In the previous two articles in this series, I explored how the concepts of Kaizen manufacturing and lean manufacturing can be applied to marketing. Lean marketing is a powerful tool that can help marketers become more agile and effective, and help you to make more efficient use of budgets. Now it’s time for some practical tips on how you can use them in your marketing strategy.
1. Measure everything
When trying to apply lean practices to your marketing, I can’t stress enough how important it is to measure everything you do. If you don’t, you won’t know what parts of a campaign you should keep and expand upon, and what to get rid of or improve.
It also provides proof that the marketing investments you make are contributing to your business’s overall goals.
2. Right message, right place, right time
Targeting the right people is key in lean marketing. When you use less resource to send messaging to people who aren’t interested, you’ll have more to spend on those who are actually listening.
You can use social listening to find out which channels people hang out on and what they’re interested in. You can see what content they interact with and the topics they’re discussing. There are plenty of tools available to help you automate the more labour-intensive processes.
Remember, even if a business or account fits your ideal customer profile, they won’t engage with you if they’re not actively looking to buy. The Propensity-to-Buy model helps you target accounts that not only fit your profile but are currently, or about to be, looking to buy. Your messaging will then be much more effective.
3. Start small
You needn’t blow your entire marketing budget in one go by jumping head first in to a full campaign. You can start small – perhaps using just a few marketing elements, or focusing on one account or industry segment – and then gradually build up the campaign by adding to the successful elements or expanding the campaign by targeting more people or companies.
Starting small has the added benefit of enabling you to get to market quicker.
Drop or adjust the parts that don’t work to help you to minimise waste. This will give you more resource to spend on the parts that work, making your marketing more effective.
4. Use social selling
If you’ve already used social listening to learn about your target accounts, you’ve already taken the first step to social selling. Social selling isn’t actually about selling. It acts as a mutually beneficial value exchange, and allows you to get your foot in the sales cycle sooner.
While it shouldn’t form your entire strategy, social selling fits the lean marketing methodology because it’s a relatively quick and low-cost way for ‘social champions’ within your organisation to build relationships with those making the decisions in your target accounts.
Plus, when your social champions share their knowledge and opinions, they’ll be seen as experts in their field, raising their public profile and turning them into thought leaders.
If you’re still not convinced that social media has a place in B2B marketing, read our case study on Software AG’s ‘Disrupt Club’ campaign and see how it drove a €multi-million pipeline of opportunities.
5. ABM, or data-driven marketing
There’s no type of marketing more in line with the concept of lean marketing than ABM or, as MOI MD, Matthew Stevens, calls it in his ABM blog post, data-driven marketing.
Data-driven marketing enables you to use data to target companies and accounts that are actually in the market to buy, with messaging that aligns closer to their needs and through channels that they’re actively using. You’ll be far less likely to be talking to a brick wall.
All the tips I’ve given you so far – Propensity-to-Buy, starting small, social selling – can be incorporated into a data-driven marketing strategy.
For an in-depth guide to ABM or data-driven marketing, read ‘ABM without the BS: A 5-step, foolproof guide to a successful strategy’. It’s written by MOI Client Strategy Director, Caroline Lotinga, and is based on her global ABM workshops.
6. Start small, think big
One of the great things about cutting waste and starting small is that you’ll be more agile, which gives you the time and space to test innovative new ideas. Apply the methodologies of start-up culture to your marketing and be quick to add the effective elements to your marketing plan and drop or improve those that don’t.
Again, it’s important to continually measure the effectiveness of everything you do. Otherwise, trying new ideas is a waste of time.
Need any more advice on implementing a lean marketing strategy, or have any of your own tips? Then get in touch and let’s chat.