Marketing with Lean

Using the Lean Startup Method for Product Branding 0

Author Laura Busche joined me for a conversation about startup branding. Her book is based on the Lean StartupTM  principles and is titled; Lean Branding (Lean (O’Reilly)). It is part Laura Buscheof the Lean Startup series of books by O’Reilly.

Lean Branding is a practical toolkit that helps you build your own robust, dynamic brands that generate conversion. You’ll find over 100 DIY branding tactics and inspiring case studies, and step-by-step instructions for building and measuring 25 essential brand strategy ingredients, from logo design to demo-day pitches, using The Lean Startup methodology’s Build-Measure-Learn loop.

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One Bit of Advice from Lean Branding Author 0

Tomorrow will be a special edition of the Business901 Podcast. Lean Branding (Lean (O’Reilly)) author Laura Busche joined me for a great conversation about startup branding. Her book is based on the Lean Startup Principles.  

An excerpt from the Podcast:

Joe: If you could give one bit of advice to someone about branding, what would it be? Lean Branding

Laura: A couple of bits of advice that are in the book, a couple of quotes that I’d like to highlight and that reflect this very solid advice that I would like to give to entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs that are trying to build their brands are, on one side we have this bit of advice, “People relate to people and if your brand feels like people, they’ll relate to you too.” The point behind that is that brands need to be humane and they need to react to people’s aspirations and they also need to build personalities that allow them to relate back to these people. So that’s sort of not very intuitive but once you start getting a hold of how other brands have done it which is something that the book does, you understand how important it is to be humane as a brand.

The second bit of advice which is also a quote from the book is that, “Successful brands have a compelling answer whenever consumers ask, what’s in it for me?” So the “What’s in it for me…” question is something that you need to address. It’s simple, if you want to write it down in front of you, if you want to write it on your walls, if you want to print it somewhere, that’s something you should do because this is the essential question behind your relationship with your buyers. It’s, “What’s in it for me…” and it’s something that the book highlights a lot. Whenever you’ve reached resonance which is what we call in branding, when your message is really being listened to by your consumer and understood, whenever that happens, it’s because you’ve provided a very good answer for their what’s in it for me question.

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Dan Jones on The Future of Lean 0

I ask Dan Jones,  “What is the future of Lean?” as part of the podcast/transcription: Dan Jones on Lean.  Dan is a management thought leader and advisor on applying lean, process thinking to every type of business across the world. He is the founding Chairman of the Lean Enterprise Academy in the UK, dedicated to pushing forward the frontiers of lean thinking and helping others with its implementation.

Dan Jones:  A lot of people want to pull Lean in the operational excellence box. And so OK, there’s a bunch of tools for operations folks, and I don’t have to worry about them. If I’m a senior manager, or if I’m in sales or if I’m somewhere else, I don’t have to really worry about them. Well, I think that’s not the true value of Lean at all. The future of Lean is about building a different way, building a management system to support the value creation process. We’ve done a lot of work thinking about what a Lean management system looks like in many different sectors. It is actually a different way of managing collaborative work, both within companies and between companies to create value for customers.

On the one hand, it’s about management. On the other hand, it’s also about rethinking and redesigning new ways of creating value that are now possible given technology, etc. On the other hand, envisioning the design of completely new processes and new business models that will in many cases replace the old ones.

What we’re doing is we’re at the moment still living in the legacy of the assets of mass production, the massive great hub airports, the huge massive central warehouses, the big superstores, the big district general hospitals and so on and so forth, the big postal sorting offices, the big back office headquarters or transaction processing facilities of the banks.

These are all legacies of mass production based upon routine operations and scale. What we’re doing now is designing a completely different business models that are not as asset intensive that are probably more technology intensive or IT intensive and I think open up a completely new ways.

We’re still living with those assets and until they’re depreciated or written off the new models struggle to survive. But I think it is happening. I just think in healthcare we are seeing the beginning of the end of the big district general hospital. I think in retailing we’re seeing the end of the big, big superstores as a way forward. Even Wal-Mart, along with Tesco and many others are now focusing on neighborhood stores, and they’re integrating those with home shopping.

Business models changes, I think, ultimately will come from our understanding or process view of the work, or how we organize the work to solve customers’ problems.

