More and more businesses are adopting lean marketing without even knowing it, simply by favouring efficient and proven online marketing methodologies over more costly outbound ones.


We take a closer look at three such companies based in Switzerland.

A Lean Marketing Refresher

Readers may be unfamiliar with the term ‘lean marketing’, but if you’ve ever been attracted to inbound marketing’s efficiency, speed of set up and potential for fast results, you’ll already be familiar with, and perhaps even an evangelist of, the lean approach.

The best way to describe lean marketing is by giving an example. In a recent blog post calledWhy SAP Chose Lean Business and How They Focused Their Marketing on Buyer Personas, we shed light on how SAP turned its business around by humanising, simplifying, and tightening its marketing model to one that focused on results rather than activities. This is one of the best and most thorough examples of a lean marketing case study we’ve published, so do head over and find out how the same principles can be applied to your own marketing activities.

Adoption of Lean Marketing in Switzerland

What about lean marketing here in Switzerland? As Managing Partner Stephan said in an editorial from October last year, “inbound marketing has been hugely successful in English-speaking markets and is gaining its first Swiss adopters. Proven to be 62% less expensive per new lead than traditional methods, it achieves a marketing-return-on-investment of 200% in its first year and is being successfully applied by tens of thousands of growing business worldwide” – read EDITORIAL: Lean Marketing Gets More Business Online.

Let’s further prove Stephan’s point by giving three shining examples of lean marketing here in Switzerland:

1. imCare AG – a Lean Marketing All-rounder

Swiss start-up imCare AG, developers of IAM-CARE Dementia, the first comprehensive Healthcare platform for dementia and Alzheimer’s, adopted a lean marketing approach from the very beginning.

In the case study for one one of our clients in the healthcare industry, we delve deeper into the company’s use of the core inbound elements – these included the prioritisation of all activities around a central buyer or customer persona; highly focused blogging to attract traffic through social media referrals and organic SEO traffic; a premium content ebook that gave a visit-to-lead conversion ratio of 41%; efficient workflows and email automation; and a well-run social media community, thanks to the aforementioned blogging activities and social syndication.

As with any true lean marketing approach, it’s the results that matter. To see how IAM-CARE benefited from  just three months of inbound marketing, read Case Study: IAM-CARE written by Versio2 Partner and Senior Consultant Clinton Hailey.

iac-social-media-trafficWebsite visits from social media growth month-on-month

2. Nestlé – Swiss Rulers of Social Media

One of the best applications of social media as a lean marketing tool is through effective community management and user engagement, of which Swiss multinational food and beverage giant Nestlé is clearly aware.

Nestlé posts Facebook updates every two or three days to a community of 5.2 million users, each one a potential brand evangelist. Thanks to strong content, such as videos (example below), informational landing pages, infographics and even the occasional internet meme, Nestlé regularly generates impressive likes, shares and comments.

What’s so lean about that? Well, fueled by strong content produced through broader online compaigns and other marketing efforts, social media can almost manage itself, making it incredibly efficient when set up correctly, and with the right sharing protocols in place. Community managers need only post links to content created elsewhere, and reply to comments posted by users, something which the Nestlé marketing team does conscientiously.

3. Novartis – Creative Content Marketing and Strong Customer Personas

Basel-based pharmaceutical multinational Novartis also makes good use of social media, but it’s the content that really shines through. Infographics are one such content type that is very lean, in that they can give results that easily justify the budget required to produce them, and in a short amount of time with multiple opportunities to maximise brand exposure across different marketing channels.

The following infographic not only garnered above average likes, shares and comments on the Novartis Facebook page, but was also pinned multiple times across Pinterest.

time2We recommend the use of client personas to help shape the overriding lean marketing strategy. By examining the content topics Novartis has addressed, it is clear the company has a number of well-defined target audiences.

For example, the video below caters to those who are interested in Novartis as a champion of sustainable development, particularly in medicine and other related fields. While the video alone isn’t lean, it is a component of a broader marketing campaign with lean characteristics. The video was originally posted to the Novartis YouTube channel, and embedded in an article in the main Novartis media room.

Lean Marketing is For Everyone!

While you may be thinking that Nestlé and Novartis have huge marketing budgets and can afford the creation of high-end content instruments, they still distributed them on social media channels that are entirely free. This lean approach to marketing communication is the same one that brought success for a start-up like iamCare AG. This just goes to show that lean is something accessible to businesses of any size.

To find out more about how lean marketing can benefit your company, download Lean Marketing – A Guide for Executives. In it, Managing Partner Stephan Burckhardt discusses various lean approaches, with a focus on the results rather than the activities. You can also download for free our other lean marketing themed ebook – Marketing Benchmarks from 7000+ Businesses – to see how lean marketing is helping a variety of companies in real terms.

Written by
"<?php the_author(); ?>"
Julien Renaud

Founding Partner - Julien molds client visions into well-defined digital solutions by applying the inbound marketing methodology. He started an online branding agency in 2005 working with several real estate companies and launching a large digital campaign for the City of New York.
Keep up with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.