Overcome the Dangers of “Legacy Thinking”

One of the biggest obstacles to marketing innovation and relevancy sits between our ears.

One of the biggest obstacles to marketing innovation and relevancy sits between our ears. I call it “legacy thinking.” My clients constantly complain that their teams over-identify with old projects and programs. They feel threatened when those programs need to be scrutinized or eliminated altogether. That “legacy thinking” overshadows any chance of a marketing innovation breakthrough.

We advise CMOs and CEOs on accelerating marketing innovation and growth, and I’m excited when clients can overcome this obstacle.

Their journey is similar to the disruption other industries are facing. The auto, hospitality, financial services, “bricks and mortar” retail, and legal professions are the tip of the iceberg.

Here is a summary of my client’s situation.

The CMO of a large media company saw their legacy revenues declining. They needed help to pivot from a legacy manufacturing and distribution model to a forward-thinking, innovative digital organization.

We worked with them to deepen trust among the team members. Without brutal honesty, the resistance and legacy behaviors would simply continue underground. Leadership needed to “go deep” and determine why several of their peers were dragging their feet with the announced changes. Those conversations enabled us to identify the real causes of resistance.

During the first 60 days of working with their teams, we conducted in-depth interviews with stakeholders. We then uncovered the non-essential marketing programs, and provided them with a model to prioritize or eliminate them altogether.

We also observed their leadership meetings, cadence and design. Based on the data gathered from these interactions, we provided the CMO with recommendations of what to stop doing, what to celebrate, and what to measure.

Together, these actions set the stage for marketing innovation and digital transformation to become habits, not compliance exercises.

Within the first five months of deploying these new habits, they reported some impressive results:

  • Online subscriber growth grew double digits
  • Marketing boasted the highest employee engagement scores in the company
  • The leadership team increased the percentage of time spent on strategic versus tactical and legacy business topics

You can learn more about their escape from “legacy thinking” here.

Copyright 2018, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.

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