By Alexandra Liulcenco
07. Oktober 2021

How to build a Change Management Strategy towards data-driven Marketing

How to build a Change Management Strategy towards data-driven Marketing

Marketing is traditionally the department led by experience and gut feeling, relying on user metrics and agency recommendations on the market shifts to come ahead and the competition to look out for. With the digitalization of all aspects of marketing and sales, more data is available to companies, and the eagerness to leverage them is growing. However, Gartner’s Marketing survey 2020 shows that marketers are not always “ready to rely on data to make decisions, this is where change management can play a role in building the right environment to evolve.”


Why do Companies need to manage Change?

Change is the only certainty, and anyone who was on earth in the past 2 years surely has an example in mind. The diversity of change strategies is as broad as the diversity of contexts. Some are choosing to follow their competitors and implement the already established and rehearsed strategies, designed by those. Others are willing to lead or even provoke the change, centering their efforts on being ahead, launching, and promoting trends that place their main strengths on a pedestal. One truth remains undisputed: to be capable of adjusting internal processes and workflows accordingly, one has to anticipate, dictate or follow the upcoming turnarounds of the market.

"If you don’t change direction, you may end up where you are heading."

Lao Tzu
Chinese philosopher

Lao Tzu once said, “If you don’t change direction, you may end up where you are heading” - But the certainty is not there, and that might be five years behind your competitors.

The primary purpose of change management is to drive and support the achievement of the desired future state, with the expected outcomes and avoiding disruptions. To be effective, this management process must take into account how an adjustment or replacement will impact the processes, systems, and people within the organization.

Organisationally oriented Change Management Models

We have listed a few of the most recognized approaches to give you some context:

Lewin's Change Management Model

Lewin's Change Management Model splits the change process into three key stages known as "unfreeze-change-refreeze", comparing the organizational change to reshaping a block of ice. First, the business needs to instill in its people the awareness that the structure needs to evolve, pointing out the “old behaviors” and how competitiveness could be improved (unfreeze), then the resulting “water” should be molded into the desired shape, presenting new approaches and tools to address current needs (change) and finally, when the newly created structure finds its new stable form, it is to be institutionalized (refreeze).

"Motivation for change must be generated before change can occur. One must be helped to re-examine many cherished assumptions about oneself and one's relations to others."

Kurt Lewin

Lewin's Model is a simple and easy-to-understand framework for managing change, which provides a great overall idea of what change is about, but it might disseminate some ambiguity for an untrained eye, due to the generic terms and break of each stage, therefore a narrower breakdown or more detailed context could be easier to follow and bring clearer guidance to the beginners. It requires cautious monitoring of the team’s capacity to adopt new practices themselves in the “change” phase, which relies heavily on preparation and team support.

Kotter's 8-Step Change Model 

John Kotter's 8-Step Change Model provides a comprehensive step-by-step guide through the change process. This detailed guidance is based on the in-depth analysis of the success factors identified in multiple observed organizations, that ensured the effectiveness of the strategies they implemented and provided sustainable impact from the change.

Change Management MMT Kottler´s 8-Step Change Model


  1. Create a sense of urgency
  2. Build a guiding coalition
  3. Form a strategic vision and initiatives
  4. Enlist a volunteer army
  5. Enable action by removing barriers
  6. Generate short-term wins
  7. Sustain acceleration
  8. Institute change

Not only does this model enlist the crucial phases of change implementation, but it also provides tips for managers on how to lead the process and instigate their employees to actively take part in it.

McKinsey’s 7-S framework

McKinsey’s 7-S framework is a valuable confederate, as it addresses the critical role of coordination, rather than structuring, in organizational effectiveness.

Each of the framework’s elements serves as a foundational pillar of the organizational framework:

  • Style represents the culture or the informal rules of conduct in the company; it features the interpersonal issues among the employees.
  • Skills refer to the institutional and individual aptitudes and how they work together.
  • Systems incorporate both the IT infrastructure and the basic processes of the company.
  • Structure outlines the levels of authority in the organization and the responsibilities of each party.
  • Staff stands for the people and how their talents and interests are being discovered, endorsed, and promoted.
  • Strategy expresses the orientation of the enterprise.
  • Shared values or superordinate goals, refers to the corporate culture and common targets

The 7 Pillars are usually interconnected, each of them being essential on its own, but at the same time serving together for the greater good.

Change Management MMT 7-S framework Mc Kinsey

This model aims to provide the manager with a clear checklist that might cause him to step back and think about the elements that aren’t natural to him.

Employees focused Change Management Models

Each of these three approaches is also focused on employees as the most valuable resource of a company.

ADKAR Change Management Model

The ADKAR Change Management Model sets the focus on the people behind the change, encouraging them to not just cope with it but to understand the importance of getting on board. The acronym is composed of the five major change-driving forces: Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement.

By outlining the perspectives and the benefits of successful change, this model persuades leaders and change management teams to concentrate their efforts on driving individual changes to conclusively achieve organizational goals.

Nudge’s theory

Nudge’s theory comes from Behavioural Economics, aiming to understand what influences people’s behavior, especially the detrimental factors, and how to alter or remove them in order to move in the right direction.

Maurer’s 3 Levels of Resistance and Change Model

Maurer’s 3 Levels of Resistance and Change Model pinpoints people’s natural “self-preservation” tendency to resist the change and brings valuable inputs on how to minimize or prevent the reluctance: build your case, manage fear, repair relationships.

How to build up a Change Management Strategy towards data-driven decision-making?

Now, how to build up your own effective change management strategy towards more data-driven decision-making in marketing?

One clear factor of success in change is the transparency that is required: you will need to be able to communicate each of the following steps clearly to the teams involved in the change process to ensure the adoption.

  1. Assess the current systems and skills - based on McKinsey’s concept: What is in place? Is any data available and to whom? Who makes decisions? How and based on which information? Is there both positive and negative feedback available? Do we have the infrastructure to host and analyze results? What training is needed and for whom?
  2. Clarify the objectives and reasons behind the change - gaining competitive advantage or keeping up with the market, building data maturity, or scaling the business outside the country of origin. Defining clear goals can be a great motivator or reassurance that the efforts will bring a positive long-term outcome.
  3. Elaborate your action plan - involving the teams: Gaining mindfulness on current actions that can be detrimental to the general goal, understanding and accepting the objectives, gaining skills and infrastructure to implement the change, supporting adoption and hearing feedback, potentially iterating on the initial setup to gain traction, establishing milestones and success KPIs.
  4. Advocate for change - taking the time to present the plan and its objectives, giving time to questions and answers is the best way to avoid resistance and maintain healthy relationships, driving your change to success.
  5. Celebrate milestones - Change is progressive, every successful step should be celebrated in order to overcome resistance and avoid falling back into the old tracks.
  6. Solidify changes - update company guidelines and strategies, including new behaviors in training plans, and regularly present positive strategic results. Leaders should embrace the change themselves and serve as role models for the rest.

As there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for change management, there might be more principles and core points relevant for your company. The key is to remember that communication is just as important as the technical and financial resources behind the project. Success resides in the adoption of the change by the company staff, failure comes in forget it.

MMT Offer
Mercury Media Technology is one of the companies that offer both: consulting services and software to transition towards data-driven strategies for marketing and media. We accompany businesses in the planning, implementation, and change management to bring teams forward into the ever-changing advertising technologies.


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