The portfolio renewal process (discussed in Chapter 4 , "Six Sigma in the Strategic Marketing Process") has initiated a commercialization project of a product and/or service to get ready for the marketplace. The commercialization approach we propose provides a road map to integrate customer requirements and translate their input into internal, actionable language. This translation becomes the common language between marketing and the other supporting disciplines (including primarily the technical community, but also finance and field operations). The process gathers Voice of the Customer (VOC) input (using the customer's words) and converts it into an internally actionable language, regardless of discipline, without losing the original meaning. This process focuses on applying Six Sigma concepts to marketing's role throughout the commercialization process of readying an offering for the market itself. This process assumes that the many keys supporting marketing deliverables (such as marketing collaterals, advertising campaign, public relations plan, and training) from your current processes are integrated into this process. The objective is to suggest a Six Sigma foundation from which to improve marketing's ability to meet its commercialization goals and to customize its approach to meet specific business requirements.
Successful organizations manage the future; others are managed by the present and overwhelmed by the future. (From Design and Marketing of New Products by Urban and Hauser, ISBN 0-13-201567-6)
Markets change faster than marketing. The importance of speed and accuracy in product development escalates with increasing global competition. Increasing rates of change in technology, buyer preferences, channel leverage, and the regulatory environment dictate shorter product life cycles and increase financial pressure on sales growth, profits, and shareholder value. You have two choicesinnovate or harvest. Innovation is profitable, but it carries significant risk of failure. This chapter outlines a commercialization process for innovation with lower risk of failure for both products and services. Proven tools, process methodologies, and program management integrate learnings from best practices of organizations that enjoy consistent growth in sales, profits, and shareholder value.
Commercialization is an exciting time for a businessrepresenting its growth cycle. The portfolio renewal team has completed the latest cycle of their strategic work of architecting new elements to add to the product and/or services portfolio. They have ranked and prioritized a balanced and linked set of new ideas and market opportunities that have passed the IDEA Gate Reviews. The ideas and opportunities have been merged into candidate commercialization projects. Now it is time to activate a serial or parallel flow of new commercialization projects from the renewed offering portfolio architecture. Small companies, or a division, may activate one product or product family. Larger companies may activate a staggered series or parallel group of product commercialization projects. This "loading" of the offerings pipeline means it is time to convert preliminary ideas into numerous alternative product and/or services concepts as opportunities convert into precise requirements for each offering being commercialized. The goal is to launch the right product and/or service based on a credible set of requirements.
This tactical phase is initiated, and a commercialization team is formed. Ideally, a multifunctional team is constructed around a core of mainly marketing, design, and production professionals who will do the tactical work of commercializing the product, readying it for launch. As the development process approaches launch, additional disciplines, particularly representative operational professionals such as customer service and training, may join the commercialization team to smooth the transition from a tactical commercialization process to an operational process.
Commercialization of a professional services offering may require fewer disciplines to be represented on the multifunctional team, while the commercialization of a "solution" (combining technology and services) may require a broader array of disciples. Regardless of the offering being readied for launch, the Six Sigma approach is the same and can be applied to either a tangible product or a professional services offering. Throughout this book, the word "product" refers to a company's generic "offering" to the marketplace and represents both a tangible product and a services offering.
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