What is Lean Marketing?

Lean marketing is based on the book The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, which promotes the concept of iterative product design, development and launch. Startups need to identify their “minimum viable product” or MVP, and get it out into the market as quickly as possible, in order to start gathering feedback from customers as quickly as possible. Marketing can and should be managed in a similar fashion. Wherever reasonable, campaigns should be gotten out the door quickly, with minimum fuss. The days of perfectionism are numbered, since what truly matters is not how pretty the signs are, but how good the product market fit is. Take, for example, running an online ad campaign. Typically you would identify keywords, write some ad copy, create landing pages, and then go live. But creating landing pages can take a lot of time. Depending on how your Web site is run, you may need to work with an outside designer, and possibly even a Web developer. Would you rather wait the 1-2 weeks it could take to get the landing page up and running? Why not start with running some experimental ads, leading to the relevant product page on your Web site. During those two weeks you are working on the landing pages, you will gain invaluable feedback by analyzing the conversion of your ad copy, and your keywords. You can then use this information you’ve gained in creating better converting copy for your landing pages.

While it may seem strange to approach a marketing event like a trade show in a “lean” approach, since everything needs to be done in advance, there are still ways to treat a marketing event in experimental modes. For example you can use the event for gathering customer or prospect feedback. You can make changes during the event based on how people respond to your displays and pitch.

Lean Marketing is about being agile, about viewing each campaign or marketing activity as one step in the ever-improving progress towards customer acquisition and ultimately customer satisfaction.