Change management is often a topic associated with HR and other fields. However, it’s important to understand how to navigate it successfully in marketing.
Marketing, as a field, is changing rapidly. New technologies, emerging platforms, and other tectonic shifts impact the way companies do business every day. It’s important to have a clear strategy for change management, whether you’re moving in a new direction or asking your team to adopt new skills. If you’re facing a significant change management initiative, here are some strategies to keep in mind:
It’s all in how you frame it. Many people are afraid of change. They like knowing how things are done, they’re afraid changes mean they will be obsolete, or they may have other concerns. When introducing a new initiative, focus on the positive. When people can see the potential benefits, it’s often much easier for them to embrace the changes that are coming their way.
Connect change to the company’s mission. How does the proposed change help the business fulfill its mission? Let’s say you work in the medical field. New products could help improve patients’ health or even save a life. Focusing resources on marketing in a new direction gives the change a clear and immediately understandable focus. It doesn’t always have to be that dramatic. However, change can be easier to address when people are able to recognize its significance.
Start with the individual. It’s often said in the field of change management that change doesn’t happen at the company, or even team, level. Instead, change must be addressed person by person. Look at how individuals on the marketing team—or those working closely with them—react to change. Some will embrace it and can be leaned on for significant support and to become advocates. Others are more reticent and need to have their fears recognized and addressed. Taking the personal approach can help avoid larger issues in the long term.
Create feedback loops. Change often isn’t seamless. There are usually bumps along the way, implementation challenges, and unintended consequences. Consider asking your team to weigh in and give feedback to help improve the experience for everyone. If concerns emerge, that gives you the opportunity to be aware of issues and give members of your community a voice.
Managing change effectively is becoming a larger part of the marketing world. Focus on creating processes that support smoother adaptations and finding ways to help individual team members adapt gracefully to changes in the workplace.