Lean Manufacturing & Lean Marketing: How to Increase Process Efficiency

Lean manufacturing marketing

Marketing programs can only truly succeed if they’re organized, consistent, and well-thought out. When you take into consideration the situation of the average manufacturing marketing team—which is typically understaffed, overworked, and fighting an uphill battle for company-wide adoption to digital marketing—this can be very difficult to achieve.

Luckily for manufacturing marketers, the solution to this problem is a philosophy that is baked into the manufacturing industry: lean operations. Though it typically applies to cutting waste on the production side of the company, using lean tools and concepts to reorganize your manufacturing marketing efforts will result in the same level of productivity and eliminated waste as a traditional lean manufacturing journey.

  1. Focus on a single priority at a time. A cardinal rule of marketing is; if you’re marketing to everyone, you’re marketing to no one. Pick a manufacturing marketing theme and a top priority for each quarter, then let the rest of your game plan support each of those.
  2. Keep an eye on daily progress with dashboards. Nearly every marketing tool and/or software application allows you to set up dashboards, which give you rapid updates on your most important metrics in a digestible way. Use these to your full advantage to track progress and catch minor issues before they become major issues.
  3. Close the gap between sales & marketing. So your manufacturing marketing team is working loads of overtime to get the company brand out there and bring back quality leads. But, your salespeople don’t seem to be following up. Or, maybe they’re not even aware of all of the leads marketing is acquiring. As marketers, we’ve all been there. The key to fixing this process divide and eliminating wasted time & effort on both sides is consistent communication between the sales and marketing teams.
  4. Simplify, simplify, simplify. It’s easy to feel like your marketing efforts should be everywhere, given the amount of options available to reach your audience. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon of every new social channel, conduct research to find out exactly where your audience lives online and exactly what messaging appeals to them. Then zero in on these tactics and keep updated.
  5. Find the hitch in your ‘supply chain’. Is it the fact that your manufacturing marketing team jumps from task to task before ever really finishing what was started? Is it the lack of a project management system to keep deadlines clear & team members accountable? Whether it’s big or small, identify the elements of your production process that are holding you back and rework them from the root of the problem.
  6. Take the time to calculate the ROI of your efforts. While ROI doesn’t always paint the full picture of the value of particular strategies, it is a useful way to standardize effectiveness and allows for easy comparison. Use this number to narrow on in where you should be spending the most time.
  7. Document results & repeat successful efforts. Doing this will allow you to avoid wasting time recreating the marketing wheel every time you sit down to forge a new game plan. After a few rounds of trial & error, you’ll end up with a repeatable marketing processes that you can apply to various efforts.

Take all of these lean marketing tactics back to your team and get ready to impress at the next company manufacturing marketing update.

If you’re interested in learning more about ways to apply lean manufacturing to your marketing efforts, read the Q4 issue of The MFG Standard, “Get in Shape for 2016: Your Lean Manufacturing Marketing Machine”.

Manufacturing Marketing

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