Marketing with Lean

A Scrum Drawing for Lean Marketing 0

Before the podcast, Design Think Your Way to Sales with Régis Lemmens,at Sales Cubes, we had a discussion about applying Service Design Thinking, Scrum and Agile to sales and marketing. The conversation turned into a discussion about this drawing on my website.

Value Stream Marketing

It is reflective of a Scrum sprint. Scrum is an iterative, incremental framework for project management and agile software development. The sprint is typical a two to four week process with the large loop representing the overall process and the smaller (top) loop representing a twenty-four period and the daily scrum meeting. In the Value Stream Marketing Process, I use the loops to demonstrate a higher level of intimacy with a prospect. The top loop is for existing customers to nurture an even stronger relationship. Time is not part of the process loops.

The three separate areas of the diagram will have their own Kanban board, if there are separate teams working on them, or you could visualize each as a separate swim lane. Separating these three processes apart allow you to better identify the process steps and the tools needed to facilitate the value stream flow. And, of course, using a Kanban board for this process will help you identify where the process is not working or where the bottleneck is occurring. Below is how the conversation went.

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Layout for Hoshin Kanri Planning in Lean Sales and Marketing 0

If you have not listened to this podcast with Art Byrne, you should.

Podcast: Lean as your Business Model w Art Byrne Transcript: Lean as a Business Model

The Lean Turnaround: How Business Leaders Use Lean Principles to Create Value and Transform Their Company

Review layout for Hoshin Kanri Planning in implementing Lean in Sales and Marketing

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I believe an organization should evolve into Hoshin Kanri versus implementing it. As a result, I purposely left this section with the least amount of content. most Hoshin Kanri books are filled with literature about the tools such as SWOT, SOAR and the previous Lean Tools mentioned. They will also fill the pages with understanding strategy, vision, benchmarking and other management tools. My thoughts are that you should take The Path of Least Resistance. Most often your existing process is not all that broken and if you want to introduce change, you need to tweak around with it rather than jump headfirst. The success of the practice of SDCA and PDCA throughout the organization will ultimately determine your success in Hoshin Kanri. Few things can be done on a Macro level that were unsuccessful at the micro level.

David Anderson is a thought leader in managing effective technology development. He leads a consulting, training and publishing business at David J, Anderson & Associates. David may be best known for his book, Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business.

David takes an evolutionary approach to change. An excerpt from a podcast with David:

The whole Kanban thing really came about from the challenge of people resisting change. I was looking for ways of pinpointing root causes of problems. I found that introducing a full system where we’re limiting the work in progress, was a way of addressing quite commonly occurring problems. Problems with committing on something too early, making commitments where there was a great deal of uncertainty.

So under conditions of uncertainty, people were committing too early, and a Kanban system was a way of deferring commitment until much later, Lean people might say, “the last responsible moment.” And also controlling a lot of the variability in the flow of work through the limiting of work in progress, the understanding of different types of work and different classes of service and setting capacity allocations for those, controlling interruptions and disruption.

Eliminating the uncertainty and delaying commitment until later, the net result is much more predictable delivery. Those problems were commonly occurring, so implementing a Kanban system was like a point solution for an incremental improvement. And then, from that, we discovered that Kanban systems catalyze further changes. They provoke conversations about other problems, and we get this evolutionary change emerging.

Kanban has been a lot about perhaps not managing change but trying to avoid biting off too much change. And, in general, I’ve felt that there’s been a problem with organizations, executives particularly, the corporate magpies, they get excited about shiny objects, like new process solutions that promise a nirvana of projects, correctly prioritized and delivered on time, within a very reasonable budget and perhaps ever shrinking budgets.

They go after these exciting sounding results, often trying to achieve too much too soon, and their organization just doesn’t have a capability to absorb and manage all the change that they desire. They really want the outcome, but getting there is beyond their capability.

Podcast: Change is Best when it Evolves EBook: Transitions should Evolve not be Managed



What It Really Means To Be Customer Centric 0

Hooked On CustomersDo you meet the criteria that successful customer-centric companies set? In this podcast, we explore this term and find out what it really means to be Customer Centric.  Author Bob Thompson, an international authority on customer-centric business management who has researched and shaped leading industry trends since 1998. Bob is founder and CEO of CustomerThink Corporation which includes being editor-in-chief of, the world’s largest online community dedicated to helping business leaders develop and implement customer-centric business strategies.

