Don’t Be Traditional, Be Transformational: Leading Marketing Change, Part 2

Most marketing teams have made the transition from traditional to digital already. At least, they have in theory. If not, you’re in a whole different place on the marketing maturity curve and probably shouldn’t be reading this blog (sorry).

Still, just doing digital isn’t enough. Maintaining a blog, firing off some social posts, sending out a weekly newsletter. These are all great things, but your audience is expecting more. If you want to be taking your marketing to the next level, if you want to be transformational, you need to be integrated.

Like most things, this is easier said than done. A quick Google search of ‘integrated marketing’ and you’ll find that many marketers are struggling to succeed in the face of change. For example, only 6.8% of respondents believed that social media is “very integrated” into their strategy (the highest rank for the question), while 16.7% believe that it’s not integrated at all (the lowest rank for the question). (CMO Survey)

On the other hand, the fantastic results that are derived from dynamic, integrated marketing are obvious. Statistics courtesy of Hubspot:

  • In a study of 650 multi-channel marketing campaigns, personalized campaigns consistently and overwhelmingly beat out static campaigns in generating a high response rate from recipients. See a breakdown by industry here. (MindFire)
  • Triggered email messages get 119% higher click-through rates than “business as usual” messages. (Epsilon)

Do you want your emails to see as 119% higher click-through rate? I’m assuming the answer is yes. Embracing change and embracing transformation will get you there.

How to Lead Change

Chances are, if you’re still reading this article, you’re on board with becoming a transformational marketer. While you personally might be ready to embrace change, though, you probably have a lot of questions when it comes to how. For example, how do you get your higher ups to buy in and your team members invested in uncomfortable—but worthwhile—change. How do you strategize change, make it last, and prove its effectiveness?

Last week I talked about the foundation of successful change management for marketing. As a refresher, what I identified as the most important aspect of successful change was the difficult but necessary process of finding a way to fit your marketing strategy, business goals, and marketing team structure together. Afterward, you should have an environment that encourages collaboration between specialties and allows your team to work in real time and stay at the forefront of change.

That’s a tall order, I know. Especially when the steps in between are all but unknown. So, below you’ll find a list of actionable steps that you can implement to get your change process started.

6 Steps for Leading Change Management:

  1. Establishing urgency

Vital for inspiring the stakeholders you need most, this step is two-fold. First, you have to establish and communicati\e the reasons that you want to change, if you don’t do this, how can you expect people to get on board with your change? Second, it requires instilling the same sense of desire and recognition of priorities in your marketing team that you yourself feel. As a result, you won’t have to drag others along with you to create change—you’ll have them pulling their own weight.

  1. Creating a guiding coalition

Consider this group your dream team, the people who will see this through with you and act as mediators to the rest of your stakeholders. Choosing the right people for this task is as vital as setting the change strategy itself. There are many ways to form a guiding coalition, but you’ll probably want people that operate in different capacities. As a result, you’ll form a change management team with connections to different areas of your marketing team. Additionally, you’ll be able to leverage different skills that can serve your change in a variety of ways. What’s most important when creating this team, though, is that the people on it understand your vision and feel the urgency of change.

  1. Clear vision

Change doesn’t happen overnight. Along with having a detailed strategy that gets into the nitty-gritty of the changes your team needs to make, you need to have a clear overarching vision. This is something that synthesizes all the aforementioned complexities, yet should also be easily summarized in a few sentences. Your clear vision should elucidate how your marketing team will look, function, feel, and show success. Draw it out, write it down, visualize it, whatever works best for you. Ultimately, though, this clear vision should function as your True North, the point which you are always following and always come back to.

  1. Clear communication of vision

Obviously, this is related to the point above. Once you’ve distilled the messy details of change down to a simple and inspiring vision, you need to share it with those it will affect. The great part about this step is that you can use the previous steps to your advantage. You’ve already got your clear vision created, now use the sense of urgency you’ve instilled in your stakeholders and employ your guiding coalition to spread this message. Ultimately, this vision will help to keep your team invested throughout the whole process, even when things get rough.

  1. Empowering people, removing barriers

This is the end goal of your change management efforts. Now, I know what you’re thinking ‘I thought the end goal was to be transformational marketers?’ That’s true. Nevertheless, that cannot be accomplished without hitting this stage and implementing it correctly. Allow your team members to be a part of leading change in unique ways that aren’t dictated by job title.

Once you complete this step successfully, you’ll find your team driving its own change.

  1. Establishing short-term wins

Sustaining urgency and positive feelings throughout the entire process of change is nearly impossible. Caught in the weeds of everyday work, it’s unlikely that many marketing team members will keep their eyes on the final outcome. You can easily combat this with regular check-ins that show how much progress you’ve made towards reaching your goals –and how it’s showing positive results in your marketing efforts.


Like many things in life, change in marketing is difficult, but nearly always worth it. Marketing teams, more than most others, tend to be overwhelmed, overworked, and stuck in their routines. Getting them to see the necessity of change is not easy. If you lead change with inspiring clarity and a people-first message that shows how individuals will benefit from these new processes, though, you’ll find yourself operating at transformational capacity in no time.


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Did you like this post? Let us know why (or why not) in the comments. In the meantime, check out our blog Blurred Lines: The De-Silo-Ing of Marketing to discover why breaking down organizational silos is key to staying agile and ahead of your competition.

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