Six Sigma Marketing Overview
In today’s business world, both large and small companies are trying to find solutions to be more cost effective, more efficient, and more innovating. One such solution is using a Lean Six Sigma Marketing. Let’s first look at what is the traditional approach to Lean Six Sigma, which would be the following DMEDI Six Sigma process:
- Define the problem or requirements.
- Measure the process and gather data associated with the problem or requirements.
- Explore the data to identify a cause and effect relationship between variables.
- Develop a new process so that the problem is eliminated and the new results meet the new requirements.
- Implement the new process under a control plan.
The first step in building a Lean Six Sigma marketing process is Define. We typically start with a customer by building his present marketing calendar with all his present materials and events. In many cases, after completing just the marketing calendar, the customer realizes how little of his process is actually tied together. Taking it a step further and discussing his marketing vision, target market and ideal customer, they realize the waste in their present marketing process.
Michael Collins, in the Manufacturer’s Guide to Business Marketing , talks about the four marketing myths:
Myth #1: More sales = More profits.
Myth #2: Any customer is a good customer.
Myth #3: Build a better mousetrap and the world ruled by. (doesn’t make sense – something missing?)
Myth #4: Macro markets are more profitable than niche markets.
Michael goes on to say, “It is extremely difficult for a company to design new products, advertise, provide appropriate customer services, or efficiently cover a sales territory if it can’t identify specific customers. And uncover their needs.”
It is extremely important during the defining days of the process to compose and describe the marketing vision, target market and ideal customer. These strategic steps are so often overlooked and under-utilized by small businesses. If these steps are done, and eventually improved upon in the Lean Six Sigma fashion, significant marketing dollars can be saved and used properly to grow the business. The one factor of Lean Marketing that should not be minimized during this process is the use of existing and non-existing customers in defining these terms.
Measure is the second step in building a Lean Six Sigma marketing process, which includes measuring the processes and gathering the data associated with the problem. A traditional form of measurement building is the checklist. However, checklists fail to provide much information since it is either completed or not completed. Scorecards are much better measurement devices. A true Six Sigma practice would include an integrated system of scorecards, which should identify not only what to measure and how well parameters satisfy the set of criteria, but also when to measure.
Many people believe just completing a marketing calendar is a marketing plan. To be more successful, people need a system for consistent and repeated contacts with their prospects, including a summary of one’s plan for continuous contact and education of prospects until they become clients. Simple sales forecasts and marketing expense budgets should be included, as well as what may be considered more important – key marketing metrics table and the gap dashboard. Just simply looking at any one of these and not all does not provide enough information to see a future trend, and this is what is so important. Going through such an exercise will allow you to see trending and define results, so you will know what to concentrate more time on to grow their business and what to concentrate less time on.
Exploring the data and identifying a cause and effect relationship between variables is the third step in building a Lean Six Sigma marketing process. The data needed to identify a cause and effect relationship between two variables can be simply put as Customer Needs and Your Solution. This being said, your product/service innovation must directly relate to solving the customer’s needs. Spending time understanding this market opportunity and applying it to the customer’s requirements is imperative. We must not forget to explore and evaluate these opportunities against our competitor’s offerings.
Once this is completed, we would translate the product offering into a Remarkable Story that must be customer centric and fit the organization’s processes and culture. In telling the story, we must commit to something that not only differentiates ourselves from our competition, but is powerful and has the ability to quickly communicate that message. We must also devise an offering at each stage of our sales funnel, which specifically describes the offering in detail so the conversion process can be flawless.
Can everyone in your organization tell your story? Does each and every person who is part of your sales funnel know what the specific offerings are throughout the entire process? Do they all know the next step?
The fourth step in building a Lean Six Sigma marketing process is develop, which means developing a new process, so problems are eliminated and the new results meet the new requirements. Our Lead Generation efforts is the essence of our marketing process. We take the strategies we have created (ideal client, target markets, remarkable story and how we are going to judge success [measurements]) and put them into a plan through our lead generation efforts. It used to the trio of Public Relations, Referral and Advertising, which includes categorizing all your efforts, events, ads and articles. But now your web presence is of equal importance. To be successful, you must have a measurement for everything and do not accept less. If it doesn’t work, justify it with data and stop doing it.
The fifth and final step in Lean Six Sigma Marketing is implementation. This step involves implementing the new process under a control plan. If you have a sound plan and have the discipline to follow it, implementing the process under a control plan should not be difficult. Why? Control means maintaining the process, keeping operations stable, predictable, and meeting the customer’s requirements. If it is not stable, you are unable to implement it. The purpose of control is very simple. Once the improvements have been made, you should make sure this new process does not revert back to old processes. Old habits die hard.
The most difficult part of this process occurred in earlier stages when establishing the objectives or goals. I believe these goals should not be result driven. You do want to have the end in mind, but you must have drivers along the way to see results in real-time. These drivers must be very customer centric. Remember, people do perform on the way they are measured. A simple method for implementation is to follow these four simple words: plan, do, check, act. You have the plan intact, do it, check it against your drivers, and then act upon the knowledge that you now have. This is called the PDCA cycle. Without adding this part into the implementation phase, you will only plan, act, plan, act, plan, act. This will result in little improvement and a return to the old habits to get the job done. Have the patience to do it right.
These steps, when followed routinely, make the customer’s experience pleasant and remarkable.
Value Stream Marketing
This webinar will discuss utilizing the Value Stream Marketing Concept and how to apply Lean Sigma Principles to your marketing process. I found using Lean techniques not only improves the process but offer a substantial cost savings.
You will receive the E-Book “The Lean Marketing House!”
Business901 introduces the Value Stream Marketing Concept as it is the first actionable step with the Lean Marketing House; we want our participants to learn how to utilize a Sales and Marketing Value Stream which is an entire different procedure than your typical Marketing Funnel. A few of the ideas are so radical from your present day thinking that we will ask you to try them only on your worst performing marketing segment. Joe Dager, a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Marketer will present these topics.
Dager says, “Marketing Segmentation is an integral part of the Lean Marketing House concept. Applying Lean and Theory of Constraints to this practice opens up a completely different understanding of the Marketing Funnel, so different that we had to call it something different. It opens up and simplifies it for many individuals and companies that have difficulty looking at marketing as a system. And as many of us know most marketing systems don’t work. We will take the Value Stream created and walk you through the theory and into practice. I have not found a quicker and easier method from converting a stagnate and non-systematic marketing effort into a flood of increased sales. Not only will this method increase sales but typically it will decrease your marketing cost in a relatively short period. The end result also includes a continuous improvement process to keep your marketing ahead of the competition.”
Implementing Value stream Marketing is a 60-minute webinar based specifically on addressing these issues:
- Lean Sigma Marketing Principles
- Creating a Current State Map
- Simplifying and removing waste in your marketing
- Segmenting your Customer Base
- Creating a Customer Centric Budget
- Creating the PDCA Cycle
- Determining your Constraint
- Why your Marketing will fail without this!
Reliable and Measurable Marketing!