Bob’s new book, Hooked On Customers: The Five Habits of Legendary Customer-Centric Companies takes a fresh look at customer-centric business management, exploring what Bob Thompson has identified as the five key organizational habits that enable any company to execute its business strategy more effectively and, ultimately, to outperform its competitors.


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Defining Waste in Services 0

The original seven wastes (Muda (Japanese term)) were defined by Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System. These wastes have been often been redefined to better fit new organizations, industries, or external pressures.

One redefinition of these wastes for service operations by Bicheno and Holweg (2009) is as follows:

1. Delay on the part of customers waiting for service, for delivery, in queues, for response, not arriving as promised. The customer’s time may seem free to the provider, but when she takes custom elsewhere the pain begins.

2. Duplication. Having to re-enter data, repeat details on forms, copy information across, answer queries from several sources within the same organization.

3. Unnecessary Movement. Queuing several times, lack of one-stop, poor ergonomics in the service encounter.

4. Unclear communication, and the wastes of seeking clarification, confusion over product or service use, wasting time finding a location that may result in misuse or duplication.

5. Incorrect inventory. Being out-of-stock, unable to get exactly what was required, substitute products or services.

6. An opportunity lost to retain or win customers, a failure to establish rapport, ignoring customers, unfriendliness, and rudeness.

7. Errors in the service transaction, product defects in the product-service bundle, lost or damaged goods.


Most people that are familiar with Lean understand the term “Muda,” which signifies waste. It has been popularized by the common use of the 5s, which is used to create a clean, ordered, and disciplined work environment. I want to discuss the other two M’s that are often overlooked and somewhat unknown except to true Lean practitioners. The two terms are Mura and Muri. Mura is usually translated as “inconsistency,” and Muri translates as “overburden.” These two terms may be significant factors preventing us from “Just being there.” Muri (overburden) could also be defined as “unreasonable” or “impossible.”

Using marketing for an example to explain Muri, many organizations are event driven. Being in the community where their customers exist may be a secondary function. They think that the better and more spectacular the event, the more they will get out of it. This thought process is getting difficult to pull off. The bar has not only be raised but in recent times, there seems to be fewer and fewer customers. Being there is a better alternative. I am not saying we should do away with the events; I am saying create events that your typical day-in and day-out customers will appreciate. Do not only try to get new customers; grow your business from your existing traffic.

The other term was Mura, translated as “inconsistency.” How consistent is your marketing? Does your e-zine go out regularly? Are you consistently sending out your direct mail or using other advertising? Do you have a consistent theme in your marketing that builds continuously on the last message? Are your online and offline presences integrated with each other so that a consistent message is used? I believe Mura may be the single biggest reason that marketing fails.

Looking at these two M’s, you can see how quickly your marketing can be improved. Simple tactics, such as using a tool like a process matrix, can provide a quick evaluation of your marketing efforts. Try this: Isolate the consistent from the true inconsistent. Establish a routine process to do routine things in a routine way. Just be there. You may still have exceptions; just realize they exist and process them accordingly.

Unlocking the Potential of Consumer Behavior 0

Eric-HoltzclawA serial entrepreneur having founded multiple start-up companies, including one of the first profitable Internet enterprises. Eric V. Holtzclaw is the Founder/CEO of Laddering Works, a marketing strategy firm.

He has spent 20+ years creating opportunity by identifying and capitalizing on emerging trends and disruptions to business. His professional experience includes: founding multiple successful start-up companies, including one of the first profitable Internet enterprises, and serving as the strategic lead in the implementation of dozens of products and services worldwide. His last company appeared on the Inc. 5000 list three years in a row.

In summary you could say Eric advises clients on the whys” of business:

  • Why customers buy,
  • Why teams work and
  • The all-important “entrepreneurial why”.

Eric’s new book is Laddering: Unlocking the Potential of Consumer Behavior.

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