Six Sigma can benefit your company

Applying Six Sigma to Marketing

Marketing professionals want to avoid suppressing creativity with tools and structure. Process-centric work may at first seem slow, routine, and burdensome. Moreover, marketing may think statistical analysis can dampen spontaneity and innovation. But our experience suggests that the opposite is true. The Six Sigma model described in this book plans for innovation and creativity to occur. If implemented correctly, a proven methodology averts rework (caused by mistakes), ensures completeness, and reinforces quality standards. A well-constructed method that requires improvement should plan for innovation and identify the appropriate participants. Moreover, Six Sigma can help tackle the new, the unique, and the difficult. The benefit of integrating Six Sigma into your marketing processes includes better information (management by fact) to make better decisions. Using the more robust approach reduces the uncertainty inherent in marketinga creative, dynamic discipline. Go-to-market...

Six Sigma Contributions to Project Management in Marketing Processes

A great deal of standard material is available to help marketing professionals generate a project plan. It is not our intent in this chapter to review the basics of the project management body of knowledge. Our goal is to demonstrate how a few value-adding elements from traditional Six Sigma tools help in the design and analysis of marketing cycle time. We want you to have high confidence that what you choose to do and how long you forecast that it will take are in alignment with management expectations. Clients tell us that another fallout of an environment that breeds incomplete data is that the talented people shy away from such projects. The experts opt out of projects that expect them to sell half-baked data at Gate Reviews because they find them unrewarding. Hence, less-experienced people staff these projects, thereby causing learning curve issues when producing complex deliverables. We have observed that under pressure, management tends to load teams to the hilt, even with...

Six Sigma in the Operational Marketing Process

The Six Sigma for Growth discipline can strengthen your current management approaches and provide tools to give your field management better information so that they can make better decisions. Although this chapter suggests a unique operational set of tools-tasks-deliverables to add to your current marketing and sales arsenal, these should supplement and bolster your current methods, tools, and best practices. While conducting the work required for meeting sales and market share objectives, it is easy to get caught up in a sea of unexpected variation. Plans are made, and then suddenly everything changes. Teams can go off-plan fast. With Six Sigma, this means that assignable causes of variation (noise) cause the marketing and sales processes to go out of control. This is one reason why some marketing and sales professionals may choose to restrain their investment in developing detailed launch plansthey know how quickly their plan has to change. It is tempting to react to whatever comes...

Future Trends in Six Sigma and Marketing Processes

As Lean and Six Sigma mature, we forecast that their impact on business will expand and deepen. Both Lean and Six Sigma can help marketing create a competitive advantage with better information and more proactive management of go-to-market resources and processes and to drive and sustain growth. As a result, we predict that the following business trends will unfold Six Sigma concepts will serve as the foundation for a universal marketing language. A greater investment will be made in applying its concepts and implementing specific tool-enabled marketing activities to produce more predictable, successful growth. A shift from DMAIC Six Sigma for problem-solving and cost control to a phase-gate approach aimed at problem prevention and investment in properly designed marketing work flows to enable growth projects. The benefits of applying Lean and Six Sigma to marketing make it worth the investment. Using the Lean and Six Sigma approaches gives decision-makers better information and helps...

Word About Six Sigma Tools Methods and Best Practices

Six Sigma tools, methods, and best practices are in order at the outset of this book. When we discuss the various flows of marketing tasks, we find many opportunities to add value to them with well-known, time-tested combinations from Six Sigma (DMAIC, as well as DFSS). The following list helps set the stage for aligning marketing work with the numerous value-adding tools, methods, and best practices from Six Sigma. Once again, the difference this book is illustrating is the proactive application of the tools, methods, and best practices to prevent problems during marketing work. Traditional tools, methods and best practices from DMAIC and Design for Six Sigma we will adaptively use

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.

