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Lean Marketing
By Michelangelo Celli, President, The Cornucopia Group

Consider six sigma and other lean manufacturing concepts to bring more science to the problems of improving the sales process and measuring marketing

"And whenever a workman proposes an improvement, it should be the policy of the management to make a careful analysis of the new method, and if necessary conduct a series of experiments to determine accurately the relative merit of the new suggestion and of the old standard. And whenever the new method is found to be markedly superior to the old, it should be adopted as the standard for the whole establishment" (Frederick Winslow Taylor, Principles of Scientific Management, 1911).

Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, and Geoffrey Moore are wonderful thinkers in the field of marketing. The concepts and methods that they promote have done a lot to further marketing thinking while shaping strategic approaches that produce more effective outcomes for their followers. However, when it comes to the challenge of measuring marketing there is still a hole in the field of marketing waiting to be filled.

Taiichi Ohno the innovator of the Toyota Production System which is popularly known as Lean Manufacturing may not have ever considered himself one of the great minds of marketing. But I believe he would be interested to learn why. Lean manufacturing is a management philosophy aimed at eliminating waste from the production process. The philosophy has helped thousands of corporations around the world improve productivity in their manufacturing processes. However, today the growth of more companies is being constrained by their ability to plan, execute, and manage their sales process which is leaving capacity in production that has most businesses under $100 Million stalled.

It was Taiichi Ohno from Toyota that offered that the scheduling of work should not be driven by sales or production targets but by actual sales. When it comes to measuring and making the marketing operation more effective and efficient at driving actual sales, CEOs who want to win instead of waste should be looking to new applications of long standing lean manufacturing concepts and other process improvement methodologies like Six Sigma and the Theory of Constraints to help them win more control over their marketing operations and sales process.

The number one complaint from CEOs of companies who are trying to rapidly increase sales is that they can

Michelangelo Celli is President of The Cornucopia Group, where he works exclusively with CEOs of privately-held b2b companies that sell expensive products or services and whose sales depend on strong customer relationships to allow them to systematically develop more predictable outcomes from their marketing and sales efforts. To find out more, visit The Cornucopia Group Web site at

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