In IT circles, the concept of marketing is not one that’s readily embraced (understatement of the decade). Instead, it’s often considered advertising or spin. Like it or not, you actually have to tell people that your project has been a success and is likely to make a difference in their working lives. It’s vital that everyone understands and acknowledges the efforts you and your team have made, particularly if you need to conduct a similar exercise in the future.
You’ll need ramp up your marketing efforts early in the process. For example, giving your project and new ITSM function an identity right from the start can have a powerful, unifying effect. Consider launching the new service as publicly as you can too. The success of some critical initiatives such as self service depends on employee uptake and utilization. Make sure everyone knows what you have to offer – even if you find the process a little painful.
We recognize that marketing isn’t an activity that comes naturally to everyone. That’s where it’s helpful to understand what other organizations have done.
Following are a few ideas from those who have gritted their teeth and bitten the marketing bullet:
Identity, Branding and Naming(painful but worth it)
Creating a brand identity for your new ITSM service is a good idea. Start by choosing a good name—one that conveys something about your charter and team ethic. Naming the project and service can help unify the team and promote a strong sense of self-efficacy as discussed earlier.
If you have the budget or internal talent, you should consider creating a visual identity for the service too. A logo, color palette and font treatment can impart a professional image and instill more confidence in your internal customers. Just be sure that you adhere to your company’s existing style guide and that you live up to the promise of your brand in order to avoid it becoming an object of ridicule and derision.
Promotional Materials (don’t groan)
Another way to get the word out and infuse excitement and support for your project is by distributing branded giveaways. Consider applying your visual identity, self-service URL or social media icon to posters, key fobs, car chargers, t-shirts, screen cleaners or anything else that’s popular in your organization.
Make sure you choose your objects wisely. For example, branded screwdrivers that employees can use to take apart their own devices are not a great idea. And, yes, we have seen it happen.
Selling Self Service
These days, we all know how ineffective the “build it and they will come” strategy is. If you don’t tell users where your self-service portal is they may never end up using it at all. Case in point: We encountered an organization that spent a great deal of time and effort building an amazing, easy-to-use and fully automated self-service capability. They were completely puzzled that nobody actually used it. When we enquired as to how they had promoted it within the company, we learned that they had not promoted it all.
Words of wisdom: All it takes is a few posters around the office, a quick email campaign and a link from the company intranet.
Selling Your Skills and Talent
It’s easy to forget that you and your team possess valuable skills and deliver vital services to the broader organization. Some of the most powerful internal ITSM promotional campaigns we’ve seen have focused on introducing the service desk practitioners themselves. Sometimes these campaigns involve wall sized posters of the agents, complete with their likes and dislikes writ large in 100pt font – but you really don’t need to go this far, some gentle social media promotion will do just fine . This strategy can have a humanizing effect on how the new service is perceived, while also reminding your customers that your team is much more than just a resource.
Celebrating the culmination of months of careful planning, skilful communication and a successful implementation is something best done in person. Launch events are a great way to publically demonstrate project completion and engage with your internal customers.
Promote your event ahead of time, keep the formalities to a minimum and the make sure the finger food is plentiful. You’ll also want to have some machines and staff on hand to demonstrate any new capabilities that affect end-users. A PC clinic or genius bar can also be popular ways to interact with your customers.
What’s your story?
What experiences have you had in promoting your ITSM capabilities? How have you exploited new technologies in selling what you do? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below or on Twitter as @messagemonger