Change Doesn’t Have to Be a Bad Thing for Marketing Leaders
Marketing leaders must consider this change management best practice advice when tackling change across their department
It is no secret that marketing budgets need to work harder than ever due to increasing economic strains. To tackle the UK’s growing list of challenges head on, businesses need to evolve and adapt – change is inevitable.
Therefore, businesses and their marketers have been tasked with addressing huge amounts of change across their working environment. Significant changes have already been made to facilitate home/hybrid working, as well as our increasing reliance and usage of digital technologies and infrastructure.
Customers’ expectations have also changed, so marketers are having to adapt their engagement and retention approaches accordingly. All of this requires large amounts of change management to ensure that marketing initiatives can be implemented successfully.
UNDERSTANDING CHANGE MANAGEMENT
Marketing teams and businesses are becoming more widely adept at using data to better understand customers’ behaviours, to then create products, services and communications that meet their needs.
But what often happens internally is that it is rolled out as a new process, approach or product – while the people on the front line, such as sales teams, don’t get any insight as to why. This is understandable as there may appear to be no logical reason why they would need to know, as time and money are tight, and staff are already overloaded with meeting personal deadlines and targets.
Change management (CM), therefore, refers to the overall approach needed to lead, prepare, and support individuals, teams, and organisations to make changes.
Change management is a whole psychological process of its own, and the only way to implement change productively is by supporting employees through the change journey.
Many businesses are struggling with retaining staff, and the risk of disengagement that happens when we don’t support people through change can further compound people’s satisfaction in their jobs.
The VUCA model is particularly poignant right now, as many businesses are seeking to disrupt their market, and the wider impacts on markets are huge with so many environmental changes.
Businesses often are clear with employees about WHAT they need to do, but to support the change process we must be unambiguous about the meaning of the change. The purpose of it, why it’s necessary and how the organisation can benefit from the change. It is important as it offers a structured approach which will help to build confidence and improve the chances of implementing and embedding the change successfully.
Being unclear about the present is a barrier to people understanding how the change will impact them from the start, but also how the change is creating progression at intervals throughout the embedding phase. To help employees ‘stick with’ the change and see it as the new normal they need to be able to see the difference it is making in real time.
LOYALTY STARTS FROM THE INSIDE
A real-life example of how you can successfully implement marketing initiatives internally, by paying special attention to change management techniques, is demonstrated through IKEA’s internal campaign to change their customer-facing employees’ approach to pushing their loyalty scheme.
The DMA Award-winning campaign, 'Loyalty Starts from the Inside’, used data insights to motivate, educate, and engage IKEA's co-workers to improve IKEA Family performance.
To achieve this, the team created personalised, dynamic store reports using behavioural science techniques that gave them insider intelligence to drive 'Loyalty from the Inside’.
This meant putting data at the fingertips of 10,000-plus co-workers, from managers to cashiers, by developing personalised store reports that every employee would be excited to receive, reminding them of IKEA’s loyalty scheme.
RAPP, a creative agency they partnered with, designed a dynamic and engaging report that focused on the three most important Family KPIs. Infographics and leader boards were added to drive healthy competition and spark excitement.
The creative approach mirrored its strategy: personalised reports to each store; infographics, hit/miss KPI buttons, store of the month awards; and gamification with Fantasy Football-style leader boards plus prizes for high-achieving stores.
The report had co-workers on the edge of their checkout stools waiting to receive the latest edition. Within 12 months, the campaign had driven a 39% increase in Family share of sales and a 16% increase in sign-ups, worth c.£75m to IKEA Family annually.
The reports have been live for over a year, and in the final publication, all stores hit their share of sales and new member target for the first time.
The reports also highlighted the importance of training.
Since the launch of the report, 3,500 additional store workers have been trained: almost one third of the workforce. Now, when customers come into store, employees are fully equipped to get them to swipe or sign up, as they're familiar with the IKEA Loyalty scheme tech, and the benefits it all brings to customers and stores.
CHANGE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A BAD THING!
Marketing is essential to every business, they cannot function without it, so marketing leaders will always feel the strain of multiple pressures from external and internal influences simultaneously. Effective change management marketing campaigns, like IKEA’s, demonstrate the importance of communication and engagement when it comes to implementing change – and how to make a difficult task more manageable through creativity, data, and strategy.
Marketing is usually required to take the lead and adapt to its environment, so us marketers must have the knowledge and tools to identify what change is needed, how to communicate it (and to who), and know when the time is right to implement it to secure long-term buy-in from the business’s stakeholders.
The Data & Marketing Association advocates for professional training of marketers, the theoretical information in this article was taken from the bitesize lessons that are available as pat of DMA corporate membership.
By Rachel Whitter, Director of Customer Engagement at the DMA