QVC of Marketing Flow

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QVC is the leader in multi-channel retailing — a televised shopping service that broadcasts live retail programming 24 hours a day. It’s a vast virtual shopping center, offering a wide variety of products including jewelry, apparel, electronics, home furnishings, and beauty. They understand marketing flow.

I did a series of blog post this week on QVC:
Are you managing your Marketing Queue effectively?
Your Customer never experiences averages
What you can Learn from the Military on Cadence

However when I talk about QVC I am talking about Queues, Variances and Cadence. I think many people when they consider marketing flow think that we are always trying to speed up the process. The secret is to speed up the entire process which means you may slow certain parts down.

I think QVC (the real QVC) does an excellent job of this. Take time out to review one of their product segments. Notice how they handle their flow. Take note of the cadence as they start out very slowly explaining the product and building the story. There is no rush. If you stay with the show, the cadence will increase and when you go into the queue they leave you with something to think about but also give you a reason to return after the break. They also have little variance as each hour is themed and scheduled well in advance and very well marked so that shipping is well understood.

The lesson that needs to be taken away from this is that your marketing process does need to be scripted and planned. You script is your Value Stream Marketing Process and the way to I go out about building one would look like something like this:

  1. Script (post-it-notes) all the present marketing activities, events, advertising, PR, blogs,  etc.
  2. Customer Identification by product/market groups defining CTQ’s if they can. (When we really do analysis, we find that these are usually different from the customer viewpoint).
  3. Taking product/market groups we break these down into swim lanes into defined marketing channels(distribution, direct, internet) trying not to get to big or small of a picture. The CTQ’s will assist in where to concentrate the most.
  4. Map the Customers buying process, the stages they go thru to make a decision. I use the Value Stream Marketing Concept(Involve, Influence, Interaction, Intimacy, Commit) but in real life, I use the steps that in this case the manufacturer gives me. These are the horizontal headings and the vertical heading are the channels.
  5. Create another swim lane and place the events and activities where they are most relative.
  6. Assign numbers to each stage: most importantly overall sales cycle times, customers/prospects nutrition or carryover rates to each stage, resources allocated and your marketing budget allocation.

Stepping back you have constructed what looks like a Kanban board which we now can start managing activities.  It seems a tad bit labor-some but what you will find is all these product/market groups and sale channels have redundancy. If you have performed your Value Analysis you will find the ones of significant and/or little importance. This is where experience comes in to know how far to divide and what to be concerned with. Most Value stream Mapping experts have a pretty good feel for this but they may even be a little indecisive when it comes to marketing channels. Picking out your most consistent Value Stream will allow you to experience the process and make decisions about the harder ones later.

The important thing to remember is not to divorce yourself from the market place in these steps. I find these steps are very similar to the Lean Accounting and Supply Chain  methods of mapping. However, both of them to easily give up on external customers and quickly develop internal control points.  Also, for a little more clarification of the Value Stream diagram the scrolls indicate a heighten cadence and maybe different content that is required.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.

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