Lean manufacturing was first pioneered by Toyota. Lean principles are now used in software, startups, and other areas. In every case, Lean delivers better performance.
Digital marketing today suffers from complexity as strategies, tactics, channels, and tools multiply. Lean Marketing is an important tool as the need for better marketing ROI becomes more urgent.
1. What is Lean and how is it related to digital marketing effectiveness?
The implementation of Lean in manufacturing typically delivers double digit increases in productivity and output with similar reductions in waste. Add the improvements up and you get a quantum jump in performance. Other industries applied these principles with impressive results.
What kind of improvements could you achieve if you used Lean principles with marketing processes?
Faster growth with more successful campaigns.
Higher productivity with campaigns developed and executed faster.
Applying lean to marketing is not a new idea. For example, Hubspot uses the process to improve their digital marketing effectiveness.
Lean for marketing does need new tools to help marketing teams adopt it easily. Here is a framework to get things started.
2. Lean Marketing Campaign Explained
The lean marketing campaign concept is, most simply, the application of the scientific method to drive market insight and discovery.
The key is to start with good ideas to test with empowered people. That’s where the Lean Marketing Campaign process comes in.
The goal of a lean campaign is to increase conversion velocity. We want to launch campaigns that connect with the target prospects more effectively.
The scrum is a process that allows a campaign team to self-manage, self-organize, and make changes quickly. The campaign needs to be executed by the team. They have to be empowered with decision making. Having to go outside for decisions will prevent the team achieving next key requirement – speed.
The campaign team is led by a campaign scrum master. The scrum master is not accountable for success of the campaign. The team is responsible for campaign success.. The scrum master’s role is to help the team:
- Agree on what can be completed in the sprint (see below)
- Maintain consensus, focus, and keep the scrum rules (See pigs and chickens)
- Remove obstacles and protect the team from outside distractions that could cause the sprint to fail
Time constraint (“Sprint”)
Each campaign needs to be somewhat unreasonably time constrained. This may mean breaking down larger projects into smaller parts.
To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.
The lean process effort uses “planning poker“. This process uses cards that each team member shows based on their estimate of the work. They use a 0 to 100 only in the Fibonacci sequence to prevent arguments over small increments. Over time, all the team members will learn what is possible in a sprint.
The scrum is all about keeping people accountable. Each team should commit publicly to other teams or even the company that they will accomplish their goals. They report back at the end of each sprint with their accomplishments, missed tasks, and results.
Daily stand up
A sprint is about completing tasks. The daily stand up is a quick progress check. It covers:
- what they did yesterday
- what they’re working on today
- what blockers (if any) they have
Minimum Viable Campaign
A Minimum Viable Campaign (MVC) has just enough reach and content to gather validated learning about the campaign and its continued development
The Task Sheet breaks down the tasks required to complete the Minimum Viable Campaign.
The Sprint Burn Down Chart is a daily progress chart for each sprint based on updates in the Task Sheet.
3. The 7 Stages of a Lean Marketing Campaign
Stage 1: Establish team and responsibilities
Tool: Team draft
Stage 2: Define attractive market that you can reach
Tool: Segment validator
Stage 3: Prioritize top problems through persona development
Tool: Persona model
Stage 4: Define potential solutions with user stories (backlog), prioritize, and time box
Tools: Campaign asset creator / Sprint backlog / Task list / Burndown sheet
User story Example: As a user, I want to x In order to y for z result.
Stage 5: Validate solution
Tool: Test model (Mimimum Viable Campaign) and success criteria
Stage 6: Execute integrated campaign
Tools: Campaign canvas / Sprint backlog / Campaign burndown sheet
Stage 7: Review results v goals
Let us know your thoughts on what you think is getting in the way of the adoption of the power of the lean framework by marketers.
Have you tried lean methods?
Have you improved your digital marketing effectiveness with lean?