So I think those are two directions. I think the third direction is actually a learning dimension, which is that I think that we’re realizing that the quality movement, and certainly integrate into the Lean movement, taught us not only about the statistical analysis of variance but he taught us also about the value of PDCA ?? plan, do, check, act or some scientific method in solving problems, the closed loop of problem solving method.

I think there are people already beginning to start teaching that in schools, even in primary schools. I think teaching people a different way of thinking about how to solve problems is actually probably going to be one of the major lasting legacies of Lean.

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Communities Just Don’t Happen Mind Map 0

I have gotten out of the habit making as many mind maps as I once did. It is probably because the amount of books that I now have on Kindle. My current tendency is to highlight and make electronic notes in the book itself. It has replaced the post-it-notes inside the books on my bookshelf. However, I recently was reading The Adaptive School: A Sourcebook for Developing Collaborative Groups that I not only littered in post-it-notes but had an outstanding chapter on communities that I could have just highlighted the whole chapter. Instead, I made the following mind map.


Download PDF: Communities Just Don’t Happen

I had first found the book as a result of researching work by Bill Baker on the Seven Norms of Collaboration. These are a set of tools to create productive communication:

  1. Pausing
  2. Paraphrasing
  3. Probing for Specificity
  4. Putting ideas on the table
  5. Paying attention to self and others
  6. Presuming positive intentions
  7. Pursuing a balance between advocacy and inquiry

My first thoughts about both of these items; “What a great set of sales tools!” 

What are yours?

Update on Marketng with PDCA 0

Marketing with PDCA is about managing a value stream using PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act). Using the new SALES PDCA Framework throughout the marketing cycle will provide constant feedback from customers, and can only occur if they are part of the process. It is about creating value in your marketing that a customer needs to enable him to make a better decision.

Targeting that value proposition through the SALES PDCA methods described in this book will increase your ability to deliver quicker and more accurately than your competitor. It is a moving target and the principles of Lean and PDCA facilitate the journey to customer value.

This book also introduces the Kanban as a planning tool or, as I like to think about it, as an execution tool. Improving your marketing process does not have to constitute wholesale changes nor increased spending. Getting more customers into your Marketing Kanban may not solve anything at all. Improving what you do and increasing the speed that you do it can result in an increase in sales and a decrease in expenses.


Table of Contents

  1. Lean Marketing House
  2. Future of Marketing
  3. Marketing Funnels
  4. Cycles to Loops
  5. Knowledge Management
  6. PDCA
  7. Sales and Marketing Teams
  8. Kanban
  10. Marketing with PDCA Summary
  11. Marketing with PDCA Case Study
  12. Constancy of Purpose
  13. Marketing with Lean Program Series

SALES PDCA is the framework I use for the process that takes place in the customer groups. It is nothing more than a standard PDCA cycle except the SALES part of the framework is where the sales team gets its directions and coaching from the team coordinator and value stream manager. Within the actual PDCA stage the sales team is empowered to make their own choices and determine their own direction to accomplish the goals of that cycle. This framework is introduced in the Marketing with PDCA book.

The individual stages of the SALES – PDCA framework are as follows:

Select the initial problem perception
Analyze the current knowledge of the process
Locate the people who understand the process
Empower the team
Select the improvement that needs to take place
Plan the improvement that needs to take place and plan the change
Do it the new way, execute the plan.
Check the results of the plan to determine whether the plan worked.
Act on the results. If the plan worked, standardize the change. If it didn’t work, readjust and go through the cycle again.

Lean Sales and Marketing is built upon the philosophy that there has been a subtle shift to knowledge as the way to engage, develop and retain your customer base. The sales and marketing team must act as a vehicle to cultivate ideas not only within their four walls but more importantly from their customers and markets. If this is true, how do create new knowledge? How do we learn? Most studies show that we learn best by doing and by being forced to resolve our perspective with those of others who disagree with us. This means that you have to encourage contradictions and be willing to push the envelope with your customers.

This is a strange paradox. Disagreement with your customer can hardly be seen as a positive mechanism for sales and marketing. However, it is the embracement of this understanding that will move your sales and marketing efforts to a higher level of performance.

