:

This is a light weight method to get complex marketing done with minimum risk. Light weight does not mean flimsy. It can be stronger than a tank. But compared to the heavy lifting of traditional marketing it is light, fast and simple.

This is not an exercise aimed at reducing headcount in the marketing department. That practice has been done before and has not worked. All it produced was a demoralized marketing team and cost reduction at the expense of quality and responsiveness.

It is not a controlling system.

Instead this is a change process designed to produce greater effectiveness and efficiency so you can grow more quickly. It is a communications and learning system to achieve sustained value creation.

Marketing looked at this way shifts from a variable cost to a variable investment – one charged with creating value for which prospective and current customers will gladly pay a premium price.

The goal is to build lean thinking into every marketing activity until it becomes second-nature.


At 12:35 PM, Blogger curiouscat said...

The company needs to be viewed as one interdependent system not independent departments. The system needs to be optimized as a whole. And that means optimizing the overall system not optimizing the individual departments independently.

Marketing plans often fail to act as part of the system rather acting as optimizing their performance is the same as optimizing the overall system when it is not the same.

See my previous post on Marketing in a Lean Company.


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