What Is Six Sigma

The term Six Sigma has several meanings. At the most encompassing level, a corporation can define it as its philosophya way of thinking. By doing so, a company's management structure, employee roles, and operations are defined, in part, by this fact-based discipline. Or it can be defined as a method and tool setfor example, using the Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control (DMAIC) technique to make improvements and solve problems within an existing process . Or, at the simplest level, it can be defined as a specific statistical quantity, describing the number of defects produced due to variation in a product or process. Technically, Six Sigma is described as a data-driven approach to reduce defects in a process or cut costs in a process or product, as measured by six standard deviations between the mean and the nearest specification limit. Sigma (or a ) is the Greek letter used to describe variability, or standard deviation, such as defects per unit. Figure 1.1 shows a normal...

Why We Wrote This Book

Why did we write it To help take marketing professionals into the same kind of Six Sigma paradigm, work flow, measurement rigor, and lean process discipline that exists in the world of Design for Six Sigma (DFSS). Our first book, Design for Six Sigma in Technology and Product Development (Prentice Hall, 2003), has become a strong standard for research and development (R& D), product commercialization, and manufacturing support engineers. It is all about what to do and when to do it in the phases of technology development and product commercialization for engineering teams and their leaders. Every time we teach and mentor engineering teams on DFSS, they ask, Where are the marketing people Shouldn't they be here working with us as a team as we develop this new product The answer of course is always yes. So, a strong, new trend is occurring all over the world. It is a new form of collaborative innovation between those who practice DFSS and those who are beginning to practice Six Sigma...

Growth and Innovation

Performance against plan is how a business typically defines success. Businesses gauge success by a multitude of metricsrevenue, income, profit, customer satisfaction, market share, return on equity, return on assets, return on investments, and so on. Bottom-line, planned success means reaching and sustaining goals over timeusually growth goals. The challenge lies in determining the vital few results to focus on and the critical metrics that best monitor performance. The Fortune 500 list serves as another metric of success. Of the top 100 companies, 70 have been in the top 100 for five or more years. Interestingly, 63 of those 70 companies acknowledge implementing Six Sigma to some degree. Through further analysis, we have found that these same 44 Six Sigma users also reported on average 49 higher profits (compounded annually) and 2 higher Compounded Annual Growth Revenue (CAGR) than their peers. Notice how the profits outpaced the revenue growth for this group of companies. More than...

Figure 14 The toolstasksdeliverablesrequirements 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 resultshence the importance of Six Sigma. We will work within the IDEA, UAPL, and LMAD processes, applying...

Figure 23 Scorecard summary

Now let's explore the importance of project management. We suggest adding some Six Sigma tools to the traditional project management body of knowledge to better manage a project and its associated risk. Chapter 3 , Six Sigma-Enabled Project Management in Marketing Processes, features specific recommendations on how certain Six Sigma tools enhance project management.

Process Discipline in Portfolio Renewal

Tackling the job of adding process discipline and metrics to the functions within a portfolio renewal process is by far the most difficult task when integrating Six Sigma into the three marketing processes. Adding process metrics and discipline to marketing functions in any environment is not a trivial matter. It must be done carefully, taking into account the unique culture that exists in marketing organizations. It involves both art and science. You must pay attention to how marketing teams interact with other teams within adjacent business processesespecially research and development (R& D).

Design Process Discipline During Inbound Marketing

Many companies lack measurable process rigor in their portfolio renewal process. Time to market becomes an even tougher challenge for these firms. For example, in the automotive industry, . . . it used to take five years to design a new-model car today it takes two. Competing by customizing features and functions to the preferences of customers in smaller market niches is another fact of life, state Clayton Christensen and Michael Raynor in their book The Innovator's Solution . It is a tough environment in which to get alignment across organizational boundaries. This is particularly true of inbound marketing and R& D. A lot is at stake when structuring the company's future in the form of its product and technology portfolio architectures. If the respective portfolio architectures from marketing and R& D are incongruent, it is very hard to sustain growth. Oddly enough, the place where the largest risk lies, for developing strategic growth, is the very place where process...

