Marketing Your Change

November 2, 2010 at 9:59 pm 1 comment

I have worked on many projects in my career.  Whether the effort was to deploy new system functionality or a new process to an organization, many were successful yet many were not.  A fundamental flaw, in my opinion, was related to acceptance.  Just like a new product launched into the marketplace, a new system or process has to be marketed in a similar way. 

Marketing is focused on 4 things – Product, Placement, Promotion, and Price.  As a Project Manager or Sponsor, we have to consider these areas of Marketing with as much effort as we work with our IT teams on a deployment plan.

Product – You have to help publicize how your new system or process will make the jobs of your stakeholders better.  Whether it helps to eliminate steps, reduce re-work — plan ahead and setup time to review the changes with the stakeholders.  As compared to just plopping it in front of them and expecting them to love it because someone from their organization provided some requirements.  Make your presentation or materials ALL ABOUT THEM – how it will help them directly. 

Placement – Normally for a new product, this is all about sales channels, placement in the channel (for instance, do you launch the product on an end-cap at the grocery store or a special display at the front of the store?).  For your system functionality or processes, you have to consider Placement in another way.  How do you get this in front of your stakeholders?  Do you launch a special website?  Do you host a launch location – setup a war-room for stakeholders to work from the first day?   Do you push the functionality to their desktops – front & center?  Taking the time to specifically determine the best way for your stakeholders to access the system/process will give them a better chance of happily & easily adopting it.

Promotion – okay, so when launching a new product, you can offer buy one, get one free.  Not so easy when it comes to system functionality or a new process.  Not many IT leaders would be willing to spend the money to give every business sponsor two apps for the price of one!  And two process changes at the same time – not what I would consider a bonus!  Instead, consider how you can work with your stakeholders to get “more bang for their buck”.  Could the new system functionality support another objective?  Perhaps there has been a desire to expand the use of the application you are modifying.  If you are going to have to train a group of users on the new functionality, perhaps you can train a new group of users along with the existing users at the same time.  When launching a new process, maybe you can find a way to share the process documentation with another group in the company who has a similar process.  If they decide to adopt aspects of your process, you might be able to find synergies in resource sharing or training.

Price – Again, unlike a product in a retail store, you cannot do competitive analysis to find out how others have priced their product and set yours accordingly.  Or can you?  If you choose to build new system functionality in-house, why not let stakeholders know how this solution ranks against functionality that was available for purchase.  And don’t just look at the initial costs – do a complete analysis of total cost of ownership.  Hardware, third-party software, maintenance, etc – the whole package from the start of the project through the first 5+ years.  For those stakeholders who want to do what is best for the company, help them see how this implementation (system or process) helps the bottom line!

Building a new system or process is not an easy task.  It takes a lot of work.  Doing everything possible to make sure that your effort is accepted with open arms by your stakeholders is worth it!  You only have one chance at a first impression!

Here are a few sites with some helpful articles regarding communicating about change.

Marketing comes in many forms.  Communication plans, events, and many more.  In future posts, I will share a few methods that I have used.  Hopefully some of them will spark an idea for you!


Entry filed under: Business Analysis, Business Governance, IIBA, IT, Leadership, Management, PMO, project management, Requirements Management, Technology, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Dave Schrenk  |  November 3, 2010 at 7:12 am

    I see no other way to subscribe except by posting a comment.


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