The world around us is constantly changing and those changes affect us in ways we may not realize. When somebody invents a new gizmo and people begin to adopt it, the world changes. Last week we noted the passing of Steve Jobs with sadness. Steve Jobs was a change agent extraordinaire; in the last eight years of his life, he changed the world significantly. First, he gave us the iPod, so we could carry our music with us wherever we went (making the Sony Walkman obsolete over night). Then he gave us the iPhone, putting a portable computer in the hands of millions of people, and then came the iPad, a tablet computer that others had tried unsuccessfully before (Bill Gates most notably), only this one caught fire because of the following of the iPhone, and the support of a myriad of applications.
What do these things have to do with marketing? Everything. Marketing these devices is one of the things Jobs was very good at doing. I can hardly remember the last cell phone that I had that was just a phone. It might have been the last one that lived in my car. I got my first portable cell phone in 1998. You could make calls on it, it had a calendar, a clock, an alarm, games, and it was bigger than the portable house phones that we seldom use. It was shortly after that, that I stopped wearing a wristwatch because my cell phone was always with me, and it always displayed a clock when you turned it on. See how change slowly creeps into your life.
My iPhone is almost more important than my computer. I can read and write email, I send text messages, I can surf the web to find answers to questions that I have or look up information. My iPhone keeps all of my appointments, my contacts, and my music, it’s a camera, and it shoots stills, and video. It has very cool games, and applications that help me daily. Oh, that’s right, I can call people on it too, and it’s a video phone. Who could have imagined back then where we’d be today, when I got my first car phone back in 1987? Steve Jobs could when he and Steve Wozniack formed Apple Computers in Steve Job’s garage, in 1976; they took the world by storm developing one of the first personal computers. So how do you manage change in a marketing world? With all of these new devices, are you taking advantage of the marketing opportunities now available to you? How do you initiate these changes?
First, you must remember if you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got, but even that is debatable because sometimes doing the same thing repeatedly brings diminishing results. If you begin to realize that you need to make changes to your marketing efforts, but you are not the person in control of the budget, how do you start to change minds and convince people that you are right? Start with a logical argument that details your suppositions, and then begin gathering your market research data that supports your arguments. Test it to make sure that you don’t introduce any unwanted bias into the argument or the data.
Once you have your data and your facts, begin building a logical business reason for making the change. Outline the benefits to management, define measurable stakeholder goals and outline risks both for not doing and for doing the project. Be specific about the costs, the potential return on investment and make sure you consider impacts to the business culture. Once you have won approval from management to go ahead with the project you must effectively communicate to the various parties involved what’s in it for them, along with the all of the details of the changes that are about to take place in order to enlist the support of people whose involvement you may require.
Resistance is inevitable and you must be prepared to counter resistance and to align those employees to the strategic nature to the organization. Sometimes it’s necessary to establish some type of training program in order to insure compliance with the changes you initiate. If the changes are significant, it might be important to provide employee counseling to alleviate and fears that are related to the change. As you make your changes, monitor them and be prepared to make midcourse corrections as needed.
My website contains links to all the articles I’ve written for the HVAC-Talk Newsletter. If you want your marketing efforts pay big dividends, contact a marketing professional. I’m available to assist you in all of your marketing efforts. If you need a branding consultation, a complete strategic marketing plan, or help with lead generation, call or send an email to discuss your needs.
Andy Fracica is president and CEO of Fracica Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in marketing, PR, social media, and lead generation strategy. He has over 30 years of sales, marketing, and product management experience in the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. He concentrates on helping manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and startup companies deliver their message in an ever increasingly crowded market by showing them how to do more with less($). Contact him at 260-338-4554, [email protected] or visit the website www.fracicaenterprises.com.