One purpose of Value Stream Marketing is to provide clarity to an individual or organizations marketing process. This gives you the ability to walk a prospect through the process, understanding where they are at in the process. Typically, I have a customer add the activities or in lean terms map the process he uses to gain a customer. It should mimic the path a customer makes in his decision process. However, don’t look at this as just a simple exercise for a small organization. I use this in larger organizations by just repeating this process for each sales channel they may have. The secret to this is that it really forces you to layout your marketing process and is really the beginning of development of transferring your marketing into a process.
The purpose in creating your Value Stream is to achieve better cooperation of the multiple phases. Each interlinking phase depends upon the other links. In each of them, you will have different capabilities, normal variation and a changing workload making it practically impossible to balance. (You will often find that the Value stream is dependent upon the cooperation of all phases and as a result it highlights the strength of your handoffs. I have often found that in many organizations the individual steps or phases of the value stream are quite good but the quality of the handoffs is where the problems occur).
Many organizations do not look at their sales and marketing process in a linear fashion, let alone segmenting it. When organizations first map out the process, they look at connections where people come from being all over the map such as the diagram to the right. They look at a simple linear process as an oversimplification of reality.
Not everybody goes through each step of the cycle. Some will skip from step one to step three. Someone may enter the cycle in step three. These interconnections are not trivial, it is what makes your process work and it also may be stopping it from working. So what is the purpose? The purpose of creating your Value Stream is very simple: Which is harder to manage, the above diagram or the next one? (The Post-it notes represent a tactic such as a webinar, newsletter, financing, sales calls, etc.)
Your flow system, your Value Stream will allow an organization to operate at maximum efficiency. The secret in creating such a linear flow is segmentation. Without it, you will continue to operate in less than an optimum manner. Keep segmenting your list, till you gain a linear flow. Yes, there may be a few exceptions.
This is a simplified version of how a Value Stream would look. As you can see the natural progression of the flow (Involve, Interaction, Influence… flow to the right), the enablers or information to move the process forward is provided above each step. Taking a group of current customers, you can identify this in your current process. If this seems difficult, make a certain group that you can segment and document the process. Many companies will find huge gaps in their processes, which are supported by other departments such as sales or service or maybe by repetitive marketing.
Creating a horizontal segment/swim lane for each of your marketing channels will allow you to not only create your value stream but also serve as a basis for your Marketing Kanban and execution of your marketing process.