Why Lean Marketing?

Lean is not about being cheap. Sure, cost efficiency is a great incentive and selling point, but the advantages are much greater than that. When you apply Lean to marketing you’ll probably wonder why you didn’t do it before.

The old way…

Have you ever gone to a big consultancy or ad agency to initiate a marketing collaboration? First you spend many meetings briefing, then they spend many hours working on an elaborate positioning statement, brand statement and a marketing plan. In many cases you’ve spent a great deal of time and money on a great stack of Powerpoint slides of good intentions, but no marketing has been done. Not only is this delaying your marketing, but the work it represents is largely based on assumptions and previous experience. Nobody knows for sure if it’s going to work for you, or if it is the best for your company. By the time you find out, it will have cost even more money, and the stakes to pivot to a new direction is very high, as the long-term plan demands that you stick it out. This is not only expensive, it is demotivating and ultimately can stick you with marketing that isn’t working for you much longer than necessary.

Or the lean way…

So, what if you could have a focused, efficient project initiation package that would bring you quickly to a Lean Marketing Plan (LMP)? The plan would have only the basic component in your marketing mix – enough to start right away. It too would be based on intelligent assumptions, but they would be simple, raw and ready to be developed through testing. Nothing locked, budgets flexible within so that the funds can be shifted based on results. In other words, good enough to get started. Then, using Lean Management principles (familar to IT-professionals through development systems such as Agile and Kanban), we would start working. In other words, we’d emphasize creating value for customers, continuous improvement, and eliminate waste. The continuous improvement would be soundly based on metrics from web statistics and other tests – no guessing. In short, we’d do more of what works and less of what doesn’t, based on real user facts. And as we did, the LMP would change, grow and improve based on the results.

Lean Web Marketing

When you think about it, this is much more in line with how the web, including social media, works today. That’s why web developers adapted to The Toyota Way  (filosofien som startet Lean Management) and made their own versions of it som early. It’s time to leave old-fashioned marketing limitations behind and apply this to web marketing, too.  Just about everything can be measured in actions immediately, and split tests can be a part of your marketing mix while live. Reactions are immediate, and so are the possibilities for change. You probably already know a lot about this from testing. Why not use it to it’s full potential, to create sustainable, cost-efficient and effective marketing system?

And that is what this blog is about.

🙂 Annette

3 thoughts on “Why Lean Marketing?

  1. Petra Ciobotaru

    Hi! For my Phd, I want to approach ” Lean Marketing” theme. Where and how should I start my research? Is there any “official” bibliography on this matter? Are there any “official” books, definitions, articles, that I can start with? Thanks you for the answer!

    Best regards,
    Petra Ciobotaru

  2. Annette Kallevig Post author

    Hi Petra, that sounds like an exciting topic – I hope I get a chance to read it when you have finished. There is little literature on the subject, and untill someone like you come with an academic, analytical approach, I think this is good. Although Lean is not new, applying it to marketing is, and right now it’s in that dangerous early hype stage. As the people behind The Lean Marketing Lab on their leanmarketinglab.com community front page, lean marketing is learning by doing, so it needs to be applied for a while to find a form that can be put to pen. Meanwhile, I’m afraid it will become a buzzword, applied to many thoughts fairly unrelated to the main principles. I’ve already come across quite a few blog posts that do this. Some try to make unnecessary rules on a system that works by a different dynamic, others apply it to any cost-efficient methods where lean is simply cheap. You’ve probably noticed this when you search the phrase, which makes it hard to judge the blogs and literature at first glance.
    However, the core philosophy strikes me as much closer to marketing and easier to apply than f.eks to technical development. Therefore, I think the best is to stick to general Lean Management literature that stays close to the core and see how it applies to marketing. For example, in The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, the examples and cases are about startup developement, but if you read it with a marketing perspective you’ll easily see ways to apply it to marketing. It also includes quite a bit of marketing. I’d recommend starting here as it gives a modern, applied use of lean principles. Use these principles when you move on to specific Lean Marketing literature, ebooks or others, to make sure you are dealing with a true lean marketing book. Once I do the same, I plan to have book reviews here on the blog, so stay tuned and let’s exchange notes. Best of luck with your PhD!

  3. Petra Ciobotaru

    Hi again! Thank you for the great answer and support! I already spoke with Mr. Dager from the Lean Marketing Lab, and I will become a member soon!
    Can’t wait to dig the subject to its deepest and see what I can come with 😀 I am sure that, with a lot of work and some inspiration :), it will end well.
    I will definitely send you the final paper, to give an opinion about it. We keep in touch, and if we could exchange email addresses, that would be great! You know mine, so… Thanks!


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