Can you disagree with a customer? Can you purposely cause tension? You must! You must move away from the comfort zone and create a healthy tension and instability in your sales and marketing process. The first step in doing this is that you must create an atmosphere of respect. The next step in the process is surprisingly easy but difficult to do. It is the process of reflection or in Japanese, hansei. There are three key components of hansei:

  1. Recognize that there is a problem – a gap between expectations and achievement – and be open to negative feedback.
  2. Voluntarily take responsibility and feel deep regret.
  3. Commit to a specific course of action to improve.

The first step, acknowledge that there is room for improvement is not that difficult. However, putting a number to it may be a different story. When we create a performance gap we identify 2 things, one where we are at now and where do we want to go. Of course we may not get there overnight but there will be limitations. You have to determine what is realistic to achieve. A simple but effective way of looking at it is, “From what to what by when”. The second step can simply be stated – don’t look for excuses. Take responsibility, feel a little humility and move forward. Without this, you will never fully release from the past and it may be much more difficult to bring fresh ideas to the table. This is your action plan to move forward. However, without step 2, you will seldom be passionate about step 3. It will just be another effort and ownership will be limited. Ownership cannot be done without an emotional attachment.

The steps of Respect first, Reflection second will drive the 3rd step of Kaizen or continuous improvement. This is the process and culture of PDCA in your marketing cycle. It is the embodiment of tension, a performance gap to send you off on a new path. This path acts as expanding spiral of co-creation of knowledge with your customer that will be truly valued. THE ABILITY TO SHARE AND CREATE KNOWLEDGE WITH YOUR CUSTOMER is the strongest marketing tool possible. Few companies will take this path. Few companies will take the time to develop the level of respect required. Even fewer will use Hansei and look at performance gaps releasing their own pre-determined reasons. Few will ever practice continuous improvement in sales and marketing.

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Lean Service Design Program Offer 0

Lean Service Design changes the way you think about business. No longer can companies focus their efforts on process improvements. Instead, they must engage the customer in use of their product/service rather than analyzing tasks for improvement. We no longer build and hope that there is a demand. We must create demand through the services that we offer and Lean Service Design is the enabler of this process. It changes our mindset of thinking about design at the end of the supply chain to make it look good and add a few appealing features.Lean Service Design Instead, it moves Design and the user themselves to co-create or co-produce the desired experience to the beginning of the supply chain.

Or, purchase the Lean Service Design Program!

Purchase the 130 page PDF for download, Lean Service Design

The umbrella of Lean offers Service Design a method of entry into a well-established market. Lean has been very successful in Services and Design through traditional practices. However, we must move away from these traditions and institute a wider scope of Design to Services. This download contains a 130-page PDF book, workbook with forms, PDFs and training videos.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1 – Lean (SDCA)
  • Chapter 2 – Service (PDCA)
  • Chapter 3 – Design (EDCA)
  • Chapter 4 – Trilogy

In addition, for a limited time, I have included 2 popular eBooks from the Marketing with Lean Series:

  1. Lean Engagement Team (More Info): The ability to share and create knowledge with your customer is the strongest marketing tool possible.
  2. CAP-Do (More Info): What makes CAP-Do so attractive is that it assumes we do not have the answers. It allows us to create a systematic way to address the problems (pain) or opportunities (gain) from the use of our products and services.

Or, purchase the Lean Service Design Program!

Purchase the 130 page PDF for download, Lean Service Design

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I will send you a Free PDF of The Lean Marketing House

A few reasons to consider the Lean Marketing House book:

  1. Is there a reason to use Lean in Sales and Marketing?
  2. Do you have to be practicing Lean in the rest of the company?
  3. Is Lean Marketing the same as Agile Marketing?
  4. How does A3 problem solving relate to Marketing?
  5. Why is Social Media so Lean?
  6. Can your company ever complete a Lean Transformation without Sales on board?
  7. What does Knowledge Creation have to do with Lean?
  8. Develop stronger partnerships with your customers?
  9. Provide a methodology to become more precise in your sales and marketing?
  10. Begin a continuous improvement program in your sales and marketing?

