Executive leadership of a mid-sized biopharma company set a new vision for vastly improving its customer experience, and funded a technology platform and realigned the internal multichannel marketing (MCM) center of excellence (CoE) to collaborate with brand teams in designing, developing, executing and optimizing customer campaigns.
In addition to learning new technologies, both the CoE and brands had to adopt a new mindset, new processes, new accountabilities and new ways of working. Expectations were high, especially for launch brands who were first to try this more systematic approach to designing and delivering customer experiences.
Unfortunately the learning curve was steep for CoE members, and this undermined their confidence when engaging brand teams. In addition, the culture of the brand teams made many of them resist these changes and continue to work with their external partners.
The CoE leader partnered with Health Accelerators to understand what specifically was holding back her team and the brands from enabling the company’s ambitious customer experience vision, and to quickly develop solutions in order to deliver results within a few months. We initially conducted several internal advisory boards made up of CoE customers and other stakeholders, and uncovered historical trust issues due to the CoE’s lackluster delivery of previous initiatives.
After reviewing the insights from the advisory boards with the CoE leadership team, we collaborated with the team to design and create a change program that included the following elements (not exhaustive):
- In-depth training for the CoE team with IT on the new MCM platform, use cases, RACIs and processes to improve their knowledge, skill and confidence levels
- Internal communications focused on enrolling the brand teams (senior leadership presentations, intranet articles and success stories, cross-functional meetings, external speaker series) by explaining the new approach to marketing and why it was important to customers and critical to the success of the brands and the company
- Designed, programmed and ran a 2-week mobile scavenger hunt to demonstrate principles of customer engagement, i.e., segmentation, content strategy, multichannel, data triggers, gamification, continuous learning, interactivity
This was a complex organizational change effort that required alignment among executive leadership, CoE, brands, corporate communications and IT. The advisory boards helped us quickly uncover many of the root causes of the lack of collaboration and progress between the CoE and the brand teams, and the in-depth CoE training gave the team the confidence it needed to proactively “sell” services to the brands who were hesitant to give up their historical external partners and ways of working.
The main role of internal communications was to demonstrate executive leadership commitment, showcase external best practices and internal early “wins,” and help brands and supporting functions transition to the new way of marketing as quickly as practical.