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Three Elements of Successful Change Management

by Laura Patterson  |  
April 23, 2014

We are sitting in a meeting with the CMO and a new marketing operations director from a large, well-established company. They had called and asked for a meeting to help kick their marketing metrics and dashboard up a notch.

In the last year, this marketing organization has added various capabilities, including customer relationship management, marketing automation, and marketing resource management systems. The marketing operations director has a staff, which includes the marketing automation and marketing resource management teams.

Recently, they've had some measurement adoption issues, so they decided to appoint a dozen of the marketers from their 200-person global marketing organization with marketing performance and operations responsibilities, with dotted line reporting to the marketing operations director. Some adoption issues are related to experience and training, but some are more subtle and the result of people who aren't receptive to change. As we listen, I realize that this team didn't take change management into account at the beginning of their journey.

No Magic Pill for an Instant Change

The size or industry of a company doesn't matter. Every aspect of marketing performance management often requires cultural, process, and skill changes.

Many times these organizations underestimate the effort required—they want something fast and easy. It reminds me a little of people who want to lose weight, but they don't want to make any activity changes or diet. They want to take a pill to lose weight, preferably while they sleep, and watch the pounds quickly melt off.

Unfortunately, such a magic pill doesn't exist. Even the diet pill companies clearly state, "X pill was designed to be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise. Some users may lose weight without changing their diets or exercising, but exercise and healthy eating are recommended for optimal results." And there you have it, most of us who want to lose weight are going to have change—change our diet and/or change our exercise routine.

Change Is Part of a Company's Improvement

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Laura Patterson is president and founder of VisionEdge Marketing. For 20+ years, she has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Cisco, Elsevier, ING, Intel, Kennametal, and Southwest Airlines prove and improve the value of marketing. Her most recent book is Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization.

Twitter: @LauraVEM

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  • by Michael O'Daniel Thu Apr 24, 2014 via web

    First of all, I am gratified to see an article on Change Management in MarketingProfs. Why? Because marketing departments actually are well qualified to be change agents for their entire organizations, not just within the marketing department. This is a development I expect to see over time, albeit one that is moving extremely slowly. Most marketing departments do not seem to have a holistic perspective, and/or either do not seize the initiative, or are not permitted to take the initiative, in creating a truly market-driven organization.

    All that said, I must respectfully disagree with Ms Patterson's three elements of change. I say this from the perspective of having just co-authored a book on Change Management with someone who has been a working professional in the field for 25+ years as opposed to an academic theorist. She totally ignores the importance of stakeholder involvement -- in other words, collaboration with the people affected by the change -- and, to a lesser degree, the importance of not only a vision for change on the part of leaders, but active and visible sponsorship of the change. Our three key change elements are Vision, Collaboration, Leadership. I cannot provide a URL here but I can suggest that you search for Real World Change Management. I think you'll find it enlightening.

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