Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Kaizen Marketing

Last time, I wrote about innovation as being the first half of what you could call Drucker's Prime Directive: "The function of a business is to innovate and then market that innovation."

Simply keeping your eyes open for new ideas -- however small -- and putting those ideas into practice is innovation made simple.

To illustrate, we looked at business breakthroughs that ran the gamut from brandy and the Slinky to Post-It Notes and Viagra. All began as odd, little incidents that were nurtured into huge successes.

And that nurturing -- continuous, goal-driven action -- is an essential element in innovation.

As Harvard economist Theodore Levitt wrote, "Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things."

Doing is everything. Because the best idea in the world won’t earn you a penny until you nurture and bring it to market.

Which leads to the second half of Drucker's Prime Directive: marketing.

First, here are a few thoughts to get your brain humming on marketing ...
  1. "Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large" - American Marketing Association's definition of marketing

  2. "Marketing is finding, getting, and keeping customers" - Kevin Donlin

  3. "The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous." - Peter Drucker

  4. "A bad system will defeat a good person every time." - W. Edwards Deming
I love those last two insights from the "Killer Ds," Drucker and Deming.

You already know Peter Drucker as the father of modern management.

And you should know W. Edwards Deming as the father of modern quality.

A lot has been written about Drucker in business. So I won't add any more.

But what if you took the insights on systematic, continuous improvement from Deming -- insights which revolutionized Japanese industry -- and applied them to your marketing?

What would it mean for your business if your marketing not only made selling superfluous, but did so systematically?

Hint: It could mean everything.

Now. Continuous improvement is a polysyllabic mouthful. So let's use the shorter Japanese term for continuous improvement: Kaizen.

(Actually, the literal translation for "kaizen" is "change good" but forget that for now.)

This concept of "systematic, continuously improved marketing" -- or "Kaizen Marketing" -- is one I will develop and blog about extensively in the coming weeks.

For now, here's a preview of the principles underlying Kaizen Marketing ...
  1. Big change is hard and rarely lasts (think: yo-yo dieting). Small change is easier and lasts longer (think: walking 30 seconds more per day for 30 days).

  2. No marketing problem is too small to solve. Solving anything points you in the right direction. It gives you a push. And you may not stop at one problem ....

  3. You can make 250 improvements to your marketing every year if you make just one per day, Mon.-Fri., over 50 weeks. More if you add Saturday mornings.
Does any of this sound trivial?


One of the main attractions of kaizen is that it uses small, trivial steps to produce big gains.

Besides, how many improvements did you make in your marketing last year? 25? 50? 250? And how do you know? Kaizen Marketing will give you a written record of your improvements. Because you can't improve what you don't measure.

Again, this is a sample of the principles behind "Kaizen Marketing." It's a flexible framework that pulls the best ideas from manufacturing, sales, leadership -- even sports -- into a powerful philosophy that drives your business forward, one small, inexorable step at a time.

Speaking of sports, I will close with a thought from one of America's greatest coaches, John Wooden:

When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. When you improve conditioning a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in conditioning. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don't look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That's the only way it happens -- and when it happens, it lasts.
Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

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