Marketing Change Catalysis | These Mini Case Studies Address Common Challenges

Modern Marketing


Raise a hand if you’ve ever experienced the ripple effects of change in your life.  You know, you change one thing over here and other things change over there, even if the change wasn’t intended? Yes, same here.

In my work helping customers establish and advance Centers of Excellence across their organizations, I see how change initiatives (especially those bringing improvements to technology) can provide a beneficial “gravitational pull” to other areas where change is needed.  Aligning these other areas of change to the active implementation energy can multiply the positive impacts of change within your organization.

The 5 significant opportunities to drive additional value include:

  • Converting “tribal” knowledge to “institutional” knowledge
  • Using marketing campaigns to achieve clean data
  • Establishing collaborative infrastructure
  • Mature evidence-based decision making
  • Strengthening marketing’s leadership voice

Converting “tribal” knowledge to “institutional” knowledge

“Sally has a great team. Brenda is one of her best marketers. Brenda is the go-to resource for the very best campaigns and the most in-depth analysis of performance. She trains others on how to complete and execute our program brief submissions. Her relationship with their agencies is strong. So strong, in fact, that yesterday was Brenda’s last day. Now, Sally is quietly freaking out.”

What will you do when your Brenda moves on? What should Sally be doing proactively to prepare her team?

Process documentation can be daunting. First, rather than focusing on all the processes Brenda completes by herself, focus on documenting the inputs Brenda requires from others to accomplish her objectives. Second, document how Brenda’s outputs become the inputs of others. Converting these facts into “institutional” knowledge will allow you to accurately assess downstream impacts when changes are experienced. Third, consider the power of succession planning as it relates to your key roles and critical processes. Have a plan and make sure the plan has been socialized with the appropriate teammates in case of an emergency.

“The exercise of documenting our processes enabled greater collaboration with Sales, organizational alignment on our definitions of campaign success, and created opportunities for training and development across the Marketing department.” – Kristi Annes, Senior Director Marketing Strategy, Intelligent Medical Objects.

Using marketing campaigns to achieve clean data

“As Sally is still trying to figure out how to backfill Brenda’s role, Steve approaches with a challenge. ‘Our nurturing journey is experiencing some problems,’ Steve says. ‘We’re realizing some of our data is working against us’.

You see, one of Sally’s biggest customers is Jacqueline Smith, a very powerful CEO in the community. Jacqueline only does business where she feels truly known and she is currently in a multichannel nurturing journey. One tiny challenge – she doesn’t answer to Jacqueline; the people who know and love her call her ‘Jackie’. ‘Jacqueline’ is her great aunt that lives in New Jersey and sends socks for her birthday. Every time the nurturing journey calls out ‘Jacqueline’, she is reminded that you don’t really know her. Now, Sally’s automation is working against her because of the data design.”

As your organization matures from marketing automation to true engagement marketing, data becomes your most important asset and your most formidable enemy. When your customer enjoys the value of an increasingly more personalized experience, your data is working correctly. When data isn’t clean or isn’t properly designed to meet your nurturing needs, you can easily disqualify yourself from gaining a customer’s trust.

Organizations can use marketing campaigns to drive gathering and cleaning the data you have and find most valuable. Creating programs with the specific intent of strengthening your data position is an area of value many teams overlook. Always keep in mind, businesses don’t make decisions; people do. If your data cleanliness is not accurate at the level of the individual, use marketing initiatives to help you get there. Your best customers want to feel known and your data is a key ingredient. If you call them “Jacqueline” one more time, you just might experience churn.

Establishing collaborative infrastructure

“Sally decides to go for a comfort latte to clear her mind and focus on solving her personnel and data issues. She bumps into Sharon, a former coworker who is now in a similar role within another business unit. ‘I’m surprised to see you here, Sharon!’ Sally exclaims. ‘I didn’t realize you were in this office building now?’ Sharon proceeds to explain that she is only there for a three-day workshop mapping out data needs for their upcoming work on nurturing journeys.

Sally would have LOVED that workshop! Her lack of visibility into the similar work of another business unit has reminded her of how siloed the organization has become. She sets a reminder on her calendar to ask Sharon about the workshop next week. Sally knows collaboration is critical but doesn’t get enough energy from the team to foster a collaborative environment.”

Implementing enterprise-level platforms frequently connects different parts of the organization to a common and immediate cause. In most cases, these implementation motions join teams in working together where no or little previous collaboration existed. At the end of the initiative, the teams frequently go back to their silos and collaboration becomes something of a memory. Why?

Collaboration dies when structure is allowed to atrophy. Platform implementations supply meeting and communication structures across functions. The best of these collaborative motions can be cultivated post “project close” to ensure the organization continues to learn and share best practices. Before shutting down collaborative structures as a result of an initiative ending, examine which motions should continue for the sake of organizational communication and learning.

“Establishing collaborative infrastructures enabled us to pool the knowledge, resources, and perspectives of our global Marketers.  This helps us make smarter, evidence-based decisions regarding our approach to marketing automation.” – Heather Lindeman, Marketing Technology Manager, CFA Institute.

Mature evidence-based decision making

“Sally is heading into a budgeting meeting. She’s determined to make this meeting better than last year’s. Last year, not only was she denied the FTE headcount additions she requested, but she was also required to cull her agencies from five to two.

This year, evidence is on her side. Due to her team’s focus on connecting program costs and measures of success to revenue outcomes, she is confidently sharing Marketing’s value today and her plans to scale as the organization pursues an ambitious plan for next year.”

True engagement marketing provides exponentially increasing data points. Transforming said data into insights is one thing. Leveraging those insights at the unique timing of specific decision points is another thing altogether. Additionally, engagement marketing expands the field of review from “funnel specific” data points to true “full journey” insights. “Full journey” insights draw from and connect data points related to the customer experience, from anonymous interactions through to brand advocacy.

Organizations that comprehensively gather and apply insights from the customer’s “full journey” are more successful in developing strong relationships with those customers. These insights allow stronger forecasting around customer relationships and increase your ability to proactively reduce churn. Is your campaign process fueled by “full journey” insights and evidence? Do you want to break through to a richer customer experience? Do you want to move beyond funnel analytics? Answered yes to any of the above? This is a great place to start.

Strengthen Marketing’s leadership voice

“After the budgeting meeting, Sally’s peer in the Sales organization approaches. ‘Sally, can we connect for a moment?’ ‘Sure, Jenn. What can I do for you?’ Jenn proceeds to invite Sally to the upcoming Sales strategy sessions and asks if Sally can present some of her marketing evidence to help shape how Sales will approach the audacious sales goals for the coming year.

The investment Sally’s team made in preparing a winning story with a bedrock of evidence is now paying dividends. Marketing is becoming a strong and trusted voice in strategic planning.”

In some organizations, Marketing’s voice is strong and well respected. Across the globe, Marketing’s voice is the most sought out for creative direction and compelling communication.  As a proven marketer, Sally has a clear and permanent seat at the decision-making table.  Everyone values Marketing. In other organizations, Marketing feels stuck at the kid’s table with her hand raised asking someone to pass the potatoes.

As the organization embraces change around engagement marketing, you can leverage the energy of the project to highlight Marketing’s value. As change happens, Marketing has the opportunity to lead communication in all phases (before the change, during the change, and after the change). Marketing becomes the go-to voice for drawing insights and using evidence to communicate a winning story. Marketing can confidently take her place at the big table.