When most think of a marketing funnel or Marketing with PDCA, they tend to think of a stage by stage progression. I contend that the successful processes operate in a more spiral like progression. You would start with an identified product/market and some type of interaction from a prospect to identify them at the entry point of a cycle. As we go around the PDCA circle, we improve our knowledge relationship with the customer to a point that they either continue down the funnel in quicker and tighter iterations. If the increase in knowledge and collaboration does not take place then momentum is lost and the customer/prospect drops out of the existing funnel. Repeated use of PDCA makes it possible to improve the quality of the communication, the methodology itself, and the results.
Once set in motion, this process should be an ongoing one, allowing constant interactions between the parties involved. In a learning arena, individuals expand their own knowledge through a “knowledge spiral” (Osterloh and Wubker. 1999). This process has the
specific intention of fostering a collective vision among the participants. This vision can assist the development of new solutions for problems in specific subject areas – in this case, the ways in which we deal with the problems are customers are facing and are ability to adjust lo new goals and objectives.
During the first stage (Plan) of the PDCA Cycle, the participants interact to appraise the customer needs and information on the subject is made available lo all participants, who add it to their own knowledge and experience, and alter this in the light of the new information. During the Do Cycle second stage, the “influence stage”, participants make critical analysis of their own products/services in the light of the new knowledge they have acquired, This broadens their understanding of each others needs and abilities. The aim of this stage is to make individuals receptive to new ideas and action. This is maybe the most difficult stage because you have to be receptive to each others views and be willing to accept a fresh understanding to solve problems in a new way. The third stage (Check Stage) is the intimacy stage. An explanation or demonstration of participants’ new level of understanding is essential. The results that are produced actually can be used and adapted in for other situations. The fourth stage (Act) is the act of either continuing down the spiral to another iteration of tighter focus and a more intense cycle or deciding that moiré knowledge is required at this level. Many times it can be determined that at this time the proper fit for this particular value stream does not work for the participants.
Think of the Marketing Spiral as a continuous puzzle of interactions building through PDCA the knowledge of each other – customer/supplier.