Process improvement has rarely been a topic of discussion within marketing departments. We’ve all heard the comments that you couldn’t apply any techniques to something which has little data available, which is a good way to avoid the issue. Having spent close to twenty five years in marketing I can say that this function has many unmapped processes. The challenge is to understand them and use an approach best suited to an environment in which there is a perception of having less “hard data”.
This short article discusses and proposes the use of a process designed to help the marketing function link market product performance with that of the organization. Traditionally, improvements have centered on internal activities while outside activities close to customers have been left out (logistics being an exception). An opportunity therefore exists to reduce waste and improve company performance by using better product performance management processes.
I would argue that half of our economy is based on mature and declining products. In other words companies can wilfully decide to relegate some of their products into the declining stage and never retire them from their offering. This is a business decision based on rational analysis and insight, right? Well, for most companies that is not the case. I’ve worked with companies in which 70% of their SKU’s contributed less than 20% of their gross margins. They had accumulated decades of product numbers that were still available to customers. (to be continued)