Marketing, Operations, and Getting Change Management Right – Part 1

Everyone (including me) is talking about how marketing is changing. The number one reason for all of these changes is, of course, digital marketing. Having gone from something that only innovative organizations were using to becoming the new standard, some marketers simply aren’t doing digital right. Or, at least, some aren’t using it to its full potential.

An underlying issue here is that not all companies, organizations, or even marketing agencies are set up for tapping into the potential that lies within digital marketing. In fact, most are not. Most marketing teams are modeled around traditional marketing, which was channel-driven and slower moving. Digital marketing is omnichannel and happening in real time

There is where many teams and marketing leaders look to technology. Marketing technology is often offered as the magical solution to all marketing problems. And it can be if you have good marketing processes and team structures in place. If you don’t, marketing technology will likely do nothing more than make your faults more obvious and end up being more detrimental to your progress. Plus, it can be difficult to gain buy-in for investments as large as marketing technology without proof of results.

Other than the fact that you need to embrace digital to stay alive, there’s also the need to prove ROI to gain buy-in from higher-ups, which you can glean pretty much only from digital tactics. While I’ll be the first to say that ROI should not be the only measurement of success, it’s unfortunately true that many look straight to ROI to do just that.

Accordingly, proving ROI has also become a new necessity for obtaining increases in budget and resources. If you’re not utilizing digital properly, you’re going to find it very difficult to prove positive ROI. If you can’t prove positive ROI, acquiring more budget and buy-in would be near impossible. And, of course, if you can’t get more budget, you can’t invest in advancing digital and technology solutions. It’s a vicious cycle that will keep you both ineffective and wallowing at the bottom of the marketing maturity curve.

This situation might sound familiar if you’re currently stuck in this cycle.  It may seem that your only two options are to attempt to force budget without proving ROI or simply remain ineffective and accept the status quo at your organization.

So what’s the answer?

You can create change.

The phrase ‘Change is the only constant in life’ applies to marketing as well, clearly. Unfortunately, wanting to change is one thing. Knowing how to change is another. This involves taking your marketing strategy, business goals, and marketing team structure and finding a way to fit them all together.

Ultimately, though, according to Forbes, “the ability to implement process changes and calculate careful organizational impacts will differentiate those CMOs that say they want to change from those that know how to make change happen.”

Setting the Stage for Marketing Success

The term ‘transformational marketing’ might make some of you out there immediately think of increased need for resources. In other words, a pipe dream if you’re already struggling in that area. Simply positioning your team and aligning your strategy in such a way that transformation will become infinitely more accessible can both kick off your journey to transformational marketing and get the attention of those that hold the purse strings.

Thus, change management, a lesson usually reserved for the C-Suite, should be taught to all marketers, especially those with a desire to transform. Utilizing these skills can be helpful in situations ranging from getting buy-in for content marketing to restructuring for a more agile, effective marketing team.

Of course, change management is different when it comes to marketing. The ultimate goal should be to encourage collaboration, make technology an integrated part of your marketing team, and, in the end, increase ownership of marketing transformation across the board while also breaking down obstacles that can hold marketers back.

What to Expect from Successful Marketing Change Management

Taking on the challenge of restructuring your team, rethinking your priorities, and recreating strategies can be difficult. The benefits, some of which you’ll find below, exhibit clear incentive to take the plunge:

  • Increase collaboration across teams, leading to a better customer experience, holistic strategies, and a unified message
  • Define workflows and decrease common hindrances in these workflows
  • Establish the common goal of transformational marketing and provide the long-term view of current initiatives
  • Identify the role of technology within your team, matching your technology adoption with your current needs and long-term goals
  • Establish an agile team of marketers that are ready to pivot tactics and strategies in accordance with the speed of developments currently happening in the marketing space
  • Increase ownership and contribution levels of all team members, regardless of rank
  • Create processes and structures that streamline work without creating red tape
  • Encourage continuous learning and advancement of skills
  • Inspire regular change and innovation, keeping the marketing team ahead of the curve
  • Increase knowledge sharing, new skill development, and unique solutions to problems new and old


When most people think of moving their marketing into the future, their minds go directly to technology and budget. Transformational marketing is more about people—and allowing them to become transformational—than it is about throwing money or technology at a problem.

As such, technology shouldn’t be at the center of your change management strategy, people should

Technology is always going to be changing, budgets will always need to be increased. The point of change management in marketing is to create an environment that allows your team stay agile enough to change along with the world and embrace new marketing tactics while also keeping the focus on maintaining–or creating–a culture of engagement and collaborative learning.

Ready to implement change at your organization? Stay posted for the second part of this series, which will include strategies you can use to create change and drive transformational marketing.


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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 Punch Above Your Weight: Why Digital Favors David, Not Goliath to discover how identifying your unfair advantage is key to operating above capacity.



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