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5 Ways for CMOs to Lead Change

CMOs and marketing leaders today have to be comfortable initiating change in their organizations. It’s not an easy feat to drive change through your company and get your stakeholders on board to help you reach your business objectives. Here are my tips for Leading in Change that I’ve learned from our customers as well as from personal experience growing Allocadia:

Create a core group of marketing futurists leading the charge

Create a core group of ‘marketing futurists’ who are capable and willing to lead change. Identify who on your team is a natural leader– someone who can think strategically, but also execute – and group them together to lead transformation projects. It’s critical to provide these agents of change in your organizations with support: it’s not easy to say status quo isn’t ok, especially in large organizations. Marketing futurists put a stake in the ground, charge ahead and take risks. Many Allocadia customers are such agents of change (shout out to them!) Once established, these marketing futurists should engage with key stakeholders early, creating an extended core project group. We recently heard how key this was for one of our customers when they implemented their MPM project.

Focus on the outcome (clearly & often)

In order for people within your entire marketing organization to support and engage in change, communicate clearly (and often) about the end-goal of a transformation project. There are a few ways to approach this:

  • Give your transformation project a name that focuses on the outcome. For example, some of our customers call their Marketing Performance Management implementations of Allocadia the “Path to Performance”, enabling them to become a revenue-driven marketing organization.
  • Try and avoid having too many big projects on the go at once. Focus on a core set of projects that have significant impacts.
  • Think of your effort as a transformation project not solely a change management project. Transformation allows you to focus on the outcome more than the process. And remember, with any transformation project, there will be up and downs. Focusing on the outcome will help keep people aligned and motivated to smooth out the bumps.

Identify the steps involved in your transformation projects

One way to solve hard problems is to break them down into manageable chunks. Take one concise view on what steps are necessary to achieve your desired outcome. For example, think of just one PowerPoint slide to start. A bigger, detailed plan may be necessary, but this is about a simple view of steps required, that you can also use to communicate internally to align, motivate and begin the work towards launch. One useful exercise to help you uncover the steps, is to pull out the business pains you’re trying to solve. For example, when we help our customers solve the ROI problem, we say “one step is to understand your ‘investments’ or the ‘I’ in marketing ROI”). These are our recommended steps for marketing teams to tackle the process of becoming a revenue-driven marketing organization. You can create a similar slide or model for any big transformation project.

Move quickly to launch

I believe that getting to launch quickly can be one of the most effective elements in a successful transformation project. Momentum can be a powerful agent. Used a phased approach to launch, calling your first phase “go-live’ step as the official launch. For Allocadia customers, launch is the phase when their end-users are inputting their planned spend into Allocadia. The idea is to keep things simple.

Make change part of the ongoing discussion

It’s best to acknowledge that change is part of the process, and while there may be bumps it doesn’t pay to ignore it or say, “it will be easy”. To be successful, it’s always better to say change needs a ‘change mentality’ with people involved and supporting the change. Focus on the big picture, and get clarity on the both the outcomes and steps needed to get there. It’s about how you, your team and your organization think about and embrace change, which ultimately leads to progress and innovation. So bring on change!

  • On Change Management (from an Allocadia customer): “Allocadia is a very user-friendly tool; I think it facilitates a very simple user experience. That said there are quite a bit of users that are very comfortable with current processes… There is an art and a science to change management, and that continues to be a hurdle we are clearing. We were able to successfully deploy across a large user base, and for change management I can declare victory, at least for this first release… Using early adopters to be our advocates is critical.”

As CEO of Allocadia, I’ve had to learn to lead in a rapidly growing, fast-moving market. And as marketers building Allocadia, we have learned a lot about selling to CMOs: their needs and challenges, and the exciting opportunities that lie ahead in this new Marketing 2.0 world. This Leading in Change: CEO Blog Series is intended to help inspire CMOs and marketing operations to lead and build data-driven marketing organizations.