I answered these questions a while back for José Miguel Vives Martínez on for his blog, ALTACUNCTA. I thought I would share the English version.
Where did you learn about Lean for the first time?
I have always been an avid reader and on a journey of personal continuous improvement. I learned about Lean during the time I was president of a company that manufactured construction equipment. After reading Lean Thinking by Womack and Jones, I realized that my mentor had been practicing these very same principles. He did not call it Lean, nor was it Lean – but in essence it was without many of the tools. I was extremely fortunate because the culture was already established. I did not know how difficult it was to create the atmosphere (Culture) till after I left.
Which are their key points of Lean Marketing?
Lean marketing is about installing a continuous improvement methodology to your sales and marketing process. It‘s about constantly improving every step up the way. In the smaller scheme of things it is about improving a launch, an advertising campaign and even a sales call. However, in the bigger scheme of things it is about building a structure that creates a learning organization based on an ever?increasing knowledge of what the customer values.
The Lean practice of PDCA is ideal for learning and creating knowledge activities. Following this process it allows individuals and teams to recognize and take advantage of opportunities, make decisions faster, and be more responsive to customers. As part of the PDCA cycle you get feedback on the action from listening to customers and the companies’ measurement systems. Having information, taking informed action and getting feedback is part of the natural PDCA cycle. And effectiveness comes from using and taking advantage of all your resources.
What is the roll of the technologies in Lean Marketing?
The new wave of marketing has seen an entirely new set of tools being used with the components of social media leading the way. No longer do we trust print media, radio, television and other forms of traditional media. The tools have all become a commodity. Why? What has happened is that we have innovated many of the same push marketing practices into today‘s nomenclature. Not really changing much except for the tools. Lean Sales and Marketing is not dependent or divorced from the tools. The feedback mechanisms and social media practices of today is what has finally allowed Lean to be applied to the Sales and Marketing arena.
Which are the benefits for a company adopting Lean Marketing?
Why won’t Lean commit to the Demand Chain the way it committed to the Supply chain? I have been addressed this issue in blog posts (Can Service Design increase Customer demand? and Is Lean and Six Sigma a waste of time?) and in many discussion groups and have found it baffling to me that most Lean practitioners resist this thought and either ignore it or try to tie sales and marketing to internal improvements. You would think most practitioners would be eager to apply their skills and Lean to the demand side. Unleashing the power of continuous improvement to the field of sales and marketing should not frighten anyone, it should inspire them. Addressing the demand side of the equation is the single most important improvement effort and game changer that can take place at a company today.
How Lean Marketing is received by the companies and which are the main barriers in order to be adopted and how we can to overcome it?
It stems back from the fundamental way that continuous improvement and quality has been developed. It has developed from the field of engineering which is laden with logical, step by step thinking processes. We find a problem define the solution and so on. It has worked very well on the supply chain side but the demand side is anything but logical and seldom follows any pattern. Value Stream Mapping on the demand side may identify numerous waste opportunities but which one would you remove? Why should 50% of your marketing fail? is not folklore, rather for most a true statement. It just does not match up to the logical thinker. Getting out of the office and interacting in the way your customer uses the product is foreign to most companies but is the predominate thought in Lean Sales and Marketing.
Why do you believe that Lean can be the future of marketing?
The ever increasing platforms of co?producing, open?innovation, co?creation is moving innovation from an exclusive internal platform to a more external platform. True innovation is not happening inside the 4 walls of an organization but out in the customers’ playground. As Voice of Customer tools get more sophisticated, we are not reacting and thinking of the next step needed to delight our customers, we are allowing them to show us the way. Organizations may lead in “design” but in use it is the customer and in use is where the value is derived. Marketing is no longer just about getting the message out. It is about bringing the message in. The Lean model builds a bridge for better communication and collaboration between your organization and the customer.
If you want to share any specific thoughts, you can do it right here completely free. Final thoughts, etc.
Many would argue the Lean is about incremental improvement. It does not allow for breakthrough thinking. I agree that SDCA and PDCA and even the continuous mindset may not deliver breakthrough thinking. However, like most things you start one step at a time. The culture of Innovation starts with culture of continuous improvement. To start with breakthrough thinking is very difficult and typically not successful. You cannot just turn it on. So starting with PDCA and a continuous improvement is the only successful way, to create this “i (little i) culture.
Ramping it up and truly doing breakthrough thinking, the big ‘I” is when you must engage and understand your customer/market extremely well. I like to use the term EDCA learned from Graham Hill to designate the Explore aspect of Lean. I view it as more of Design Type thinking content that allows for that collaborative learning cycle with a customer. This is a link to my blog post on the tools of SDCA, PDCA, EDCA: http://business901.com/?p=8490.
Why Lean? Design and Innovation takes place outside the four walls and Lean can be the methodology of choice. It drives both the Little i and the Big I. The first and foremost reason is that it allows the 1st step for innovation. Lean is the primary driver for the little i DNA. As a result, it allows for that culture to spread and create the DNA for the BIG I. Without Lean and the little i, you may never start!
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