When you’re performing a marketing campaign, things don’t always work out. Whether it’s because times changed and people moved on or simply an inaccurate guess as to what consumers would best respond to, change is necessary. It’s not something that anyone likes, but nevertheless taking into account the current situation is an important part of your marketing strategy. Today, let’s dive in and learn how to manage change management, for marketers.
What Is Change Management?
Change management is easy to describe – it’s a framework by which you manage change! Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to put into practice, as there are many different pre-existing frameworks to choose from, all of which are designed for ideal situations that you’ll rarely have.
It’s extremely unlikely for any change that you make to only affect one section of your business, especially when it comes to marketing. If you’re altering the direction your product campaigns are going you might end up needing to alter your production rates, your product itself, the way your products are presented in stores or online, etc.
Fortunately for you, there are a number of models to choose from, each of which has different strengths and should be applied in different situations.
ADKAR is an acronym, standing for each of the five steps in the model. It’s a model that advocates for starting at the bottom with the individual employee and spreading throughout the entire team. The steps are Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement (of the change).
- The Lewin Model
The Lewin model was developed by a social scientist and follows a simple three-step process – Unfreeze, Change, Refreeze. These steps essentially mean untangling the existing processes so they’re not as rigid, altering them so that you get the new processes that you want in place, then eventually solidifying them so they become the new norm.
If that’s confusing, imagine an ice cube that you want to change into a sphere. First, you need to recognize that it’s in the shape of a cube and unfreeze it, mold it into the spherical shape you desire, then refreeze it so it sticks in that shape. In this case, the ice cube is your way of doing things that is outdated and need to change.
This one focuses on the individual people involved, in other words, it’s about how your team will react to the changes you want to implement. It channels psychology and acknowledges that humans aren’t capable of adapting to change at the drop of a hat.
The three stages are Ending (the old order coming to an end), Neutral (the period in between the old processes ending and the new being firmly established), and New Beginnings (when the new order is firmly solidified and people are secure in their place in it).
The Crucial Steps
You may have noticed a trend with the above examples – letting go of the old and embracing the new. This is especially important in marketing where old or “stale” campaigns can turn away consumers. There’s always the need for something fresh and interesting, and even though letting go of a concept that is currently successful can be difficult, it must be done eventually if you wish to move forward. A strategy only works for so long before it becomes redundant.
Essentially, when using change management in marketing you first need to look at your team. They have their ways of doing things and will want to stick to them, regardless of their effectiveness. By gently introducing the idea of a new approach to marketing, letting them get used to it, and even enthusiastic about the new concepts, you make sure that your next marketing strategy will be up to scratch. Empathy will get you far in the business world.
There are also ways you can use this approach when deciding when to change your marketing strategy, by focusing on the consumers. In this case, you turn things on their head. When a marketing concept becomes solidified in consumers’ minds they’re likely to gloss over it, whereas something new is exciting and draws their attention.
Ideally, you’ll be able to tweak your marketing strategies to keep that “fresh” feeling, drawing from change management strategies but doing the exact opposite of what they suggest – keeping things unexpected, in motion, and unfrozen.
Change isn’t easy at the best of times, but when it comes to marketing you need to be extra careful that you don’t end up causing problems. Whether it’s because of time, new events beyond your control, or unforeseen reactions, marketing campaigns can and do fail and you need to be ready to pick up the pieces afterward.
Change management is not just a tool for supporting the implementation of change, it’s a mindset that you need to keep yourself in if you want transitions to flow smoothly, especially in the turbulent markets where opinions can change at the drop of a hat.