Figure 47 The tooltaskdeliverablerequirement approach

The tool-task-deliverable approach is a common structure used throughout Six Sigma. The sequence represents a cumulative effect, wherein the tool supports the task, which leads to the production of a deliverable to fulfill a specific requirement. The preceding element supports its successor. As we detail the unique IDEA inbound marketing method to renew an offering portfolio, the following tools sections simply align the tools within a given phase. The suggested tools draw from the complete set of Six Sigma Lean tools readily available today no new tools are introduced. Because this book is an executive overview, individual tool descriptions and guidelines on how to use them fall outside the scope of this book. However, each Deliverables, Tasks, and Tools section includes a sample scorecard to show the hierarchical linkage of the tools-tasks-deliverables-requirements combination.

Table 43 Sample Identify Phase Tools Scorecard

The Six Sigma discipline is commonly associated with the design and application of a control plan once a process is established and known to be capable. This is a control plan for conducting strategic marketing functions in the portfolio renewal process. We often hear of control plans for

Figure 53 The Understand gate review

The following sections align the tools within each phase of the unique UAPL inbound marketing method to commercialize an offering. The suggested tools draw from the complete set of Six Sigma Lean tools readily available today no new tools are introduced. Because this book is an executive overview, individual tool descriptions and guidelines on how to use them fall outside the scope of this book. However, each Deliverables, Tasks, and Tools section contains a sample scorecard to show the hierarchical linkage of the tools-tasks-deliverables-requirements combination. In addition, it is important to mention that commercialization projects, like any Six Sigma project, may or may not use all the tools aligned within a given phase it depends on the project's context and complexity. Hence, it is important to understand how and when to use the tools to ensure that the right tool is used at the right time to answer the right question . Recall that the Six Sigma structure uses a phase-gate...

Clyde Skip M Creveling Editorial Advisor Product Development Systems Solutions

Six Sigma for Marketing Processes Creveling, Hambleton, and McCarthy Design for Six Sigma in Technology and Product Development Creveling, Slutsky, and Antis What Six Sigma has been and is becoming has stimulated an exciting, new body of knowledge. The old form of Six Sigma is all about finding and fixing problems using the ubiquitous DMAIC process. Cost savings and defect reduction are its goals. Financial returns from DMAIC projects occur at the bottom line of the financial ledger. Many would agree that the DMADV process was the next logical step in the evolution of Six Sigma methodologies when we need to design a new business process. The five step models have served us well, but it is time to look into the future. The new form of Six Sigma uses tools, methods and best practices which introduces an approach to efficiently produce growth results within your company's existing business processes. It is not focused on reactive problemsolving, but rather on prevention of problems...

Quick Review of Traditional DMAIC

The Classic Six Sigma Approach of Problem-Solving in a Steady-State Process or an Existing Product and Service The Traditional Six Sigma DMAIC Method Several books have been written on the traditional Six Sigma DMAIC method. However, to provide you with a complete overview of Six Sigma concepts that are suitable for marketing, this chapter provides a quick review of the DMAIC (pronounced duh-may-ick) method's tools, tasks, and deliverables. This approach is often called the process improvement methodology. It was designed to solve a problematic process or product and or service offering to regain control of its cost, quality, and or cycle time. Fixes often include defects or failures, excess steps, and deterioration. This method was designed to detect a problem with an existing steady-state process or offering .

Organizing cooperation among departments

For instance, when the General Electric Aircraft Engine Business Group found that its jet engine customers were not happy with the service component of what they offered. Thus the group initiated a CRM project (see also Chapter 3, Section 3.3) based on a thorough understanding of customers' genuine expectations. It showed that what customers expected most was to improve their productivity. After the results came back, the group made some major changes in its organization. First, it included new metrics based on customer requirements to traditional functional metrics. Second, it reorganized the sales, marketing, and product support groups around customer-facing processes rather than functions. Third, it assigned a corporate vice president to each of the top 50 customers, giving customers direct access to the top management of the Business Group. Fourth, the group put leaders of their six-sigma quality program on site with customers to provide training and work closely on engine-service...

