13 Tips for Marketing Transformation: A Checklist for Change Agents

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Posted: March 14, 2015 | Modern Marketing

If you’re reading this blog article, you already know that growing revenue in an integrated and measurable way is the new imperative for  modern marketing. It’s a challenge that alters the course of companies and careers.

But actually DOING IT in the real world can sometimes feel impossibly complex. Turning strategy, best practices, and ideas into reality is always difficult. But limited budgets, competing priorities, organizational misalignment, internal politics, and never-ending pressure for immediate results make the task even more difficult. Where do you start? How do you convince your internal stakeholders to try (and fund) a new approach? How do you avoid project and program disasters?

I’ve found that it starts with a change agent. And, that’s you. Someone with the vision, courage, knowledge, and skills to put and keep your company on the path to revenue transformation. “Change Agent” probably isn’t the title of your job description. But it’s what your company needs—even when they don’t know it yet.

Here’s the bad news: there are no silver bullets or easy 3-step magic white papers for how to transform your company into a modern marketing giant (sorry!).

However, there are hard-earned lessons from the real world of revenue transformation that can help you. This list, 13 Tips for Transformation—A Checklist for Change Agents, comes from Intelligent Demand’s team of strategists, technologists, content developers, and account managers. We’ve applied these lessons in our agency and with our clients every single day. They come from experiences gained over scores of client engagements across multiple industries, use cases, and budget levels. So let’s dig in!

1. Tie everything back to your business goals: And your target/ideal customer, their customer journey, and the customer experience you want to create for them.

2. It takes courage: And at least one true change agent with vision and authority. If you are that person, fantastic. If you’re not—you have to recruit that person.

3. Make small bets: Launch, measure, optimize, and then scale based on success. Let the data guide you, not opinion. Write this on a sticky note and put it on your office wall: Crawl-Walk-Run.

4. Collaboration and alignment are essential:

• Define roles and process clearly
• Bring sales into the process early—and keep them in it!
• Bring your key executive sponsors into the process early—and keep them informed!
• If you are a subsidiary or group within a larger global or national brand, collaborate and integrate with others wherever possible

5. Document and communicate your data model and lead management processes: And, be sure to update them. I know that sounds boring. So what? If you don’t have your data model and lead management processes documented, you are headed for a world of hurt.

6. Deliver valuable, useful, relevant information with every touch: This tip is straight from content marketing 101. Your audience doesn’t really care about your company until they are in a buying mode. And even then, they only care about how your company can help them. Add value; don’t hurl brochures at your audience.

7. Think multi-channel throughout the customer journey: There’s a tendency to use multiple channels at the top-of-the-funnel and then pound leads with emails all the way into loyalty. Yes, multi-channel (and multi-device) marketing is difficult. But you have to do it. Your audience is on multiple channels. If you’re not engaging them there, someone else is.

8. Have a strong bias toward action: Testing and learning beats philosophy and talking.

9. Commit to a healthy balance between lead generation and lead nurturing: Do you have to fill your funnel with targeted, permission-based, opted-in leads? Yes. Do you have to nurture and manage those leads with relevant content and route them to sales at the right time? Yes. You have to do both. Trust me, doing this will pay off.

10. Get your core technology stack in place as early as you can: At a minimum, this means marketing automation integrated properly with your CRM system, integrated properly with your website/CMS system. Are there many, many other technologies in the modern MarTech stack? Yup. But start with core apps first. Get them working properly and branch out from there.

11. Enlist, educate, and enable your sales and channel partners: They’re the last critical mile of revenue. I know this is difficult work sometimes. Suck it up. Unless and until you turn your sales and channel partners into true partners, your marketing programs will be disconnected from revenue impact—no bueno.

12. Ask for forgiveness sometimes, not permission: Change agents take smart risks. Remember the part about courage that I mentioned above?

13. Set realistic expectations: This is especially important in the early phases. No, really.

I hope you’ll apply these tips in your world. Will there be hard days? Yes. Don’t give up. Be flexible and willing to try new things, but never waver from your goal of transforming the way your company generates revenue.

Be a change agent! It’s worth it.

What tips resonated with you? I’d love to hear what you think. Please share in the comments below.

Are you heading to SXSW? Come meet me in the Marketo Engagement Lounge, and attend my speaking session on Transformation Engagement Marketing, March 15 at noon.

John Common is Intelligent Demand's CEO and chief strategist. He brings over 15 years of experience working at the intersection of technology, digital media, and strategy in senior executive, marketing, sales, and business development roles. His entire career has been focused on creating profitable revenue growth for technology and service companies of all sizes from both inside the org chart and as an agency partner.

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You missed your chance to be a secret agent, but there's still time to become a change agent for #marketing:

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