LEAN MARKETING, IT’S TIME TO LEAVE THE BUILDING
How often do we find that too many businesses, especially start-ups are stuck in a slow process of planning, approving, strategizing and then launching a new product only to realise their customers actually wanted a different set of features from the product, or didn’t think even half of the current features were important. Marketing too faces similar pitfalls. To minimize this market uncertainty Eric Ries introduced the concept of Lean Marketing in his book called ‘The Lean Startup’. The book promotes the concept of iterative product design, development and launch. It encourages experimentation over strategizing in the process of developing a more efficient marketing strategy. According to Ries, startups need to identify their “minimum viable product” or MVP, and get it out into the market as quickly as possible, in order to start gathering feedback from customers as quickly as possible.
When it comes to marketing, it should also be managed in a similar fashion. Campaigns should hit the market quickly. Lean Marketing is all about being agile and always improving your marketing technique to acquire and then satisfy customers’ needs.
To apply this model to your marketing plan, you have to keep three important guidelines in mind – again the prime objective being to get your untested marketing campaigns out the door as quickly as possible, which means that instead of taking months to research and plan, lean marketing encourages businesses to test untested assumptions in the marketplace. Stop using power point, go outside your building and test, test, test. Ask a marketing expert and he will tell you that most marketing strategies fail. So you make an unfavourable gamble if you invest your marketing budget into a lot of planning and strategizing. Therefore, instead of developing complicated strategies and investing your marketing budget in one or two spurts, it is wiser to break it down and test a variety of ideas, while adapting along the way. This brings us to the second guideline, which completely busts the age-old myth that marketing is typically one-way communication. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Always have a plan to leverage your customers’ feedback, it could be the difference between making money and burning it. This is why it is important to test your marketing approach in small batches, so that after testing out a couple of things you now also have a channel to collect your customers’ feedback. Once you know what your customers think about your initial ideas, you enter the third phase of lean marketing called agile development. It is the process of improving your marketing strategy in response to the feedback you receive from customers. By doing this, you can adjust and find the right marketing channels and messages that work best for your business.
“Lean marketing is a cycle that you keep repeating till you find the most efficient marketing strategy for your brand, which of course I think will keep changing over time. We have tried this with clients and although it may seem strange to implement marketing with a lean approach, since it is believed that everything needs to be planned in advance, I feel there are still ways to treat marketing in experimental modes – always remembering, once size doesn’t fit all”