Does Lean Marketing deliver what the customer wants?

Customers do not want more choices. They just want what they want, period. And in an economy that there is less demand than supply, they can get it. Companies in response to this create more features, more options in their products or services. They will take the deep dive into segmenting their markets and through the use of technology may be reaching the ultimate goal of marketing to a single person. Marketing technology exists that allows us to customize mass mailings, e-zines, recordings and other media in an attempt to personalize each and every marketing effort.

Companies have embraced this marketing technology and without anything more than data can provide a very unique message. Their products and services are also provided under the disguise of tailored to your needs while just being a version of a core product line. You do not need to look any further than the universities. Their customized mailings to your children and the breadth of degrees they offer are just phenomenal. It is the manipulation of data that provides this ability and I venture to say does little in swaying a high school student to attend. I believe that decision is reached by the influencers in that person’s network.

This technology is important though. It allows us to capture information about clients in a non-offensive way and in a format that allows us to automate much of the information for distribution. From a product/service standpoint creating the different version of our core product allows us to extend our reach to a greater audience. Case closed?

If it is, we forgot about that influencer thing I mentioned. Trust is difficult to obtain from data. Trust comes from people. Knowing all the influencers and marketing certainly can help but quite unfeasible in most circumstances. The data you obtain must be used to facilitate a learning atmosphere between you and your customer/prospect. You must also be willing to share seats with the customer and leave him teach you versus you being the teacher. The more they teach you the more difficult it becomes for a competitor to take them away.

In the Marketing with PDCA cycles that are utilized in Lean Marketing, we create that collaborative environment where learning and knowledge creation takes place. In the landmark book, The Experience Economy , the authors built a pyramid of “The Progressions of Economic Value and Valuable Intelligence. You can think of your own product stages and how a customer/prospect looks at your product. Each level of economic value corresponds to a level of valuable intelligence (commodities to noise, goods to data, etc.). From the book:

While the economic offering becomes more and more intangible with each step up the next echelon, the value of the offering becomes more and more tangible. Economist often talk about the “line of intangibility” between goods and services – to which we add the line of memorability” before experiences and the “line of sustainability” before transformations. Goods and services remain outside of the individual, while experiences actually reach inside of the individual to the value of the offering.

They go on to say:

Nothing is more important, more abiding, or more wealth-creating than the wisdom required to transform customers. And nothing will command as high a price.

PDCA is looked at by most as a problem solving methodology. I think it is the core of a Lean Culture. In the beginning stages of developing a Lean Marketing program I distinguish the difference by using Marketing with A3 as the problem solving tool of choice. This enables me to distinguish the difference between the tool A3 and PDCA which is the knowledge creation culture that is the essence of Lean Marketing. The sharing, experience and interaction of knowledge with the customer created through PDCA is what the customer wants. He proves it by the value he assigns to it.

This is why I believe the Future of Marketing is Lean!

Related information:
Lean Thinking A3 Sales Call Sheet
Kill the Sales and Marketing Funnel
Lean Problem Solving approach
The Future of Marketing is Lean
Why Lean Marketing? Because it is the Future of Marketing

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