Marketing change strategies – a lean, mean, fighting machine

Marketing change strategies

We are living in a time of change, driven by an unexpected and unwanted crisis. Change is a subject that countless books have been written about, professional coaches espouse and it affects us all whether we like it or not. The best we can do is to be prepared for change. We can only alter our mindset and approach when change comes. For this reason, we decided to pen an article about marketing change strategies and how to prepare ourselves for whatever lies ahead.

Read on to find out more about change and how marketing can adapt and evolve.

To speak with a member of the Think Beyond team, call 01625 682110 for a no obligation chat.

Theoretical Model: The Kübler-Ross Change Curve

The Kübler-Ross Change Curve is an adaptation of the Kübler-Ross Model, or the five stages of grief, as introduced in a 1969 novel about working with terminally-ill patients. Despite its critics, there existed no formal model for this in medical textbooks and it outlined stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross later proposed that the model could be used to describe any life-changing event. In the 1980s, the Change Curve was firmly rooted into management science and applied to performance when encountering significant change. It is common to see people tasked with leading change, who are also known as ‘change agents’.

Kubler-Ross Change Curve
Kübler-Ross Change Curve

Recognising where your clients and your business are on this curve is important to understand what actions are appropriate and when. The UK is generally considered as between the Depression and Experiment stages. As we receive more clarity on the next steps, we may move further up the curve.

Root-cause analysis – Ask yourself why cutting back on marketing was easy

Many businesses have slashed marketing budgets during the Covid-19 pandemic. Ultimately, there is but one question to answer. Why was cutting back on marketing so easy? The answer may be that your efforts were not delivering ROI in the first place. Once we come out of the crisis, it may be worth remembering that marketing is no longer the colouring-in department. It may be time to think differently as we move into Decision and Integration.

Lean on marketing transformation

The following three strategies can help you get lean fast:

1) Lean marketing

Six sigma, kaizen or continuous improvement, are some examples of methodologies to reduce waste and variation in processes. Many marketing activities are processes and therefore are open to improvement, which we call lean marketing or marketing transformation. A leaner, more agile and effective marketing function is more adaptable to change but still open to cuts in times of strife.

2) Zero-based marketing

Enter, zero-based marketing, adapted from zero-based budgeting (ZBB). Zero-based marketing is a governance framework that ensures marketing expenditure is treated as an investment and has to compete on measures of financial return alongside other projects. If the discretionary parts of marketing spend all generate ROI, why would you cut it back as heavily in a crisis? Would you have reduced but not stopped?

3) Marketing capability

Another way of making sure that marketing is strong enough to weather future storms is to look in the mirror at your marketing capability. Are your marketing agencies delivering ROI? Do your in-house marketing staff need up-skilling? Are your customers loyal in a downturn? Ultimately, you need the marketing leadership skills, the right talent and investment in essential marketing skills. Now is a good time to reflect.

Reflecting on change

Mean to keep them keen

Yes, we are talking about competition. Are you monitoring what your competitors are doing during a downturn and matching or competing for business post-crisis? If the answer is no, you may be ceding market share for short-term gain. A competitive marketing strategy is squarely aimed at getting ahead and staying ahead. After all, if you don’t recognise how the competitive landscape is changing, will you be fit when we exit the crisis and will you have the stamina for the next one?

Data-driven insights, coupled with research to understand your value proposition and sources of competitive advantage, can help you grow. Traditional marketing research tools such as PESTLE and SWOT analysis should be regularly reviewed.

Fighting to be together

We all like a good love story, especially when the pairing can’t be together and we hope they will eventually reunite. What better romantic ending than finally getting your sales and marketing teams into the same room to unite in a common cause. Sales and marketing misalignment is the single biggest reason for revenue opportunities left behind. Integrating your two sources of revenue generation ensures your sales team earn commission and marketing add value.

Conclusion – Marketing change and a new approach

Marketing should be a lean, mean, fighting machine. But what about the machine? If the marketing engine was switched off until the coast was clear, were you investing your marketing funds wisely?

Thinking long-term about your marketing after Coronavirus is a challenge but one that may put you in a much stronger position in future. As the social distancing is relaxed, a good starting point is a marketing audit to give a health check to your marketing and see where you can benefit most quickly. Giving your engine a ‘tune-up’ keeps it going for longer and increases your ROI.

Machine learning
You don't use this to count so why is everything so manual?

Why Think Beyond could be your growth machine

Our qualified marketing consultants are eager to help you deliver your marketing transformation to generate ROI. Think Beyond is a marketing consultancy agency based in Wilmslow, Cheshire. Our tried and tested frameworks, analytical models and marketing change strategies help get you more for every £1 you spend on marketing. In summary, we help you accelerate your marketing potential.

If you would like to find out more about marketing change, call an expert today on 01625 682110.

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