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Kaizen Is Not Only for Manufacturing

Aug. 2, 2021
Marketing benefits from a continuous focus on small improvements. Find new ways to communicate, develop new audiences. The brand can be improved.

Marketing – the process of creating and managing marketing materials – often is a series of projects. Build a website. Make a brochure. Create a sales deck. Design a logo. Plan trade show attendance. Post on social media. Send holiday gifts to clients. Shoot a video.

But in marketing, the end of a project is the beginning of the kaizen process of brand building, to borrow the Japanese term for “continuous improvement.” Small improvements can always be made to make the next marketing project better than the last; or even, in our digital world, improve the current project in real-time. Often original marketing materials can be repurposed in fresh ways to take advantage of those improvements. New ways to get the word out about the company can be found. New audiences can be developed. The brand can be improved.

Although the work of marketing is often hired out by the hour to freelancers and agencies, having in-house marketing offers brand-building opportunities beyond the scope of a single project, campaign, or launch.

Marketers are adept at taking the measure of what can be improved and making those changes. Being a marketer, rather than a business development professional or “sales and marketing manager,” means concentrating on the singular act of brand building. The continuing focus of Marketing is on the 1,000 or so elements that make up the company's brand and how customers experience that brand.

Making those meaningful improvements need not be a budget-buster; it can be as simple as scheduling a few minutes each week to improve some aspect of the marketing plan currently in place:
Adjust the keywords on your digital ads;
Alternate the images on your digital ads
Add a picture to a website page or two;
Re-read your website copy as if you know nothing of the product or service and adjust;
Review your print ad to see if the “ask” is clear
Review your last successful email campaign to see if the material can be repurposed.

For a brand’s digital presence, the upside from small improvements is that the search engine optimization (SEO) of your website actually will be enhanced as those updates take effect. Clarifying language and focusing keywords on a page can yield improvements in web traffic, leading to improvements in leads or, even better, to lead conversion rates. That’s a good return on an investment of just a few minutes.

Regularly scheduling time for marketing improvements can yield even more substantial results. A video reel can be re-cut in as little as a few hours to focus the narrative or tighten brand story, or even recast into smaller byte-sized cuts for alternative digital uses. A case study can be re-written into a testimonial, revised to work as social media drops or a teaser paragraph on a website, or even to serve as the basis of an advertorial piece. Reviewing brochures and other collateral material with your sales team may highlight an overlooked need for additional sales information pieces, or a talking point that should be added to your website. Spending 30 minutes talking to your customer-service staff about common questions might yield the basis for an FAQ section on your website.

A further benefit of adopting the continuous-improvement mindset in marketing is that you can maximize your budget. Planning for improvement allows you to stretch a budget while creating a stable of marketing materials. That might look like doing a photoshoot and then using those visual materials to create a series of ads over an 18-24 month period. That might look like writing a case study one year with graphic support on the project, and then using a similar spend to place the case study as an advertorial the next year. That might look like taking advantage of an event to video-record multiple clients and then later crafting those into a few individual testimonials and/or brand compilation videos for several years. 

If you do not choose to improve continuously, you are choosing to fall behind steadily. In manufacturing, falling behind the curve is not something that will keep you in business. Whether in production or in the marketing suite, kaizen is how progress is made.

Alexandria Trusov is the Director of Marketing at Euthenia Manufacturing Group and a B2B marketing consultant to manufacturers and other B2B companies.  Contact her at [email protected] or visit

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