How MSMEs can use Lean Practices for Digital Marketing


Image from Freepik

The guy living in front of our house came over last night. He was an engineering student and wanted to discuss Harley bikes. He knew I had worked for Harley-Davidson, and I know a thing or two about super bikes.

During discussion, I took help with animated videos of engine — How a V-shape motor works, and why Harley has a sweet, unique motor sound?

An hour later, everyone in the digital world was trying to sell me bike accessories, engine oil, and offering deals on a second-hand bike. A local shop was offering bike cleaning and repair service (I just have to give them a key), even a college suggested that I enroll in an automobile engineering.

The digital eagles were hovering over my virtual home, waiting for me to open the wallet.

Unfortunately for them, they will never know that I don’t own a bike. It amused and annoyed me altogether, amused because — it misled them, and irritated because — I don’t know how to stop such digital ads at once. 

Every time I can’t click — I don’t want to see this ad.

I wonder does it benefits the sellers, MSMEs and E-commerce players with such an algorithm.

Are Google and Facebook fooling entrepreneurs by targeting audience who are not interested in giving money for their product or services?

For example, it only gives a seller the option to target people with demography and general fields, with a conversion rate of 1%. I am excluding exceptions who might get 10-20% conversions. There are few.

Such tools don’t have a way to focus on who would actually buy their product, and only track clicks to your website. Not the sales of the product.

Now, inability to track sales with clicks is rubbish; another strategy of hiding facts from people. Companies are developing cryptocurrencies. I can’t believe that facebook and google can’t track who is buying the products.

But, first let us see why a person likes or comments on e-advertisements — 

1) They are in a good mood, their better half, crush or partner has become approachable or appreciated them

2) They have just finished an assignment or a project and are satisfied with their success. They want to refresh their mind; they find splendid colors in your post with a topic they are interested in slightly.

3) They are browsing randomly in their spare time, and your post interests them.

4) Your post is what they yearned for.

5) They have nothing to do, so they love to give charity likes. 

6) They are sitting in a loo.

But does that mean they are going to purchase your product?

Hell NO!

Let us look at statistics of one of my social media ad. I was trying to sell my novel.

I checked the Amazon ranking of my book. The difference was nothing compared to the likes. The ad didn’t generate any sales, but post reactions were 2374 and other clicks were 68.

I dug into profiles of people who liked my posts. They were not even readers, at least I couldn’t guess with their profiles. Maybe they just liked the colors and liked my post.

The counter argument — digital marketing is all about funnels.

But the time we spend on funnels doesn't give proportionate results. And even during that time, such portals show ads of other sellers to distract us.

Do you know, Facebook and Instagram show you one ad after 3–5 posts from your social network? It is a big number. A huge distraction from our time.

Does that mean — 

Digital ads are a waste of time, or are they only the money making algorithm for Google, Facebook or Twitter?

The latter one is true for sure. However, it should not stop us from using these platforms for our benefit.

We should chalk out ways to get maximum output at the least cost. Yes, I am talking about digital efficiency or quick conversions of your marketing ads.

Wait, wait, am I referring to lean practices in online marketing? 

You got that right.

With my decade of experience in implementing lean practices in manufacturing industry, I can say that we can apply such tactics to any process with custom made rules.

Taking this inspiration, I define Lean Digital Practices as something that helps to get the maximum profit with optimal resources, without creating a digital waste.

Types of Resources 

  • Time spent to create the post
  • Money spent on digital tools to create the post
  • Money spent on Social Media portals for running the ads.
  • Money spent on digital influencers to promote your product.
  • Money spent on website domain charges, funneling, gift coupons, etc.

Types of Digital Waste

Any digital activity that is not a step towards generating sales is a digital waste. For example,

  • Likes and comments that don’t convert to sales.
  • Inventories of post lying up in drafts waiting for the right time.
  • Using funnels for products that don’t even need funneling.
  • Targeting people who don’t give a damn about your product.
  • Creating a digital community and not using it for selling your product
  • Posts that don’t link even distantly to your product.
  • Focused audience from inappropriate SEO

To understand the dynamics of maximum profits, we have to determine co-relation between resources, digital waste and sales or profits.

And like any other process, we cannot confirm improvement unless we measure data. 

How to Measure Data and Calculate Improvement

First step is to look for Input and Output Variables.

Input Variables: Reels, Posts, Google ads, interviews, and any other social media promotion of the product, SEO

Output Variables: Direct sell of the product, Followers, Email Subscribers

Now, to calculate, we will conduct a Design of Experiment, known as DoE in manufacturing industry. Simply, we will take one input variable, and one or two output variables at a time.

For Example — If you publish a reel, 

  • At that moment, don’t engage in another promotion activity 
  • Measure the performance and the generated digital waste.

Repeat this activity for all input variables one by one. Data will show you the highest contributor to sales, with a minimal digital waste. Eventually, it will help you take meaningful business decisions. 

This process needs continuous monitoring, and as proven for Manufacturing Industries, will help to sustain ever-competitive environment.

We can’t control the tech giants. But, digital marketing depends on their platforms. We can’t change their processes, but we can make our practices lean to make the most out of social portals. Adopt lean practices in your own way, and grow your small business.

Happy Selling.

Written as part of Blogchatter's campaign #ECommerceInnovation. Read more posts in the campaign here

Chetan Maheshwari

Hello, I am a Project Management Professional, and an author and a blogger by passion. I like good sarcasm and humor. Books, people around me, and nature inspire me, and my blogs and book reflect the same.


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