Commentary

Embrace Organizational Change To Adopt New Marketing Technology

Aneel, my 13-year-old son, recently convinced me to buy an Apple Watch. New technologies like this have empowered just about everybody to track their daily steps, calories burned, and sleep patterns so they can optimize their lifestyle with the right mix to produce results. But technology alone won’t improve your health if you don’t commit to changing your behavior. Just changing your diet won’t matter if you don’t also change the way you exercise and the amount of sleep you get. Each of these lifestyle factors need to be focused towards a common goal.

The same is true in marketing. CMOs can invest in advanced technology to measure, optimize, and activate their marketing plans more effectively. But if each arm of the marketing organization isn’t using the new technology to focus on common goals, business results will not follow. Without adoption and operationalization, the technology is useless.

Easier said than done, right? It’s much easier for one person to commit to making behavioral changes and adopting a new technology to improve personal health. But getting an entire marketing organization to adopt a new technology or methodology and incorporate it into their day-to-day is much harder. Here are a few change management tips for success that have worked for other organizations:

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Empower an evangelist: Operationalization (putting recommendations in market) needs to come from within your organization. You can’t rely on a third-party partner to tell you how your business should operate. So appoint someone within your organization to be the main point of contact with your third-party marketing technology partner. The evangelist should understand your internal marketing organization’s structure, as well as each team’s current objectives, KPIs, planning schedules and incentives. S/he would then identify the appropriate currency of measurement and optimization that will become the new single currency across teams. The evangelist would work with executives and team leads to adopt organizational change, and ensure that the appropriate levels of training and platform access are provided across teams.

Restructure incentives: It’s common for marketing teams to operate in siloes. But this isolated approach often creates different KPIs and incentives by team, leading to fragmented, ineffective and local optimization. So think about how to restructure incentives in a way that encourages optimization across channels. For example, it shouldn’t be viewed as a negative if a portion of one team’s budget needs to be reallocated to a different team in order to optimize most effectively across all channels.

Appoint platform experts: It’s not realistic to expect everyone within your organization to learn every detail of the new platform. So identify the right individuals within your organization to become experts in the new technology. This should become part of their job responsibility so they have time to refine their expertise. These experts should be able to answer questions about how to use and interpret the data, and share that knowledge widely. They should also be aware of new features within the platform, and determine how to leverage them within the organization.

Change doesn’t happen overnight. But operationalizing a new marketing technology doesn’t have to be so difficult if you remove friction from the process. Appointing an evangelist, enacting the right incentives, and assigning knowledge-sharing experts will set you on a path to faster adoption, and ultimately, better business results.

1 comment about "Embrace Organizational Change To Adopt New Marketing Technology".
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  1. David Rubinstein from DataXu, August 18, 2015 at 4:55 p.m.

    The article provides a good starting point.   You do need an evangelist.  Every impactful change effort should have at least one, if not a team of evangelists.  Incentives should be reviewed, as I've seen business system projects fall off the cliff because incentives were mis-aligned.

    A best practice approach to technology adoption will recognize and address the vital linkage between People, Process and Technology.   A technology platform should enable best practices, aka processes, that must provide benefits such as ROI, faster and more confident decision making and a more knowledgeable and empowered team.   By aligning incentives, a major distraction is eliminated, and the people can focus on improving their business processes that should drive value back into the business.

    For the People, you need to embrace training and education.   Training for a new platform is relatively straigh forward.  A Best in Class technology vendor should be able to provide Distance Learning that is supplemented (if necessary) by instructor led training.  A major benefit of having access to a Distance Learning System is it allows users to tap into learning modules whenever needed, for as many times as necessary.  

    The next step is Education - understanding how the new platform works in concert with the new business processes.  Remember, technology is a tool, it is not the full solution.   The solution comes thru the alignment of People, Process and Technology.  Quite similar to the interoperation of gears in a fine Swiss watch.

    Change doesn't happen overnight, and tools don't build results on their own.  The exciting part about change - It creates opportunity!!  So seize it, make the most of it, and add value to your organization.

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