Lean is about waste, not about growth

Let me try a more provocative title this week.

Many people have heard about lean, about manufacturing processes being optimised. When it comes to implementations beyond the shop floor in more transactional or commercial areas, people tend to have a more negative connotation. Certainly marketers…

How to scare away a marketer

The best way to send a marketer into a nervous breakdown is to propose to do a lean transformation of the key marketing processes. Lean’s focus on finding and cutting out waste, often in the form of costs, scares the hell out of some people. Marketers’ key trick these day is to stay away from words like ‘cost’ but refer to it as ‘marketing investment’. At least I used to do that 😉

Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash

Marketers need to get serious

As marketers will do everything to protect ‘their budget’, lean can be seen as a nemesis, threatening to take away their reason of existence. However, this is ridiculous for several reasons:

  • Marketers needs to realise that in many companies, they actually have a large chunk of the out-of-pocket operational expenses under their wings. In many situations, beyond manufacturing and logistics costs, free OPEX is around travel, marketing and people. With that, marketing has a direct impact on the bottom-line of a P&L and can make a significant difference. So let’s get serious. Spending 100k might be a small thing for marketers with multiple millions to spend, but it can also pay for one or more of your colleagues wages, and with that their mortgage and the wellbeing of their families. It’s not your budget, it’s the company’s budget. Or investment, if you will.
  • Marketing typically holds all the keys to the success of a company together with the sales teams. They need to realise that they are main drivers of growth and thus have a responsibility towards the rest of the organization. If they are not serious about their efforts (and their spend) they could be hurting the prospects of their peers.

And of course, to top it off. Lean is not only about waste and Lean is very much about growth. Lean is about taking a serious look at how you do things, how you can best serve your customers and create good and meaningful jobs for your teams.

Lean is first about cutting out waste because it doesn’t add any value, but second to make sure all the strength of a company, the brainpower, time and money can be directed at activities that really drive value.

The first steps is to actually acknowledge that and find where you add value. This is not to take down marketers or the marketing budget, it’s about creating a better marketing output to drive more bottom line and with that fuel the engine of growth further.

This is often referred to as the Marketing Flywheel, a marketer’s holy grail.

It is in reach with Lean, more than you think. It’s actually quite simple, not easy, but simple.

Still looking for your holy grail?

Lean business generation might be the thing for you!