Applying Six Sigma DMAIC to Marketing
A sales and marketing manager asks:
Six Sigma, via DMAIC, is a method for maximizing sales performance and solving business problems. The sales management process and marketing (and servicing) are business functions that many companies have difficulty with.
Some businesses try to solve these difficulties by applying DMAIC.
However, DMAIC is not a foundation for sales or marketing. It can potentially improve how sales and/or marketing functions. Unfortunately, if the goal of the system is unclear or misaligned, any efforts to improve the marketing, selling, or servicing components will be sub-optimized (by definition). (Of course, the same thing is true in manufacturing.)
For example, if marketing wants to maximize the quantity of leads, it will have no means of improving the quality of those leads (and will likely have a disincentive to do so). Similar sub-optimization happens when sales goals are considered apart from marketing and service, and likewise with service department goals, product development goals, etc.
Ideally, the company defines its value adding production in terms of the customer’s lifecycle, also known as the Customer’s Journey. In that view, marketing, selling, and servicing are merely tactics that can be effective at various stages. Anything that helps the customer move along their journey and buy from you more readily (now or in the future) is good. Anything that doesn’t is waste.
Once a production system is established, DMAIC can operate to potentially improve it. With a properly aligned system, the “Big Y” can be defined appropriately, and the “little x” can be discovered and applied appropriately.