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Theory Of Constraints Marketing 

 May 24, 2010

By  Gavriel Shaw

If total control of professional marketing management is important to you…

…this article on theory of constraints marketing will send you head first through the rabbit hole into the wonderland of iron-grip strategic marketing control.

In fact, this just might be the greatest secret in the marketing industry.

I stumbled across this only because of my fascination of systems thinking, logic, and mind-mapping (although this is not about mind-mapping).

It’s about the discipline called Theory of Constraints…

A highly streamline methodology of plotting out precisely what gaps, opportunities, constraints, and routes there are to improve the performance of a system.

Unfortunately it has been ‘stolen’ by the geeky engineers and manufacturing systems such as Lead Management, Six Sigma, etc.

But I believe, as did Peter Drucker, that business has 2 ‘basic’ functions.

“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two — and only two — basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”

I can only dream of any global enterprise organizations that are maximising their use of the Theory of Constraints (TOC) thinking tools to tie together all aspects of BPM (business process management / mapping), and then put forward as ultimate priorities those 2 functions espoused by Drucker: Innovation and Marketing.

What makes Theory of Constraints Marketing so special?

Well unfortunately it’s kinda like that bit in The Matrix when Morpheus says to Neo “no one can be told, you have to see it for yourself”.

To get you started, my brief intro to TOC is as follows:

  1. Identify the constraints in the system
  2. Elevate the constraint (meaning, improve the area that is constrained so it is no longer the constraint)
  3. Rinse and repeat

Doesn’t seem earth shatteringly brilliant does it?

But the devil’s magic is in the details…

And that is what you need to discover for yourself.

I personally use TOC thinking tool diagrams for many projects, including the Current Reality Tree, Future Reality Tree, Evaporating Cloud, Transitions Tree, and Pre-requisites Tree.

You can see examples throughout my site by browsing through the main sections navigation.

You can read other posts I’ve written on TOC via my TOC tag page.

And whilst your progress with learning TOC may be a little slow, awareness of this system should act as a splinter in your mind forever forwards until you learn to fully apply the great leverage available to you in marketing, innovation and business management, through the breakthrough discovery of this brilliant approach.

Gavriel Shaw


Gavriel has product and marketing expertise from a variety of roles, including CMO, Head of Growth, Head of Marketing, eCommerce Director, Web Marketing Director, Product Marketing Manager, and Senior Copywriter in various sectors, both B2C and B2B.

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