Book Description: When you first hear the terms Lean and Value Stream most of our minds think about manufacturing processes and waste. Putting the words marketing behind both of them is hardly creative. Whether Marketing meets Lean under this name or another it will be very close to the Lean methodologies develop in software primarily under the Agile connotation. This book is about bridging that gap. It may not bring all the pieces in place, but it is a starting point for creating true iterative marketing cycles based on not only Lean principles but more importantly Customer Value.

Or, purchase the Lean Service Design Program!

Purchase the 130 page PDF for download, Lean Service Design

Market towards Opportunity 0

Last week, I discussed My Current 7 Step Marketing Outline which lays out the outline for what I would call The Funnel of Opportunity.  As I said in that post:

In most sales and marketing schemes we like to build what we call a Sales Funnel or Marketing Funnel. In the service world, we have learned to create customer journey maps. Both serve the purpose of trying to manipulate a customer through this selective path to arrive at the ultimate goal that WE DESIRE FOR OUR CUSTOMER. I have discussed this before, but the biggest problem I see in this train of thought, outside of thinking that we can manipulate the customer, is that we narrow our customer base.

I went on to say in the post:

Why create funnels that narrow the opportunity to create a customer? Why would we market too many to find a few? I just struggle with that line of thinking. When we market this way, we reach beyond our capabilities to find prospects so that we can have that select few that buy. Not only is this expensive, but it does not always assure that we get the right prospects/customers buying. Why don’t we create Funnels of Opportunity for us as suppliers versus Funnels of Exclusion for buyers?

My podcast guest tomorrow, Craig Elias, author of Shift!: Harness The Trigger Events That Turn Prospects Into Customers, expressed a similar thought and how seldom it is used.

An Excerpt from the podcast: 

Joe Dager: I think that’s a great lesson to be learned. It’s a great way to take a look and it’s like you’ve started marketing towards an opportunity versus trying to market towards problems. Shift

Craig Elias: That is a big piece and here’s what I find interesting. I had really 3 big epiphanies in that summer of 2002. The first epiphany was I just got to find people that are unhappy and thinking of changing. When you call someone like that, they’ll say, “You know what, I’m thinking about changing. Why don’t you phone me back in December.” You phone him back in December, and it drives you crazy because they’ve already made a decision. When the next time someone hears “I’m thinking of changing” you need to know those are the perfect prospects. Right, if there’s a fit.

My first epiphany, the window of dissatisfaction, my second epiphany, these triggers or events, I call them trigger events that shift people from one buying mode to the next, but my third big epiphany was the fact the for the first time in 20 years, what I had done, instead of analyzing my losses like my bosses always said, “If you lose the business, you never lose the lesson”. You would conduct a lost sales analysis.

For the first time in 20 years, I did a WON sales analysis, W-O-N, analyzed the business I had won and then out of curiosity, I actually went to the internet to learn more about this process of analyzing your wins and I started with a generic search of sales analyses. Go to Google, type between quotes the two words “sales analysis.” The importance of the quotes is that’s a phrase, so the search results have to contain those two words together in that order. I found about a million pages on the internet. I said to myself, “Well, I’m not going to read a million pages.” So, how do I go, like how do I refine the search? I added the word lost to this phrase, “lost sales analysis.” I found 50,000 pages on the internet, and I said to myself, “I’m not going to read 50,000 pages. Why don’t I just replace the word Lost and add the word Won? So, now I’m looking for a phrase, Won Sales Analysis.” In the summer of 2002, I did that search. Do you want to guess how many pages on the internet talked about how to analyze your Wins, so you can repeat them?

Joe Dager: I would say under 10.

Craig Elias: Good answer. The answer was 2. I’m totally flabbergasted about it all the time and energy people spend analyzing sales. They talk about, look at all the stuff they lose, and they lose more than they win and try to guess or hope they can figure out how to win next time around. My epiphany was “Hey, forget the lost sales analysis. Let’s outsource that to somebody else. But as an entrepreneur, salesperson, whatever, I need to do my own Won sales analysis because that analysis turns on that selective perception and has you seeing that car, or all the customers are prospects that just had a similar event.

Joe Dager: People that listen to this podcast, will know you’re singing my tune. We’ve talked a lot on this podcast about appreciative inquiry, what we call SOAR. We are looking at strengths, opportunities, aspirations and results. It’s the way I frame sales. So, you’re beating to the right drum on this podcast, Craig.

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