Go to the marketplace

A couple of weeks ago, the local chapter of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce organized an interesting breakfast meeting on Kaizen or Continuous Improvement led by Mr. Jayanth Murthy, Director of the Kaizen Institute – India, Africa and the Middle East.

A couple of strong points that resonated:

1. The higher you rise in the hierarchy chain, the more distant you go from the workplace – if you really want to understand what’s going on, go to the gemba or “real place”.
2. Eliminate waste – mura mudi and muda – or anything that overburdens, or hampers the system or does not add value. In fact before you add, subtract!

Kaizen is almost synonymous with Toyota. “These days, Toyota’s kaizen philosophy promotes constant improvement and the goal of total efficiency. For example, Toyota attempts to avoid holding excess inventory, which takes up space and can be lost. Instead, Toyota plants order exactly as much inventory as they need, and they time their orders so that products arrive exactly when the plants need them. The kaizen philosophy can be applied on a small scale as well. For example, while kaizen is known as one of the fundamental principles of Toyota’s business model, it can also be a fundamental principle of individual car ownership”, says the Curiosity.com website .

Now while all this makes sense in a traditional manufacturing environment – and Toyota is the best example of this – how does it relate to the services industry — especially the world of campaigns in content marketing?

I believe there are certainly a few lessons to be learned:

The first thing is: who is your audience? Have we tried to understand the buyer persona? What is the expectation? All too often I get mailers that are generic, lack focus and in a few cases don’t even fit my target segment. I rush to the unsubscribe button! There is much merit in understanding who the recipient of the mailer is, and making sure that you personalize the communication as sharply as possible. Go to the marketplace and listen to your audience!
The second thing is to really get to the point. All too often, campaign communication is not focused, direct and designed to elicit a response. I have a professional colleague, for instance, who sends out mailers which are very simply written – no frills and fancies but good meaty content – often supported by an infographic or presentation. Most often that not, one writes back because the content is so compelling and fact based.

Finally, it’s not a bad idea to refer to external resources to bolster your case. These resources could be your own or third party and reside either on your website or a public site. Give due credit where necessary and make sure you are not using copyright information but it’s always good to substantiate your information especially when it comes from a well-recognized market authority.

Good marketing campaigns must be run not just to fill up a slot in the calendar, but to get a suitable response. Have you come across any campaigns in your industry where the communication has been sharp and meaningful?