Unique Six Sigma Marketing Methods
A unique Six Sigma marketing method was created for each of the three areas: strategic, tactical, and operational. The method to guide marketing's strategic work is called IDEA. The approach for tactical work is called UAPL. The method to direct marketing's operational work is called LMAD. Each method has a chapter devoted to it, detailing its unique combination of tools-tasks-deliverables.
The strategic marketing process environment has the following four distinct phases, known as the IDEA process for portfolio renewal and refresh:
- Identify markets, their segments, and the opportunities they offer.
- Define portfolio requirements and product portfolio architectural alternatives.
- Evaluate portfolio alternatives against competitive portfolios by offering.
- Activate ranked and resourced individual commercialization projects.
The tactical marketing process environment has the following four distinct phases, defined as the UAPL process for specific product and/or service commercialization projects:
- Understand the market opportunity and specific customer requirements translated into product (or service) requirements.
- Analyze customer preferences against the value proposition.
- Plan the linkage between the value chain process details (including marketing and sales) to successfully communicate and launch the product (or service) concept as defined in a maturing business case.
- Launch: Prepare the new product (or service) under a rigorously defined launch control plan.
The operational marketing process environment has the following four distinct phases. This process is called the LMAD process for managing the portfolio of launched products and/or services across the value chain:
- Launch the offering through its introductory period into the market according to the launch control plan of the prior process.
- Manage the offering in the steady-state marketing and sales processes.
- Adapt the marketing and sales tasks and tools as "noises" require change.
- Discontinue the offering with discipline to sustain brand loyalty.
Each of these processes features distinct phases in which sets of tasks are completed. Each task can be enabled by one or more tools, methods, or best practices that give high confidence that the marketing team will develop the right data to meet the task requirements for each phase of work. A Gate Review at the end of a phase is commonly used to assess the results and define potential risks (see Figure 1.4). Marketing executives and professionals find phase-gate reviews an important part of risk management and decision-making. In the post-launch environment, gates are replaced by key milestone reviews because you are in an ongoing process arena—unlike portfolio renewal or commercialization processes, which have a strictly defined end date.
Figure 1.4 The tools-tasks-deliverables-requirements linkage.
This book describes how Six Sigma works in the context of strategic, tactical, and operational marketing processes. It focuses on integrating marketing process structure, requirements, and deliverables (phases and gates for risk management), project management (for design and control of marketing task cycle time), and balanced sets of marketing tools, methods, and best practices.
Recall that if a marketing process is broken, incapable, or out of control, you should use one of the traditional Six Sigma approaches to improve or redesign it. This book assumes that the strategic, tactical, and operational marketing processes have been designed to function properly. This book answers the question of what to do and when to do it within structured marketing processes.
Marketing processes and their deliverables must be designed for efficiency, stability, and, most importantly, measurable results—hence the importance of Six Sigma. We will work within the IDEA, UAPL, and LMAD processes, applying their accompanying tool-task sets to create measurable deliverables that fulfill the gate requirements. You may choose to call your process phases by different names—that's fine. What you do and what you measure are what really matter.
Throughout this book, the word "product" refers to a generic company "offering" and represents a tangible product and a services offering. This book discusses technology-based products frequently, because of marketing's interdependency with the technical community. In parallel, R&D, design, and production/services support engineering should use growth- and problem-prevention-oriented forms of Six Sigma in their phases and gates processes. The Six Sigma approach serves as a common language between the marketing and technical disciplines. The term "solutions" usually involves both technology and services; thus, "product" and "service" encompass the scope of a given solution. Regardless of the offering, the Six Sigma approach we are outlining is the same and can be applied to either a tangible product or a service offering.