Organizational Tips for Leading the Marketing Transformation

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the marketing transformation? You aren’t alone.  An IDC analysis of tech marketing staff changes since 2009 reveals that CMOs have had to squeeze traditional staff functions to accommodate five new roles: analytics/business intelligence, marketing technology, social marketing, sales enablement, and campaign management. In 2013, these new five roles collectively made up 14% of the total marketing staff.

IDC invited organizational change expert, Dr. Rick Mirable, to advise our clients on insights for leading more successful organizational change initiatives. Here are some of the tips that Dr. Mirable, who has more than 20 years of diverse business consulting and academic experience, offered:

  • What we believe about change determines how we will respond to change. People hold beliefs about the capability of both company culture and individual people’s ability to change. Good change initiatives raise awareness of these biases.
  • Successful change initiatives require that leaders be included. It’s not only individuals deep in the organization that need transformation, but leaders must also be role models for the change they want to see.
  • People resist change for many reasons. Change can threaten our sense of security (What will happen to me?) and our sense of competence (Can I learn new skills?). People may worry they will fail. They may not understand why change is needed. Companies may inadvertently reward people who resist change by penalizing people who try new things and fail.
  • Some resistance to change comes from unspoken resentment. Companies must allow for expression of the relevant “inner conversations” that people have with themselves about the change — views that are not explicit to others. Resentment is like dirty laundry — if you don’t get rid of it eventually it starts to smell!
  • Some change initiatives fail simply because the organization isn’t ready. Assess your readiness and then bring those areas found lacking up to speed before embarking.
  • The communication portions of most change efforts are weak and not consistent over the long haul. The communication must be open and bidirectional. Messages and goals need to be regularly repeated and reinforced.
  • Company culture is essential to sustaining success over time. One cultural attribute proven to accelerate change is the empowerment of individuals to make decisions that further the change goals. It is a best practice to ask people what they want to do (and ask for management permission to do it) rather than telling them what to do. This practice encourages innovation and accountability and drives change deeper in the organization.
  • Don’t confuse “movement” with progress. When you get off the freeway during a traffic jam, you may be able to move faster; however, that movement doesn’t guarantee that you are actually moving toward your destination or will get to it any more quickly. IDC notes that marketing teams that measure activity rather than outcomes are making this error.
  • Create circumstances for people to motivate themselves. Motivation can include extrinsic rewards such as money. Proven to be even more effective are intrinsic rewards — challenge, learning, responsibility, contribution, and career path advancement. Intrinsic rewards tap into the power of people’s passions. Companies are advised to structure people’s work so as to allow passion to surface.
  • Reduce resistance by creating a “burning platform.” Clarify the risks and benefits of the change and involve the collective wisdom of the group. Give people a role in the change. Involve a person’s “head” and “heart” as well as the “feet” of required actions.

FutureM: For Marketers, Times They are a Changin’

I attended FutureM in Boston a few weeks ago and the main take away was: Marketing is changing quickly and organizations must grow and adapt, otherwise they will fall behind.

IDC’s CMO Advisory Service has been advising this for some time, but as I read more blogs and attend more marketing based events like FutureM, the reality of overarching change is becoming obvious. IDC’s data points to this as well; investment in Digital Marketing within the Enterprise Tech industry has increased from 12.6% of budgets in 2009 to 29.2% by the end of 2012* – we expect this trend to continue.

Below I have outlined 3 sessions that did a great job of highlighting the change that is taking place. I then took particularly interesting or relevant quotes and expanded on them.

“Social has to be collaborative between agencies and the brand – It has to be done for consumer insight and you cannot do it for the sake of just doing it.
                   – Anthony van Dijk, Brand Manager, Global Gillette Venus Base Business, Gillette

This quote hit home with me – as social, and digital in general, continue to mature, marketers must engage with their agency around these topics. However, don’t just check off a box by giving them the set of keys to your online presence and communities. Hold your team and agency accountable; have a specific plan and goals. Almost as importantly, don’t just give your agency a mandate to improve social, work with them and guide them as your brand and goals change. Social is often instantaneous, you cannot expect the undertaking to be a straight line trajectory – be ready to adjust and if you’re expecting deliverables from your agency give them the best chance to help you succeed!

Understand IDC’s guidance for B2B Social Marketing by downloading our report: “Despite the Hype, B2B Social Marketing Is Still in Its Infancy: 2012 Guidance for New Investment Dollars and Staff


“The buyer is on a journey and the vendor is not invited.”
                    –  Joe Chernov – VP of Marketing, Kinvey

This was one of my favorite quotes of the entire conference – it was provocative and goes against much of what we have been taught as marketers. If you take a broader view, Joe is right, this isn’t your father’s “buyer” the tools and knowledge available today have changed everything. Rather than Sales or Marketing holding all the information, social networks, forums, and the rest of the internet can provide the Buyer with a large majority of answers. As IDC has reported in our recent publication, The 2012 IT Buyer Experience Survey: Accelerating the New Buyer’s Journey, marketers and sales must be aware of this new reality and adjust their strategies and tactics. Additionally, my colleague Kathleen Schaub wrote a great blog post on Operationalizing Your Buyer’s Journey. The report and post both are great places to start on this topic!


“Good professionals let the data speak, if you don’t have good data – don’t make a decision!”
                     – Chuck Hollis, VP — Global Marketing CTO, EMC Corporation

Discussion around Analytics and Big Data resonate strongly with me – they are hot topics in the marketing world and can provide immense value. Our group always urges marketers to utilize data any chance they can. However, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of trying to quickly move projects forward while using data as a guide. Chuck’s quote reminds us to be honest with yourself and be honest in your decision making process, don’t make a decision based on data unless it is telling a clear objective story.

For more information on data driven marketing download IDC’s study “Data-Driven Marketing: A Survey of Marketing Automation Maturity in Global High-Tech Companies

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While these quotes give a quick glimpse into a few sessions at FutureM, the entire conference is a reminder that there is a lot of change in Marketing and many technologies and companies can be a huge asset in this transformation. Don’t ignore this change, take time to educate yourself even if it is just a few hours a week to demo a new product or service or view an interesting webinar. Ultimately, as a marketer if you don’t start swimming, you risk sinking like a stone. 

You can follow Sam Melnick on twitter: @SamMelnick or contact him at smelnick (at) IDC (dot) com

*Source:  IDC’s 2012 Tech Marketing Benchmark Study (full results to be published this quarter)