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.”
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
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.
We have listed a few of the most recognized approaches to give you some context:
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.
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.
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 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:
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.
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.
Each of these three approaches is also focused on employees as the most valuable resource of a company.
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 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 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.
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.
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.