On the 1960’s sitcom, Bewitched, Samantha Stevens often secretly devised a plan, and unbeknownst to those that were about to be effected, wiggled her nose and made the desired change. The results were normally comical and dismally off course, leaving relationships in peril (usually hers and Darrin’s) and creating clean-up efforts that lasted the remainder of the thirty-minute episode.
When organizations launch a new product, they often go about it the very same secretive way. The Project Team prepares the launch behind closed doors for weeks or months, and at the last minute, they spring it on their employees, leaving no time to effectively communicate the change or create necessary team buy-in. Weeks later Management and the Project Team ‘post mortem’ the launch and are astonished that the resulting sales were not as predicted.
In a June 2010 CNN article, Frances Cole Jones talks about the Duncan Hines Cake Mix Marketing Theory. “When Duncan Hines began making cake mix, the decision to have cooks at home add the egg was made in the marketing department. Why is this effective? Because they realized that when we add the egg, we feel proud because we contributed.” The marketing department knew the mixes could be produced with dried egg but the key ingredient to success, the buy-in and pride of the baker, would be lost.
The Duncan Hines Cake Mix Theory is what was missing from Bewitched‘s spells and in many unsuccessful product launches. Samantha needed Darrin, and you need your employees, to feel like they were included in the change. Bring them into the conversation at the beginning, communicate your plans, how you see the change impacting your product portfolio, what the marketing will look like, and how you view adoption. The steps of the launch may change as you go, but as long as there is transparency and communication, employee support and launch success will follow.
Charla Fox-Schafer delivers energizing, out-of-the-ordinary, sales & marketing presentations and training. Please visit www.foxville.org to learn more. Charla will be speaking at the May 5-6 IBA Marketing Conference.