Social Sigma -- getting customers to improve your products

Social_SigmaIf you're a typical CEO, you're probably wondering what the hell all of these social technologies like Twitter are useful for. A question I get from a lot of leaders is: "How can we use social to make money?" Actually, the more frequent question is: "Why do these social things have such stupid names?"

Many CEOs only encounter the downside of social -- the disparaging YouTube video or the irrational Twitter attack on the company's brand or products. I've got personal experience here -- Forrester was recently the subject of a small Twitter tantrum based on inaccurate information. So it's easy to understand the skepticism and the questioning.

Trust me though -- social networks contain utility that your company will use to get ahead. I'll be posting some examples in the near future. 

But for the moment, let's stay focused on one specific way that you will use social to make money -- something I call Social Sigma. While Six Sigma is a discipline for improving products through better process, Social Sigma is about improving products through social feedback. It's about using social networks as a means for customers (and potential customers) to continually critique, analyze, and offer suggestions about your products. It's a powerful tool for continually increasing the value of what you make. 

I see three elements of Social Sigma:

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