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PDCA: The 4 Steps of Effective Marketing

I recently finished reading, The 4 Disciplines of Execution. One aspect of their approach that resonated with me was the amount of case studies that showed the effectiveness of the PDCA (plan-do-check-act) cycle. While they used the terms, 'WIG' (Wildly Important Goal), 'Lead Measures', 'Scoreboard' and 'Cadence of Accountability', the concept is a refresh of PDCA from Quality 101. Credit needs to be given to W. Edwards Deming and Walter Shewart for developing and championing this model.

Effective marketing is no different than manufacturing or providing a service.

If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.

If you can't manage it, you can't improve it.

Plan

Every good plan starts with a SWOT analysis. Once you have identified your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, developing an effective marketing plan becomes much easier. Here is a FREE SWOT PowerPoint Template. If you need some more help on your content marketing strategy, check out this article from HubSpot. A Content Audit will allow you to determine what existing content you can use as part of your plan and what new content needs to be developed. 

Download the Content Audit Workbook

Do

In order to measure something, you must DO something. It is likely that you have identified key events/trends in your particular industry in the planning phase. Most companies find they need to create specific content for specific events/trends. It is very likely that you use production scheduling tools in your manufacturing process, so why not implement the same methodology for effective marketing? The Productivity Tools in HubSpot are immensely helpful for this. They allow you to manage projects and develop a content calendar. You might want to read this article from HubSpot for a step by step methodology to implement your plan.

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The PDCA cycle-- Plan, Do, Check, Act-- has no end. It is a continuous improvement cycle. You should always be evaluating your marketing for effectiveness.

 

 

Check

Did you meet your goal? Simple Question. Simple answer. Yes or No. 

We have found the use of SMART goals to be an effective tool in the PDCA. 

Specific- A clearly defined goal should be understandable in 1 sentence.

Measurable- Hard metrics and hard KPIs will keep you on track. For example, "We will improve X to Y."

Attainable- Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare. Setting attainable goals and consistently achieving them over time builds a solid foundation for future success. Unrealistic goals demoralize your team when they are not met.

Relevant- It is unlikely that having more  likes on Facebook will generate revenue. A more relevant goal may be visits to website from social media or form submissions.

Time-Bound- X to Y by Date. Keep it that simple.

You may want to download our FREE SMART Marketing Goal template.

 

 ACT

You missed your goal. That happens. Find out why. Make the necessary adjustments.

You met your goal. Great! Now capitalize on that success and begin planning your next goal.

Check out these resources on PDCA.

http://asq.org/learn-about-quality/project-planning-tools/overview/pdca-cycle.html 

http://www.balancedscorecard.org/BSC-Basics/Articles-Videos/The-Deming-Cycle

You can also visit our Marketing For Manufacturers page to learn more about applying Quality Tools in Marketing.

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Don't forget to check out our Marketing Strategy page for more tips.

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