Concep Guest Blog: Philip Santo

Global mergers can be complex, creating multiple corporate headaches for the organisation. Dealing with large numbers of employees and multiple offices in locations around the globe, and the  disparate company structures that need to be reorganised before seamlessly coming together as a single entity,  only increases the complexity.

A key requirement is to get all staff onto the same digital and technology platform to ensure standardised processes and procedures. This means defining the roadmap and working with personnel across all your locations and regions and ensuring everyone is on-board.  Essential to the success of this process is consistent corporate communications.  Central to any corporate merger’s success is efficient email marketing and client communication.

# 1: Define the shape of your future communication needs

It's essential that the central marketing team  understands the firms' corporate legacy and what is needed to shape future communication needs. This may involve travelling to the different locations or regional offices to talk to different types of users. To assist Central Marketing in understand how they can help regional offices accomplish their goals its important they fully understand what they do day-to-day in terms of their marketing requirements.  Use these findings and research to feed into the vision of a single, centralised communication platform. The ultimate goal should be a unified approach to email marketing that can be tailored to local market needs as required.

# 2 Plan and Control the Roll Out

To ensure successful take-up the Central Marketing team must roll out the new platform in a series of controlled, planned phases. Central to its success is the need to look at specific user group requirements and understand what legacy tools they have been using.   Each user group will have slightly different requirements that will need to be reflected in the migration process.  This will make sure that the roll-out is controlled and successful.

# 3 Train and educate

Organise a series of workshops throughout the organisation to train and educate users about the key functionality and benefits of the new communications platform. Educate users even further, using recorded sessions that are made readily available on the social pages of your organisation such as Yammer. This will be a vital internal resource for on-boarding; provide an online content repository and the training Webinars. It's also an opportunity to create a communication campaign to get people excited about the benefits of the new system.

# 4 Be realistic about the deadline

Ensure you agree and communicate the migration deadline to all your users. Moving a deadline means loses valuable momentum and will have a negative impact on adoption and use.  Once all the users have been migrated, it’s important to provide a forum to capture user’s general feedback.  Their response and types of questions asked will be a good indication that they have quickly mastered the general functionality of the new platform and incorporated it into their everyday working lives.  

#5. Create added-value with new functionality

To maximise success, Marketing should focus on significantly improving a few key areas of functionality – functionality that makes users’ jobs easier and more efficient and that they might not have had the benefit of in their legacy system.

Central Marketing should run workshop programmes where they can listen to user issues to ensure the new platform delivers both functionality and value-added benefits. By interviewing users, you will know if the new marketing system is providing things that simply weren’t possible with their previous marketing and email solutions.  Ensure you are able to address or improve any limited functionality by specifically communicating how you will be getting rid of pain points. Remember to identify and communicate the Big Wins highlighting the human aspect of the story. 

#6. Work closely with your email marketing technology vendor

Your MarTech vendor should understand your business and the strategic goals you want to achieve.  A good vendor will work with you to define the roadmap, provide support and material for training and on boarding and advise you on best practice when you need it. They should also be able to provide you the ability to scale up when you need it and give guarantees that the new platform is better able to cope with your organisation’s growth in email volume usage. They should also help support you in the creation of a de-centralised marketing approach, allowing local regions or offices to have the autonomy they need whilst ensure that Central marketing maintain control of the brand, standards and procedures. Aim to work with the vendor who is best suited to where you are in your marketing maturity and who can grow with you. 

#7 Define how users will measure success

Decide on what a successful unified system will look like and how you will measure success.  Will it be the number of trained users by a certain date or an employee satisfaction survey to evaluate the success of the programme?  More importantly, ensure that you set standardised goals for every region and office to measure their performance against.   These may include increase in usage and client engagement, but also more consistent branding and better looking collateral for emailing clients and prospects.

Finally, never lose sight of the fact that the overall purpose of having a unified platform is to create a stronger brand and more consistent experience for clients and prospects.  They should be at the heart of every decision you and your expanded team.

 About the author: Philip Santo is Global Leader, Marketing Operations & Analytics at Cushman & Wakefield – one of the world’s leading commercial estate service firms after merging with real estate firm DTZ where he was responsible for the migration of 6 legacy systems onto a unified email marketing platform for 900 users in 12 months.