How Supply Chain Marketers Can Elevate Your Marketing Strategies with the Power of Change Management
Change is the only constant in a modern marketing department. A proactive change management plan can ensure your changes stick.
As much as you focus on the results – the MQLs, conversions, online engagement – it’s really the individuals within your organization who drive the success of your marketing initiatives. So when it’s time to change course, the first step is always to get the right people on board. This is where a process-oriented approach is helpful to manage the people-side of change. Let it be your not-so-secret weapon.
When do I need to consider creating a change management plan for my supply chain marketing initiative?
In general, you will need to spend time crafting a change management plan whenever you’re:
- Creating a new way of doing work
- Investing in new systems or tools that you need people to adopt
- Changing the reporting structure
- Adding a new service to enter a new market
For marketers, the four scenarios above can take on many forms and derivatives, such as:
- Implementing a new marketing approach that requires cooperation between multiple departments – think ABM and the synergy that’s required between sales and marketing.
- When changing your key messaging or positioning. Everyone in the company needs to be “singing from the same song book.”
- Implementing a new tool that requires buy-in and adoption from multiple stakeholders.
- Positively changing the unsatisfactory reputation that marketing may have in your organization.
- Creating a new process to take requests from other departments and streamline how you prioritize projects.
- Restructuring your marketing department.
Once you identify the need for change management, you can apply a framework to guide your thought process and approach for solving different elements of the project necessary to achieve your desired outcomes. As followers of the ProSci Change Management methods, we will explain how we use the ADKAR model as our go-to guide.
Applying the ADKAR change management approach to your supply chain marketing initiative
The ADKAR model focuses on five key elements of successful change management (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement):
The first step of the ADKAR framework is to build awareness around why changes need to be implemented to achieve desired outcomes. In marketing speak: what’s the unique value proposition driving this change? When everyone understands what needs to be done, individuals will have greater motivation to join forces and collaborate towards achieving the objectives.
As part of this step, ask yourself:
- Who has the most influence and can carry the message effectively?
- What channels can we use to make people aware of this change?
- How will you counter any misinformation that may arise?
It is not enough for individuals to be aware of necessary changes; they must also believe these changes are beneficial. Before embarking on any transition, organizations must take steps to foster individual desire amongst employees that aligns with broader organizational goals. Think about each group or individual involved in the change. How would you respond when asked, “What’s in it for me?” The answer could be the value proposition, but may also need to go further by providing clear incentives or introducing rewards programs to nurture positive feelings towards the desired initiative.
Focusing on Knowledge and Desire
Once sufficient levels of awareness and desire have been built up among team members, it is important that everyone be given the necessary knowledge and ability to execute relevant processes correctly.
Take time to understand the gap between what knowledge is needed to make this change, and what knowledge already exists, and then customize a solution. You may need to invest resources into training sessions or workshops, or create a knowledge hub with documentation, or short training videos. Choose the best tool for the job so that your team has the ability to accept the change. Once you have the knowledge and ability inside your organization, it’s time to move on to reinforcement.
We beg you, please don’t forget to create a reinforcement plan! Without it, your change may start off strong and then fizzle out, and all of your hard work will be wasted.
Reinforcement plays such an important role in ensuring successful change management within an organization. Reinforcement is necessary to sustain change, build momentum, and create a positive history of change management.
Reinforcement will work most effectively when it has a monitoring component, provides accountability, corrects undesired behavior, and recognizes (and celebrates) desired behaviors and the ultimate outcome.
According to Forbes, “Executives should prepare for a season of deep change within their marketing teams and operations and should strategically adopt the right framework to execute said change.” A framework, like ADKAR, acts as a comprehensive guide through the various stages of change management to streamline transitions and help avoid common pitfalls.
If you’re tasked with implementing a marketing initiative that could benefit from a change management plan, we’ve got both the marketing strategy and ProSci Change Management-certification to ensure your success. Schedule a call today.
Schedule time to explore how applying a change management strategy can ensure that your next marketing initiative is a success.