How to Use Six Sigma in Marketing

Six Sigma has long been considered the key to business success. This renowned set of methodologies is more than just a project planning system – it’s a mindset.

One of the overarching benefits of Six Sigma is that the core principles can be applied to any industry. Marketing, in particular, can benefit from the Six Sigma teachings.

Here are some practical ways to use Six Sigma in your marketing to achieve exciting levels of success in the new year. 

Renewed Customer-Centric Focus

The first core principle of Six Sigma is a customer-centric focus. Every decision you make when problem-solving or project planning should happen with the end-user at the forefront of your mind.

For marketing, this principle asks you to consider your audience at a micro-level. Who is your ideal customer? What is the problem they need to solve? How will your solution solve that problem for them? Consider every aspect of the customer journey through the sales funnel, from how they discover you to their satisfaction six months after they make a purchase. Understand your Voice of Customer (VoC), and your strategies will be far more successful than ever before.

Planning Strategies and Objectives Beyond Goals

For marketers, you need to think beyond your goals and target numbers. Setting a SMART goal is essential, but you must reverse engineer it to outline the steps to get there.

Set a goal that addresses the overarching goals of the business while keeping the customer in mind. From there, you need to develop strategies that support the goals and tactics (or actions) to get there. 

Finally, you need metrics in place to measure your success as you go along, rather than after everything is said and done. “It’s estimated that up to 30% of all strategic plans fail,” advises Peter Peterka, Six Sigma Master Blackbelt, “Successful organizations use real-time performance tracking with constant monitoring to track progress.”

Keep this approach in mind with every campaign you develop for a methodical process that yields significant results.

Using DMAIC for Problem-Solving

The DMAIC system is a Six Sigma approach to problem-solving that creates a step-by-step roadmap for identifying, understanding, and correcting an issue. DMAIC is versatile – you can use it for marketing, debugging programs, or even in your personal life.

DMAIC consists of five steps for problem-solving, including:

  1. Define – identify the issue from all angles. Include the impact on the customer, processes, and overall business.
  2. Measure – collect data to get a better understanding of the quantitative impacts on business goals.
  3. Analyze – take a deep dive into the data to understand the next steps and the ripple effect it will have throughout processes.
  4. Improve – implement the solution with key success metrics in place.
  5. Control – evaluate the progress you’ve made and tweak to achieve perfection. Then, implement controls and standards to keep the business moving forward.

In marketing, the problem could be defined as a failure to reach the desired customer lifetime value number. You measure the problem using statistics from conversions, social media analytics, and overall marketing spend. 

The team analyzes by looking at those numbers and identifying trends and anomalies. The process is improved by reducing wasteful activities that yield low results in favor of investing in more fruitful areas. Controls are put in place by making smart investments in the marketing activities that have the highest ROI.

Creating Collaboration

Another one of the core principles of Six Sigma is having an engaged team that has skin in the game. This is integral in marketing. 

Look for top talent that aligns their perception of personal success with the company’s success. Work with people that are excited and hungry, and have faith in the processes of the business. For marketing efforts to be successful, a dynamic team must be in place.

There are plenty of valuable learnings to be gleaned by the Six Sigma methodologies. For marketing teams, having a methodical approach to planning and measuring campaigns can reduce waste, improve efficiency, and fuel the overall success of the business. 

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