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Does Facebook need Lean Six Sigma? – You Be the Judge

Posted by kyle toppazzini on Wed, Jul 04, 2012

Lean Six Sigma, lean, Sigma, Process, VOC, Assessment, FacebookFacebook was once considered an icon and legendary social media movement of our times has recently been plagued by a series of bad news related to its declining advertising growth.  Can Lean Six Sigma help Facebook get back on course?  Below are several ways that Lean Six Sigma can help:


1. Better understand the Voice of the Customer

In a recent L.A. Times article, it reported that the advertising on Facebook is ineffective based on a report by the IDC.  It further mentioned, "Advertisers are realizing that Facebook isn't as effective as they first thought. They're pulling their money and taking it elsewhere".   Did Facebook consider the design of its social networking site to reflect the voice of the customer? 

Lean Six Sigma has proven methods, such as Voice of the Customer  (VOC), to extract the customer requirements and use those requirements to develop a product/service that is aimed at delighting customers.  Understanding the demographic profile of Facebook users is important; however, deeper analysis is required to understand customer requirements.   Customer surveys, focus groups, complaints, direct observation can all be used along with a Quality Function Deployment to conduct an assessment of customer requirements and map those requirements to how Facebook does business.


2. Design more effective advertising services

Companies, such as General Motor, have recently pulled advertising from Facebook.  One possible explanation for this is that the users of Facebook have a different requirement than that of business customers, e.g. GM.  Facebook users are looking for a place to share information with people they trust; while companies are looking to brand their products, create awareness and acquire new customers.  How can Lean Six Sigma (or Design for Lean Six Sigma) be used to ensure that both users’ and business’ objectives are met?

Lean Six Sigma (or Design for Lean Six Sigma) is a proven process improvement methodology that is used to deliver new or existing products and services, faster, better, and at less cost.  Facebook could design advertising services that allows companies to develop more personal relationships and intimate relationships with its clients.  Rather than relying on broadcast advertising messages to Facebook users, companies can have more targeted campaigns that enable the company to take part in the personal experiences that the users of Facebook are sharing.  For example, if I post a picture of my brand new SUV on Facebook, I would be happy to receive a message from the SUV’s manufacturer to endorse its product or to share my experience with the SUV in exchange for the possibility of winning a prize.  

In order to meet the objectives of both users and businesses, Lean Six Sigma would allow Facebook to design effective advertising processes.  Facebook could provide performance metrics to its business clients by telling them how many people are engaging in their campaigns, what campaigns build closer relationships with the users and ultimately converting them to customers.  In turn, Facebook can revolutionize how online advertising is done instead of relying on the existing pay-per-click methods in which the market is quite saturated.


3. Design more cost effective advertising services

Facebook can also benefit from the cost saving resulting from Lean Six Sigma implementation.  If it were to undertake a lean six sigma initiative, it could design advertising processes that delivered far more value at less cost in comparison to its competitors, e.g. Google.  Not only would Facebook reap the benefit of increasing the share of online advertising, it could increase revenues from customers that would normally rely on other forms of advertising. 

Closing thoughts

In this post, I have explained three ways in which Lean Six Sigma or Design for Lean Six Sigma could be used to help Facebook reverse its downward trend.  How do you think Lean Six Sigma can help Facebook (or other social networking services)?


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Great Lean Six Sigma Resources

The Lean Six Sigma group on Linkedin has well over 127,000 members discussing topical and interesting Lean Six Sigma topics.  One particular discussion I like is on the 9th waste which can be viewed at


Topics: VOC, sigma, lean, Design for Lean Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma, Assessment, process