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Similarities Between Six Sigma And Marketing

Mar 2, 2008
Similarities between Six Sigma and Marketing exist even when there is only a remote possibility that the 6Sigma team members will ever get to meet their counterparts in the marketing department.

For better understanding, let's discuss some of the similarities that exist between them.

Voice of the Customer (VOC)

Both Six Sigma and marketing make it a point to give due consideration to the Voice of the Customer (VOC), although their ultimate goals vary. For example,6Sigma treats VOC as a representation of customer needs and expectations whereas marketing treats VOC as requirements that can be met with effective marketing and advertising. Based on the VOC,6 Sigma aims at reducing costs, improving quality or adding new features as desired by customers.

In comparison, the marketing department treats VOC by increasing ad spends, hiring celebrities as brand ambassadors, or reworking the external features and packaging. Both these functionalities may treat the VOC differently, but that is not a problem for business organizations because ultimately both aim at increasing sales and customer satisfaction.

In today's highly competitive marketplace, it will be very difficult to determine what will work and what will not - and as such, it is always better to have a two-pronged strategy for attracting and retaining customers.

Cost Reductions

Six Sigma always aims at reducing operational costs, but that is not always the case for the marketing department. Also true is the fact that the marketing department does not reduce costs in the real sense, that it merely utilizes marketing techniques such as discounts and freebies that have more or less the same affect on customers as a real reduction in prices can have.

However, since both the functionalities aim at getting the attention of customers, we can say that cost reductions are a similarity, even though they might be real in the domain of 6 Sigma and superficial in the domain of marketing.

Continuity

Both Six Sigma and marketing are continuous functions (i.e., they aim at making continuous improvements so as to attract more customers and increase market share). Since both stress making continuous improvements in order to make way for increased efficiencies, we can say that "continuity" is a similarity between 6 Sigma and marketing.

However, their actual working differs in that Six Sigma aims at making continuous quality improvements in the product, service or process whereas marketing aims at making continuous improvements in the organizational marketing strategy.

Even though both functionalities have a lot in common, they are quite different from each other - and this is why we do not normally see marketing professionals joining the Six Sigma implementation team members. Exceptions are always possible, but since both the functionalities follow completely different procedures for achieving more or less the same goals and objectives, it is better to leave the two functionalities alone and not try to join things together, something that can spell disaster both for the marketing department and the 6 Sigma team.

Specialization holds the key for success in today's age of globalization and as such, needs to be respected.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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