In the spirit of reducing costs, it’s a no-brainer to implement Lean or some form of continuous improvement within your company. We go to great lengths to reduce costs to enhance profits. We also want to help our customers. We are always striving to find ways to reduce manufacturing costs and to simplify assembly – long live DFM!
Have you ever considered how this directly applies to your sales and marketing efforts? Design for manufacturability is indeed one of the pillars of success, but what about design for marketability? That is, how can you design your sales and marketing processes so that everything about your company is marketable to your customers?
We always think about how engineering and design affect the cost and quality of manufactured parts. This is the essence of precision manufacturing and is where the value resides. Imagine how this same thinking can be applied to your sales and marketing processes. Imagine having an engineered system, if you will, whose specifications meet the needs of your prospects and customers. Similar to DFM, marketing systems need to be scrutinized and revised as new technologies become available. The parallels between Design For Manufacturability and Design For Marketability are striking.
As automation becomes available, such as robotics, product design can change due to new tolerances required by the equipment.
As marketing automation becomes available, marketing design can change due to frequency and appropriateness of email marketing, trade show promotion or search-able content.
As new materials and processes become available, such as 3-D printing, product design can change due to the strength of plastic resins.
As new technologies for finding prospect and customer data become available, marketing design can change with respect to the relevancy of industry events, new product offerings or new research.
Technology is not a silver bullet.
As with a lot of technology, marketing technology (Mar-Tech) has made our lives much better. The promise of being able to do more with less is the mantra of software developers and digital marketing agencies everywhere. On the other hand, there are some critical trade-offs to be considered when designing your company for marketability. Similar to the workflow in production, you need to decide what work could be automated using a robot, which work needs to be done by a machine with a skilled operator, which work needs to be done with hand tools, and which work needs to be done entirely by hand. Although I cringe when thinking about collating booklets by hand back in my offset printing days, the quantity and quality required for the job did not warrant a fully automated collating machine. Finding the right blend of high tech and low tech is an imperative for all manufacturers.
The right blend.
You would not be in business if you were one to spend money on the latest and greatest software and other technologies. Even tried and true ERP systems leave a lot to be desired when it comes to production workflow, quoting accuracy and inventory. However, racing out to buy the latest upgrade may not be worth the trouble. Like any system, all ERP systems need a dose of human tender loving care to maintain its accuracy and integrity. So, too, are the requirements of a well-designed marketing system. In some cases, the best piece of marketing material is a handwritten note tucked inside an envelope and sent via pony express. Finding the right blend of high tech and low tech is critical to your marketing success. Obviously, at one end of the spectrum, it would be foolhardy to forgo the use of email and a website to market and promote your business. On the other hand, automating your email blasts can often have the undesirable effect of filling up your customers’ inbox with noise and fluff. The key to success is to design a system that takes advantage of technology where it makes sense and augments the system with varying degrees of low tech and human tender loving care. This will ultimately lead to a system with Design for Marketability in mind.