Marketing transformation can be described as a rethinking of how people, processes and data are integrated then deployed across an organization.

With a marketing transformation, the people and technology often stay intact, but the way the processes, systems and data are “wired” can be radically changed to allow for more strategic marketing and accountability.  Marketing transformation moves the organization beyond digital competence to a new level of automation, integration and attribution capability that is made possible by fully engaging the power and advanced functionality of digital systems.

Transformation

A thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance

As the definition suggests, transformation is disruptive.  So, why consider a marketing transformation?  For most organizations, the driver is money – where is it being spent and what the return is.  Despite an abundance of technology, many find it nearly impossible to confidently say which campaign or activity generated money and was the most successful.

Complexity of Marketing Transformation

Connecting enterprise marketing spend to revenue crosses a number of organizational lines.  Even in a marketing organization, one runs into political potholes when crossing lines between groups.  Tracking the impact of marketing spend goes to a whole other level of politics. It affects not just multiple marketing groups, but also sales, IT, web teams and outside partners.

Yes, marketing transformation is complex and can get political.  But, it is worth pursuing and can be done effectively.  The key to success, like with anything else, is taking the time to develop a plan that addresses technology, people, processes and data change requirements.  The trick is getting the pieces of the plan right, engaging with everyone who will be affected and understanding that this will require change.

Overcome Marketing Transformation Difficulties with Change Management

Marketing Transformation

Change is difficult for a number of reasons, but without it marketing transformation is simply not possible.  The hurdles related to change can be overcome by taking into consideration the true feelings of others in the organization. Stakeholders need to remember that while their plans will benefit the organization at large, not everyone has bought into their vision.  That’s right.  The push for marketing transformation may have come from the highest levels, but others in the organization are very likely uninterested or outright hostile to the changes that this will bring.

The good news is that understanding this from the outset means that it can be proactively addressed as part of the project plan.  This requires taking the time to map stakeholders, influencers and those who will be impacted and to tease out specific benefits for different groups.  Then, sell the value of the project across the organization.  Getting buy-in at all levels creates organizational readiness, which goes a long way to minimize resistance to change that often comes with a marketing transformation.

The Role of Communication – Sharing AND Listening

Continued support requires good communication.  Throughout the project, it is of the utmost importance to check in with groups across the organization. Keep them apprised of the project’s progress and remind them of the benefits that will be a result of the changes they’re enduring.  They must adopt the requisite changes to realize these benefits.  Ongoing communication keeps people focused on the end goal and more willing to accept the changes.

Marketing transformation does not happen at once.  Transformation starts with rethinking how people, processes and technology are organized and connected.  Once this Herculean task is complete, it’s time to listen to the data.  Insights live in the data.  The next step for a marketing transformation is to take the insights and make changes based on the data.

The benefits of a marketing transformation far outweigh the time and effort required to make it happen.  Be patient and be sure to have a strategic communication plan that involves key internal stakeholders. Always keep top of mind the long-term benefits of going through this process. The enhancements to automation, integration and attribution throughout the funnel, made possible with the marketing transformation, will make this all worthwhile.

 

Want to learn more? Discover more about marketing transformations at Samsung and Informa Engage (formerly Penton Media), and read about the marketing predictions made at the Forrester 2018 Consumer Marketing Forum in New York City.