In our second blog post, we highlighted the difference between point change—where a change program is focused on a single, new capability—and system change, where the change program is focused on redesigning a process of how several capabilities work together. We see companies purchasing new capabilities—cloud-based marketing automation tools, digital asset management tools, data science capabilities, etc.—but introducing these capabilities via point change. This reinforces the siloed structure that most companies have today and limits the value of these new capabilities. The better approach is to recognize that these tools and capabilities are designed to be integrated, and to redesign the marketing process to be more automated and integrated across functions. In other words, use the tools and capabilities to break the silos by deploying them via system change.


There are four steps to implementing system change:


1. State the reason for change. While this seems obvious, this first step is the one that seems to create the most trouble. Many companies settle for quick slogans, but the challenge with that is that it becomes very difficult for the organization to connect the dots between the slogan and the actual change taking place. For example, one common misstep that I see is that companies will state a very broad reason for change—“We are putting patients first!”—and then introduce a narrow change such as launching a new marketing automation tool. While the marketing automation tool is a component to becoming customer-centric, it isn’t, by itself, the customer-centric solution. Linking a very broad reason for change while implementing a narrow change will lead to disappointing results and organizational confusion.


A better approach is to recognize that the reason for change consists of two parts: The benefit that your customers will experience from the change, and the benefit that your company will achieve from the change. While we do recommend providing an overall view of the reason for change, we also recommend developing a more detailed reason for change for each step of the project road map. For example, in our first blog we provided a four-phase road map from tactic marketing to orchestrated marketing. We recommend that the reason for change—with both customer and company benefits stated—be developed when moving from phase one to phase two, from phase two to phase three, and from phase three to phase four. This will ensure that the reason for change is tightly linked to the actual change occurring.


2. Identify who is impacted by the change. This also can seem obvious. If we know what is changing, the road map for change and the reason for change, identifying who is impacted by change should be straightforward, yet many companies treat change as a binary activity: for example, if two groups are impacted by the change and then they each get put through the change program. However, the two groups may be impacted in very different ways, and the impact is likely to change over time. Therefore, it becomes extremely important to not just identify who is impacted by the change, but also to identify the magnitude of the change that each group is feeling over time. Additionally, it will be very important to have a clear, honest assessment of “what’s in it for me” and the anticipated concerns for each stakeholder group. Doing so will enable us to better manage the change process as we move along the road map.


3. Show how the change occurs. This is where the detail and discipline of change occurs. For each stakeholder group impacted by change, and for each phase of the road map, we build a communication plan. The communication plan is split into four levels: become aware of the change, engage in the change, enable the change and commit to the change.


For each level, we identify the key moments of change and the messages and channels for the change. Think of this as a communication plan for each stakeholder group affected by change.


4. Measure the change. There are a range of KPIs that are established to measure progress made in delivering change. The important aspect of measuring change is to ensure that the measurements are linked, from tactical KPIs showing the process of change that’s occurring to stakeholders accepting the change and the resulting customer benefits. Standard customer KPIs focus on engagement, consistency of engagement, depth of engagement, sales gain and Net Promoter Score (NPS). Standard internal KPIs consist of measuring whether the change occurred, how often the new capability is being used, and the breadth of use of the new capability.


The key to being a successful customer-centric organization is to have new, integrated, automated capabilities and, even more importantly, to ensure that the organization is prepared to accept, adopt and use the new capabilities. Only then will customers benefit.