5 steps to more effective marketing activities – Lean Marketing
Work on a new website extended, posts in the social media are not published regularly, marketing activities do not convert into results. Marketing gurus recommend further activities, suggesting to add people to the team or pat your shoulder and… Tell you what you have been doing wrong 😀 The solution? Lean Marketing!
In times when agile methods have taken over the IT world and Scrum starts to be used in various industries from recruitment to customer service, Lean and Agile Marketing is becoming more and more popular. They follow the same system of values and goals (e.g. simplified processes, working close to the recipient, focusing on supplying value). Today, I will present seven rules that originate from those philosophies and methods of work, and they will enable to increase effectiveness of your marketing activities.
The KISS rule (Keep It Simple, Stupid), seems to be… simple. Often, however, in the minds and souls of marketers, creativity prevails and wins with pragmatism and analytics. The first rule of lean methods is focusing your activities on elements that work and adding subsequent elements after testing them in quick iterations.
Step 1: goal and its measures
In order to choose activities that will bring real effects, it is worth to measure them first and assign a goal to each of them. It is worth drawing attention to combining data from various sources in order to calculate the ROI (Return on Investment) and/or ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend), and also the cost of acquiring a customer and long-term value for a customer coming from a given channel. Check metrics and data of each marketing channel and assess them in terms of their effectiveness for you. Depending on the size of your marketing team, choose the key channels and marketing activities that will translate directly into sales of your products or services. Specify the maximum number of channels, whose retention and development is a good idea. Monitor effectiveness of particular channels on an on-going basis. Develop channels that bring the best results.
Step 2. Experiment and measure
In each of your channels that you define as the key ones, regularly complete quick tests and experiments that you will close in a build-measure-learn loop. Test new forms, topics, methods – complete each test with conclusions and changes that result from the test.
Step 3. New channels
In marketing, the key thing is not to miss news that appear on the market. This is why you should do a review of trends and new tools regularly (e.g. once a month), and test select ones. Before you make a decision on changing a key channel or adding a new one, think about the purpose and measuring its results.
In the lean concept (specifically in the lean start-up method), there is a Minimum Viable Product. It is a product that contains the minimum value proposal for a user. MVP is created to test an idea, concept, channel, given method, etc. In marketing, the idea of creating simple landing pages is the most popular. Such pages are MVPs used for testing interest of customers in a new offer, special deal, etc.
The MVP concept may also be used in other areas of marketing or PR activities.
An example of MVP in PR
Instead of creating an article and distributing it in the press later, first, focus on creating its title and/or simple conspectus describing the value it will provide to readers of a given newspaper. Send it for editing. After the formula, date and appearance of the material is agreed, you can create it.
An example of MVP in marketing
Are you wondering whether to add a video case study section to your website? First, create a video and distribute it through channels that you already use, e.g. Facebook and LinkedIn. Indicate a measurable goal – implement it to your website only when the test material meets your assumptions.
Thirdly: don’t generate waste
Map marketing processes that are carried out in your team. Think what happens, step after step – it is best if you did that with actual examples of marketing activities, produced materials. Together with the team, organise a workshop and think which steps are important, which can be eliminated, automated or simplified without loss or with insignificant loss of value. Pay specific attention to the decision-making process as well as bottlenecks in the process.
For instance: Instead of engaging a graphic designer in preparing all graphic materials in software such as Canva.com, create graphic templates for the most popular types of materials, e.g. graphics for Facebook with specific theme, series, etc. Share the template with the entire team.
Here is one of the templates on canva.com that we have developed for our customers, the Airly start-up, for the duration of the employer branding campaign named #smogfighters.
In Lean, the “just in time” principle applies which states that work in progress and processes of excessive storage should be eliminated. How to use this in marketing? Do not overload your employees with tasks – arrange priorities for a given month / week / day with them, and discuss them during short meetings (e.g. weekly planning, daily stand-ups).
Define deadlines for particular marketing materials and do not assign new tasks if the previous ones have not been finished. If a given task features a blocker, either focus all strengths on eliminating it and completing the task, or send the task back to queue until the blocker no longer exists. Eliminate preparation of materials in advance – this causes a bigger number of adjustments, updates and changes.
Fifthly: close the process into iterations
Producing software in many IT companies works on the basis of fast iterations in line with the lean philosophy. What does that mean exactly? In weekly, biweekly or monthly sprints, specific goal should be focused on in order for it to be delivered. Divide the goals and tasks into smaller parts that can be achieved in a specific, shorter period. Each goal / task should be a small but closed whole.
For example: dedicate one day a week for preparing all materials for social media for a given month – if your industry is not dynamic – or several hours on one day to prepare materials for next week. Repeat this process regularly. In our team, we have short meetings on Thursday afternoon when we plan posts for next week. We summarise the previous week, analyse statistics, list topics that are important to be discussed next week (e.g. events, articles, etc.), we distribute topics to be covered in social media. Each person chooses one topic for one day and prepares complete materials by the end of Friday. This is repeated once a week.
1% improvement every day
Lean is based on on-going improvement of processes – all you need is 1% of improvement daily or weekly, and the results will pass your expectations. In marketing processes, you can safely use lean concepts. As the first step after reading this article, take one of the concepts described here and test it in your team. If it generates value, implement it.
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