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Marketing Quality - The Big Picture

2011-12-08

Written by: Jennifer Stepniowski, Special Projects Manager, Pro QC International Today's marketplace is saturated with the declaration of "quality". Organizations now use the word to describe almost any product or service and even unknowingly exploit it as an internal buzzword. Quality is everywhere, and it's become something that's expected rather than something that differentiates. As organizations seek credibility among stakeholders, it is the actions that will support the position. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Rather, the "big picture" from a marketing perspective is to walk-the-walk. Marketing efforts should focus on incorporating quality into the following as part of a successful strategy: Quality Products The price/quality position is fading. It's no secret to industry experts that quality costs less, not more. But, an increasing number of consumers are figuring that out too. The perceived quality of the product or service must be supported by action. Consumer expectations must be met. Quality is the foundation of success in an environment flooded with substitutes and alternatives. So, how do you ensure quality? Ensuring quality products and services starts with planning and effectively touches all aspects of the business cycle. From a marketing perspective, it's about focusing on benefits instead of features. It's about adding value. Three key components to a quality product/service include: 1) Documentation - Know your products and services better than anyone else. Document what you know. **For example, Pro QC offers product specification development services that aide in the assurance of quality when used during inspections throughout the production cycle. 2) Control - Use the documentation and verify it against the products and services to be delivered. **For example, by performing in-process and pre-shipment inspections, Pro QC identifies problems at the factory with the goal of shipping fewer defects. 3) Continuous Improvement (Kaizen) - Listen to the market and internal voices and let them guide the planning process so that products and internal processes evolve to better meet consumer demands and improve overall efficiency and effectiveness within the organization. **For example, Pro QC provides corrective action services that reduce the risk of quality problems in the manufacturing process. Pro QC also offers a variety of supplier audits aimed at identifying and improving overall performance. Quality Relationships Establishing and nurturing relationships with key stakeholders supports accountability. It is something that requires active, ongoing attention. Key stakeholders include: 1) Employees - Happy employees are motivated, productive employees. 2) Customers - Happy customers are repeat customers. 3) Suppliers, Partners, etc. - Happy suppliers and partners means happy employees and customers and, higher quality inputs. Quality Communications Active management of both internal and external communications means knowing what to say and when to say it. It is embedded within our relationships, but is relevant enough to stand alone. A few suggestions include: 1) Open a dialogue with key stakeholders to understand their needs and concerns. 2) Consistently provide relevant and value-adding content that benefits the industry. 3) Actively listen more than you talk. Quality Metrics You can't manage what you don't measure is considered an old adage that remains current today. Good metrics teach and guide us. Good metrics support continuous improvement. Good metrics means good quality. So, what are "good metrics"? Good metrics refer to those that are seamlessly linked to an organization's strategic goals the goals that shape the organization's mission and overall direction. Organizations should beware of metric overload though and focus on key action items. Regular review and discussion of metrics should be employed so that issues can be addressed sooner rather than later. Pro QC International is a 3rd party quality assurance and engineering firm offering over two decades of experience among over 30 countries. For additional information regarding incorporating quality activities within your organization, contact an account manager or visit our website for more information at www.proqc.com.

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