Lean Management and Marketing : can they work hand in hand?

‘Lean’ is an approach that aims to optimize business performance by focusing on continuous improvement and eliminating waste in industrial environments. It is widely used in the automobile industry from a manufacturing standpoint, but we also talk about it in terms of marketing.

How does today’s marketing fit into Lean Management?

To understand better, let’s see how marketing can tackle the seven elements of waste in Lean Management. We consider marketing in this article as marketing on a large scale, including traditional, inbound or relational marketing through the use of, for example, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management).

– over production :

Inbound Marketing helps limit the overproduction of unnecessary physical business documents. Now prospects and customers can look for the information they need online, if companies and their content can be found. However it is clear that we are witnessing an overproduction of online content, which can be limited by content strategy.

– expectations:

The transversal aspect of marketing that can be realized through the use of a CRM solution (which affects the sales functions, marketing and customer service) allows to better manage customer expectations and to respond more effectively.

– transport :

Internet marketing allows a reduction of transport by providing information on company sites through social media.

– unnecessary steps:

A CRM enables to focus customers’ information in one place and make it easily accessible. It allows to remove unnecessary steps for clients and prospects.

– stocks :

I will illustrate the concept of stocks by the image of a sales pipeline. True, one can say that one of the goals of marketing is to fill the funnel with sales leads. However, the segmentation criteria that marketing takes into account allows not to unnecessarily overloaded with unqualified prospects.

– unnecessary movements:

The advent of social media and its use by companies to communicate with their target and the implementation of a CRM are examples which require a prior assessment of certain business processes (process of lead qualification for instance). Their optimization is to reduce unnecessary flow, whether physical or not.

 – Corrections / alterations:

The exploitation and analysis of customer data effects marketing leads to a more precise segmentation of the markets, in which the companies operate. This way, they are better aimed at their segments.

As you can see, marketing, especially with new technologies, naturally tends towards lean management. However, it should not be presented as a constraint. Increasingly powerful marketing tools (Google Analytics, CRM solutions integrated with sales automation tools,) become more and more accurate, but it is still a human science.

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