Customer Defined Six Sigma Quality

Motorola achieved such remarkable leadership through an obsessive dedication to quality. In the early 1980s, Motorola launched an aggressive crusade to improve product quality, first by tenfold, then by a hundredfold. It set the unheard-of goal of 'six-sigma' quality. Six sigma is a statistical term that means 'six standard deviations from a statistical performance average'. This means that Motorola set out to slash product defects to fewer than 3.4 per million components manufactured - that is, 99.9997 per cent defect free. 'Six sigma' became Motorola's rallying cry. In 1988 Motorola received one of the first annual Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Awards recognizing 'pre-eminent quality leadership'. Meeting the six-sigma standard means that everyone in the organization must be dedicated to quality. Thus total quality has become an important part of Motorola's basic corporate culture. Motorola spends 120 million annually to educate employees about quality and it rewards people when...

Commercialization Phases and Gates Introduction to UAPL

This chapter examines the tactical commercialization process through the lens of a marketing professional focused simply on the support that Six Sigma can provide. Hence, the tools, tasks, and deliverables discussed in this chapter center on the Six Sigma components that a marketer employs in this tactical process. Marketing professionals perform many activities and produce (or manage the development of) multiple deliverables (such as marketing collaterals, advertising campaign, public relations plan, training) that are not reviewed in this book. The objective is to provide 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. Figure 5.1 shows the essential macro tasks for marketing during commercialization.

Tactical Marketing Process Commercialization

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...

Modeling Marketing Task Cycle Time Using Monte Carlo Simulations

As mentioned, four of the nine items are Six Sigma-based and go beyond traditional baseline project management methods. These four add incremental value in producing high-integrity project cycle time planning and results. Conducting a series of Monte Carlo Simulations on the designed critical path of tasks is a critical Six Sigma tool. The tool's importance justifies its own section consisting of eight key elements.

Manage Phase Tasks and Deliverables

This phase addresses how to determine when to react or be proactive to events to stay on plan. As mentioned in Chapter 5 , Six Sigma in the Tactical Marketing Process, a well-constructed plan identifies the critical parameters to monitor in a steady-state process. Such a plan also defines a set of contingencies, enabled by specific sets of tools, methods, and best practices, that determine when and how to respond to change or an off-plan trend. This contingencies plan identifies the countermeasures to assignable causes of variation that disrupt the steady-state plan for growth. Changes in economic, industry, or market environments may cause an adaptive response that should be unique to your business and your offering.

Deliverables Score Completion Requirements Red Yellow Green Accountable Date

The integrated system of tool, task, and gate deliverable scorecards provides a control plan for quantifying accrued risk in a traceable format that goes well beyond simple checklists. Control plans are a key element in Six Sigma. The task scorecard feeds summary data to this functional form of a gate deliverable scorecard.

What Is in This Book

This is not a book about marketing theory or basic marketing principleswe assume you are a marketing professional and know a good bit about marketing science fundamentals. This book is all about Six Sigma for marketing professionals. The kind of Six Sigma we explore is relatively new. It is the form of Six Sigma that focuses on growththat prevents problems by designing and structuring Six Sigma Sigma-enhanced work within marketing processes. Its boundaries encompass marketing's three process arenas for enabling a business to attain a state of sustainable growth. This book is reasonably short and is primarily intended as an overview for marketing executives, leaders, and managers. Anyone interested in the way Six Sigma tools, methods, and best practices enhance and enable these three marketing processes can benefit from this book. This book guides the reader in structuring a lean work flow for completing the right marketing tasks using the right tools, methods, and best practicesat the...

About the Chapters

The book is laid out in eight chapters. Chapter 1 , Introduction to Six Sigma for Marketing Processes, presents the whole integrated story of Six Sigma in Marketing Processes. It covers the big picture of the way all three marketing process arenas work in harmony. One without the others is insufficient for actively sustaining growth in a business. Chapters 2 , Measuring Marketing Performance and Risk Accrual Using Scorecards, and 3 , Six Sigma-Enabled Project Management in Marketing Processes, work closely together. Chapter 2 is about a system of integrated marketing scorecards that measure risk accrual from tool use to task completion to gate deliverables for any of the three marketing processes. Chapter 3 is a great way to get a project management view of how marketing teams can design and manage their work with a little help from some very useful Six Sigma tools (Monte Carlo Simulations and Project Failure Modes & Effects Analysis FMEA ). Chapter 3 can help you lean out your...

