In this White Paper we will discuss marketing skills transformation:
1. The four (4) keys to transforming organizational marketing capabilities.
I have led, worked with and observed marketing organizations for more than 30 years. I am often bemused by the irony that the very people charged daily with influencing and changing customer behaviors are often the most resistant to change themselves!
The Changing World
The world in which marketing operates has changed dramatically with the advent of the digital world and new marketing technologies and tools. If what you were doing was appropriate a few years ago you can be assured it is less relevant today. How do you know if your marketing capabilities are strong enough to execute the plans?
Let’s assume you realize that the world is changing and your organizations marketing capabilities need to be reviewed to ensure they are evolving in-light of changes in the ecosystem and customer behaviors. What are the keys to understand and incorporate in your own transformation of marketing capabilities?
What are the Four (4) Keys to Successful Transformation?
Here are four (4) keys to ensure your change efforts garner FAME instead of ‘more of the same’ as you undertake a transformation of marketing capabilities:
Nothing will stall a transformation effort more than not understanding that an organization has a finite amount of emotional & physical energy. In the case of transformation, More’s Law is applied as realizing that ‘less is more’. Focus on the ‘best few’ key issues and initiatives. Explicitly give permission to people to ‘stop doing’ things that they have always done but are no longer as important. Most change initiatives fail to stop doing anything, therefore everything new is ‘added onto’ the existing work stream. When this reality sets in, which it will, people become overly burdened and reflex back to doing what is comfortable vs. what is critical. This requires leadership to lead by requiring people to ‘stop doing’ some tasks in-order to ‘start doing’ important new tasks. For example, creating ‘product push’ email campaigns might be replaced by new content development strategies focused on addressing customer pain points.
Successful execution requires that all stakeholders understand and agree upon the path forward. In the case of capabilities, it means that there is agreement regarding which skills are most critical for each job role in-light of the strategies being driven. Gaining alignment is an iterative process in which trade-offs are made in order to identify the core skills required for success and not settling upon a generalized list of generic skills that any marketer might require.
If your strategy is not generic, neither should your selection of skills be generic and generalized. Alignment means that your job roles skills are aligned explicitly to your organizations strategies.
Nothing is worse to a transformation initiative than inertia. Change that gets bogged down quickly becomes the ‘program dejour’ that employees readily ignore and ‘wait it out’ believing from experience that ‘this too shall pass’. Once employees possess a ‘felt need’ recognition that change is required, it is imperative to rapidly introduce targeted and meaningful initiatives that engage them in the development and application of new skills. If the cycle-time for beginning to make progress is too long the transformation will stall out. Far too many transformation efforts are characterized by “a lot of dirt flying but no holes being dug”! Value impact over activity and ‘getting going vs getting ready”.
When it comes to transforming skills the heart of this effort is gaining a shared and explicit understanding of the performance ‘standards’ expected. If expectations and standards vary by manager than you don’t have organizational standards- you have individual manager opinions. Ambiguity is also an enemy of transformation, so clarity and consistency regarding communicating and applying expectations are key success factors in driving behavioral change. Standards must be communicated in a manner that is both pragmatic and application oriented (on the job). The key question that must be answered is- “What does success look like?. If you cannot answer this question you will not be able to gain alignment regarding the expected outcomes of the transformation initiative.
The Present and Future of Capability Transformation
While the guidance outlined in the FAME framework is simple, it requires discipline and focus to execute successfully. The marketing function should be the ‘heartbeat’ of change within an organization. If marketing is unwilling or unable to adapt and transform their capabilities in light of the changing landscape how will the organization stay relevant?