Thursday, November 29, 2012

ASQ Influential Voices: Marketing Your Quality Program

In his blog this month, ASQ CEO, Paul Borawski writes about world quality month, and asks how we can accelerate the rate of adoption.

When I hear, "rate of adoption", I think marketing strategy.  Having worked in product development and commercialization, I know there's a lot we can learn from our marketing friends.

Back in 1960, E. Jerome McCarthy proposed a "4P" classification when devising a marketing mix (product, price, promotion, and place).  Since then, the concept has been expanded and improved, but the fundamentals remain the same.  So why not apply that same type of thinking when trying to sell "quality" to our stakeholders?

Here are just a few questions for us to think about as we embark on increasing overall awareness and adoption of quality:   

Have we identified the true needs of our customers?  What types of problems are they facing, and how can quality help solve them?  What are the specific features/components of our quality program, and how can they benefit the organization?  How do we make life easier and better for everyone?

What will it cost to implement quality initiatives and functions?  Can we justify a clear return on investment (ROI) by demonstrating measurable returns in the areas of productivity, delivery time, operating expense, and client satisfaction?  What is our ultimate value proposition?

How can stakeholders learn about quality?  How and what will we communicate?  Which mediums will work best for our audiences: brochures, blogs, training seminars, webinars, etc.?  Can we create advocates throughout the business?  What are the key messages that will illicit immediate action?

How convenient is it for stakeholders to utilize quality programs and resources?  Do we make it jargon-free and easy to understand?  Is the quality program viewed as an intrusive 3rd party function, or is it integrated with everyday business operations?  Can quality be directly linked to the strategic goals of divisions and departments?

To really increase the rate of adoption, we must offer a compelling set of services, at a reasonable cost, that the organization can understand and conveniently utilize.  If we truly believe that quality can make a difference, then let's start marketing the heck out of it!

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