Define the problem

The DMAIC process is easy to learn and apply. It provides strong benefits to those who follow its simple steps using a small, focused set of tools, methods, and best practices. The original pioneer of Six Sigma, Motorola, used the approach to eliminate variability in its manufacturing process and better meet basic market requirements. Companies that find success in using this approach train small teams to adhere to this approach without wavering in their completion of specific project objectives. These projects typically last six to nine months. Companies learn the DMAIC process and apply the tools much like a well-trained surgical team conducting an operation. They are focused, they are enabled by their project sponsors, and they deliver on the goals specified in their project charter. Lean Six Sigma modifies the DMAIC approach by emphasizing speed. Lean focuses on streamlining a process by identifying and removing non-value-added steps. MIT pioneered the Lean approach in a...

Final word

As important as evaluation and ROI are, it's critical you put the horse before the cart. If your resources are so limited that conducting ongoing evaluation will mean a reduction in the amount of e-learning delivered across the enterprise, focus your limited resources on learning not evaluation. You won't be alone. General Electric Company boasts Six Sigma quality levels but an approach to learning that excludes ROI. The emphasis is on learning not evaluation. Surveys help GE keep learning aligned with business needs and career development. That's as far as evaluation goes.

Portfolio Renewal

Growth is the new focus of the Six Sigma and Lean methods. In fact, the Six Sigma and Lean methodologies will have little influence on the future of business processes unless they help an enterprise generate sustainable growth. The word sustainable is important in our discussion of growth. Growth can occur by chance and can be attained by luckbut not on a sustainable basis. Processes enable sustainable performance. Processes serve as the road map that defines not only the direction in which to travel, but also the specific path, such that outcomes are repeatable and predictable. If you want to increase the probability of continued, measurable growth, value-adding tasks must be well-planned, and that, of course, requires strategic thinking and action. Evidence of erratic growth without established processes can be found in newly emerging industry segments. For example, today's biomedical firms are growing so fast that their revenue outpaces their ability to put key infrastructure...


The LMAD process focuses on taking preventive action rather than waiting for a lagging performance indicator to goad the team into chartering a special DMAIC problem-solving project because you failed to make your numbers in the past two quarters. The combination of the four phases establishes a proactive system of critical marketing and sales parameters to limit the number of problems by design. Enabled by preplanned Six Sigma marketing and sales tasks and tools to prevent problems, the LMAD phases replace the need for reactive emergency DMAIC steps to react to problems. Think of LMAD as a health club versus an emergency room. We prefer to avoid heart attacks. Lean and Six Sigma rigor and discipline can help define these fundamentals. The Six Sigma for Growth approach is focused on identifying and documenting the integrated system of critical parameters that allow marketing and sales teams to measure and control the fundamentals. Attaining balance between leading and lagging...


Skip Creveling I would like to dedicate this text to my lovely wife, Kathy, and my son, Neil. I would also like to dedicate it to my good friend and marketing colleague, Scott McGregor. Without his influence, insight, and globetrotting adventures in developing Six Sigma concepts in the world of marketing, this book simply would not exist.


Six Sigma for Marketing and Six Sigma for Sales are relatively new approaches to enable and sustain growth. They are part of the bright future offered by adapting Six Sigma to the growth arena. The linkage of Six Sigma for Marketing and Six Sigma for Sales tasks and tools to strategic, tactical, and operational processes is where the Six Sigma discipline adds measurable value to marketing and sales team performance. Marketing and sales professionals can custom-design what to do and when to do it to fit these three critical marketing process arenas to their organization or culture. This book's concepts can complement your company's unique marketing approach and infrastructure. Why Because the most important goal is to communicate a common approach to manage risk and make sound, data-driven decisions as you seek to expand the company. An organization can take license to customize the methodology to fit existing processes, enhancing communication and adoption. A customized application of...