Why use A3 in Marketing

I know you are thinking A3 is your first choice of paper size. Saying to yourself, I can’t be changing paper size, and I am not going metric. However, what I am addressing is the Lean Tool of A3 reporting. I believe it is a perfect tool to summarize many of the marketing projects that you develop. Why use it? It is a formal process to document and report solutions in a storyboard fashion on a single sheet of paper. It actually takes a big piece of paper 11 x17 or (2) 8 1/2 x 11 sheets. The paper is laid out with the left side defining the problem and the right side proposing the solutions.

The benefits of A3 are :

  1. It helps define a standard for all to use.
  2. It provides a clear and concise method of reporting information.
  3. Method of operation is visible and accessible to all.
  4. It can promote communication, and team working.
  5. It leads to a reduction of waste.
  6. A continuous improvement activity.
  7. It creates an efficient working environment.

So what is so special?

  1. I think it has several qualities:
  2. It makes you think graphically.
  3. It forces you to make the story flow logically.
  4. It makes you condense words.


To go about laying the A3 Report out, I have included a diagram from Systems2win for you to use as a guideline. However, another format to follow for the A3’s can vary as long as your story line stays intact. The value comes from the thinking that goes into generating the A-3 reports (as Tim Berry says, “It’s the act of creating the plan that has value”, not conformance to a specific template. If you’re familiar with the Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control (DMAIC) process it can make a great story line for most problem solving A3’s. However, using the DMAIC process you can:

Define how a particular problem was identified and why it is a problem.

Measure the current state of the problem and how the problem was investigated and Analyze what solutions were considered.

Improve the plan for solving the problem and how the Control or follow-up will be done.

The reason I encourage using the A3 in the marketing process is it demonstrates and recaps the thoughts, efforts and actions that took place for a particular campaign, such as advertising or public relations or even a launch. This report can really highlight the value that marketing supplies. However, always remember that the A3 report is meant to tell a story.

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