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Six steps to changing your organisation's marketing mindset

Experiencing some internal resistance to doing things differently? Here's how to bring people on board with new marketing methods.

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Posted by Michelle
22 August 2017

How to bring people round to a different strategy

Marketing changes constantly, and it changes fast. We won't delve too deeply into marketing history (although half of our office are currently binge-watching Mad Men, so we're kind of in the mood to...), but we will say that, in the digital age, it's easy to get left behind.

Even something as (relatively) new as SEO has changed massively since the early days of the discipline – and we talk to a lot of people who are using what was best practice a few years ago, but is now more than a little bit outdated.

But we also understand that it's difficult to make change happen across a business – people get used to a certain way of doing things, and can be resistant to change. This is definitely true when sales and marketing are concerned – if current methods are getting good results, why take the gamble?

This is something we hear a lot, particularly when it comes to making the switch to inbound marketing, redesigning a website to consider mobile, or investing in paid search.

The merits of all these things are pretty clear. We know that, and you know that. But your sales team doesn't. And your MD's not convinced. Getting things done that are going to move the business forward will take some doing – you'll need to change a few minds.


Do your research

You might know that an idea's going to work, but if you're going to convince everyone else, then you'll have to prove it. Cold hard facts and figures, case studies, average return on investment, anecdotal evidence of reputable companies doing the same thing… it all makes a difference. And you'll need more than one source to really convince anyone.

Be prepared to make this happen outside of work – unless you've been specifically tasked to investigate, we're guessing this is an idea you've had independently and don't have any formal backing for yet. Don't rush it in the spare half an hour you can grab each day – take the time to build a proper case.


Summarise your research

Don't be too precious about your research, though – there's a good chance most people you're trying to convince are never going to read the whole thing. The big report has to exist, but mostly just so everyone knows you've actually done the idea its due diligence. In reality, no one has the time, patience, or interest to digest the whole thing.

Making sure you've got a few key headline stats or talking points is really important for selling an idea. PowerPoint presentations should never contain every single bit of research – if you're going down that road, keep it short, sweet, and impactful, with the factors that are most likely to change someone's mind.


Stay positive

Even if you feel like your business is currently doing a terrible job of a certain thing – hence the need for a change! – no one likes to be told they're doing a terrible job. Be diplomatic when explaining the need for a new mindset – it's less about fixing something broken, and more about making things better.

However, you need to find a balance, and not be so positive about the way things are that it seems like there's no need to do things differently. It's a tricky one!

Download the beginner's guide to inbound marketing


Develop a strategy

An idea is one thing, an idea backed up by research is another. But it's still only the beginning. Don't expect people to instantly understand how it's going to work for your organisation, and don't expect other people to come up with a strategy for planning and implementing your new way of doing things – even if it's usually their job to do so.

Plan out how you expect things to go – projected timescales, responsibilities, results, and detail on what you'll actually be doing. If you're saying "let's do inbound marketing", people need to know what that's actually going to look like in practice, for example.


Get some backup

Strength in numbers! If you can bring people round to your way of thinking, whether it's a superior or peers, then it can really help to strengthen your case when you take it to senior decision makers. Showing that people (other than yourself!) understand this new mindset, and are on board with making it work, goes a long way to getting things moving, as the journey towards a complete cultural change is already in motion.

Ideas spread organically – getting people involved early on is essential to getting approval from decision makers, but it's also important for making the change actually happen, because it feels more natural than a top-down command to change the way you work.


Fear the worst – and persevere

People aren't going to like it. They won't understand the idea, won't understand why they need to change, and may actively resent and resist any attempts to do things differently. It's not an "if" – it's a "when" and "how many" sort of thing.

Be prepared to re-sell, re-explain, refine and redevelop your ideas. Stick by it, keep pushing the benefits, and always make the time to answer questions – and eventually people will come around to it.

And if you get the idea off the ground? Don't expect things to run smoothly. There will be delays, there'll be more resistance, and there'll be teething problems as people get used to new practices. Make allowances for this in your strategy, and be patient with people who need help.

A change in business mindset is a big deal, so don't expect it to happen overnight – and don't expect it to be easy, either. But with preparation and perseverance, it will happen.

Look at us, for example – we made the switch to inbound marketing a few years ago, and now we help other businesses get there too!

If you want a bit more information about starting with inbound marketing, you can download our free slideshow below – it's full of stats and straightforward explanations of how (and why) it works. Perfect for getting people on board, or as the starting point of your own research. Have a look! 

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