Alon Ghelber is the Tel Aviv-based CMO of Revuzsupporting B2B tech start-ups and VCs through data-driven storytelling.
Change is in the air. Between the Covid-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation, organizations and workplaces have been changing dramatically to cater to new needs and improve their outcomes. These dramatic changes are happening—and when they’re not, they likely should be happening—in marketing management, too.
It’s a period of transition from the old to the new, and it can be disorienting at first. As marketing teams are increasing remotely and adopting new technologies, leaders should make sure to tackle transformation and change in strategic and holistic ways in order to succeed.
That’s why change management strategies should be front and center for marketing executives right now.
Change management is the process of managing shifts, transitions and transformations within an organization. There are various schools of thought on what the best change management framework is, and there are various options depending on the context and needs of the organization. There is no “right” or “wrong” framework.
The Role Of Executives
One big change that is currently taking place involves the role of executives. A chief marketing officer’s role is drastically changing in many companies, as Greg Salmon explained.
As teams are becoming more and more populated by “specialists” who know a lot about their own subfields, it’s unlikely that an executive can deeply understand and perform each of their team members’ jobs.
The marketing space used to follow a one-way, top-down dynamic in which CMOs communicated the strategy and processes to their team leaders. That is no longer always the case. Team members now should have a space to showcase their expertise and inform the CMOs of the strategy and processes that work best in their opinion. This can promote a two-way conversation.
The Role Of AI And New Technologies
Many marketing teams are now mostly remote or at least operate in a hybrid capacity—ie, they spend a couple of days a week at the office and the rest of the week at home. That calls for change in the tools they use to operate and the processes they adopt. CMOs should keep their eyes open for new technologies, from project management tools to virtual assistants and data management platforms. Some of these new technologies could help marketers achieve better results in a shorter time span.
WalkMe utilized BuzzSumo data to see what technology trends were discussed online the most from November 2020 to October 2021. It found that artificial intelligence (AI) was the most discussed technology of 2021. AI topped the list with the highest number of online articles about the topic—over 115,000 articles, or about 3,726 articles per day.
Machine learning, virtual reality and quantum computing followed AI on the list of the hottest tech-related topics.
The Role Of Change-Management Frameworks
Change management is a complex and evolving field, so there is no one-size-fits-all framework you can adopt. It all depends on what you’re trying to change and to ultimately accomplish with the change.
ADKAR, a framework developed by Jeff Hiatt, author and entrepreneur, is one of the most well-known approaches. It’s an acronym that stands for:
• Awareness: Let your team members know about the need for a change.
• Desire: Team members should be excited about the prospect of the change.
• Knowledge: Carefully prepare for the change by learning about the process and the tools involved.
• Ability: Give every team member the ability to contribute and participate in the process.
• Reinforcement: Sustain the changes and design them to last.
Another widely known framework is McKinsey’s 7S approach. The seven components are:
1. Strategy (crafting of mission and niche).
2. Structure (allocation of tasks and responsibilities).
3. Systems (processes).
4. Shared values (belief system).
5. Style (culture and behavior).
6. Staff (people).
7. Skills (abilities of the organization and the people).
In summary, executives should prepare for a season of deep change within their marketing teams and operations and should strategically adopt the right framework to execute said change.