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Lean Marketing: What Is Its Purpose And How To Apply It

Turning to Lean Marketing can be the best way to promote a brand, products, and services with the minimum costs.

Incidentally, this is the year companies increased investment in marketing after the long winter pandemic. 

According to a survey by Marketing Week, in the first quarter of 2022 alone, nearly a quarter of organizations decided to increase their budgets directed toward this area. Great, but are the managers of these brands doing this consciously?

The answer would be yes if everyone guided their decisions based on Lean precepts to conduct their marketing strategies.

What Is Lean Marketing

Lean Marketing is the approach by which managers use lean production concepts and practices to plan and execute their marketing actions.

As a Gartner study reveals, companies can spend up to 10% of their budgets on this crucial sector alone.

In this case, the question revolves around how much is spent, but mainly how it is finished.

Marketing is always an investment, and as such, it is expected to generate returns.

However, the return can only be maximized when the investment is well allocated.

At this point, the Lean philosophy can help find answers to apply the budget more wisely.

What Is Lean Marketing For?

Like other branches, such as Lean Construction and Lean Healthcare, the application of Lean in marketing has as its primary objective the optimization of resources.

This is done with intelligent marketing tools, emphasizing digital resources.

Data analysis gains even greater importance since it is through it that strategies are defined.

Following the example of companies that apply the Lean methodology in marketing, tests are also carried out to identify areas for improvement.

This is done, for example, when running A/B tests to optimize campaigns.

How Does Lean Marketing Work?

Just as Lean Manufacturing does not appear overnight in a company, it is necessary to respect the steps for its consolidation to implement Lean in marketing.

What is done is similar to more well-known practices.

The difference lies in introducing certain Lean concepts and approaches in each phase of strategic and operational planning for marketing.

Therefore, Lean Marketing is a form of “turbocharged” promotion to which some of the leading lean production tools and techniques are added.

Collaborative Briefing

The joint briefing is the first step in creating a marketing strategy according to Lean principles.

In it, the agency and client define a series of essential aspects to conduct future actions to generate more business opportunities.

This can be done by following a seven-step roadmap:

  • Review: stage in which the agency exposes what it has already done, what it has not done, and what it can do
  • Definition of key objectives: the goals to be achieved as a priority
  • Action scripting: strategically establishing where to go
  • Segmentation: mainly by building a buyer persona
  • Brainstorming: gathering ideas and everything that can be done to achieve the goals
  • Prioritization: definition of priority scales of actions
  • Action: final phase in which efforts are determined, and their deadlines stipulated.

Lean Planning

As detailed as the joint briefing is, it must be subjected to further revisions until a lean plan is reached.

This way, the action plan that emerges after the briefing is compared with what was done after that stage.

In other words: the marketing team analyzes the plan, adding more ideas and suggestions for improvement.

Once these solutions are approved, they are finally included in the planning, which is completed by determining the actions to be followed and the roles of each professional.

Results Analysis

In the same way that the industry analyzes its results to eliminate waste, it is essential to have periodic analyses of the results achieved in Lean Marketing.

Depending on what is found, investments can be reallocated, new priorities can be established, and even partnerships can be revised.

The analyzes are generally comparative; that is, in them, the latest results are evaluated positively or negatively, having as reference the results of similar past periods.

Or, in more technologically mature companies, these analyzes can be predictive, in which the reference is not what has passed but what is to come.

Continuous Improvement

This is where marketing comes closest to the Lean philosophy.

After all, one of its foundations is precisely the demand for a continuous process of improvement and improvement of practices, better known as Kaizen.

By implementing it in marketing, the company enables itself to innovate and makes it difficult for the competition to monitor it.

Therefore, Lean Marketing is an approach that aims to increase the efficiency of commercial efforts and anticipate the risks of a strategy being detected and copied by competitors.

How Do You Apply Lean Marketing In Your Company?

Implementing a new approach requires a significant mobilization of resources and, mainly, people.

Therefore, Lean Marketing can only flourish in companies where the organizational culture is receptive to change.

This requires leaders prepared to lead the process, not only to implement new solutions and tools but also to overcome pockets of resistance.


Lean production principles gave rise to Lean Marketing, which also drinks the source of the Lean Six Sigma methodology.

If you are a manager or work in this area, it is worth investing in training to achieve better results according to Lean practices.

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