One of the biggest challenges when implementing a knowledge management strategy or platform is getting leadership buy-in and visible advocacy. If you have that, it goes a long way to solving a second significant challenge: user engagement and adoption. A sticky marketing approach can help.
The basic idea behind “sticky marketing” is to attach yourself to existing efforts, and I’ve written previously about three tenets – meet people where they are (leverage tools or delivery channels they’re already using), participate in marketing department initiatives already underway (newsletters, town hall meetings, etc.) and make the personal connections that ensure you and your department will stick in people’s minds when they have information needs.
Carpe diem – actually, “capere occasionem”
A consulting colleague of mine recently co-led a series of workshops for a large NGO, with a focus on “knowledge transfer” and on creating an environment that fosters innovation and risk taking. One of the exercises involved small team presentations on the results of blue-sky thinking sessions: “here’s what we would do about XYZ if we had the time and resources.” As luck would have it, the most senior executive in the organization stopped by unexpectedly, and sat through most of the presentations. When they concluded, he commented favorably on the exercise, and asked what was happening next to carry the ideas forward and share them. My colleague was hesitant to commit, but her co-facilitator immediately answered: “We haven’t developed that plan yet, but if you say it’s important, it’s important!” And he stood up, looked around the room and said “It’s important!”
Every workshop participant heard his declaration, and as my colleague put it, “a good client has now become a great client” because there is visible executive support. That support includes regular check ins with executive team members, who have committed to modeling knowledge transfer best practices for the organization. The participants know that the initiative has high visibility so they’re engaged and motivated to play active roles – and that’s all leading to some great new ideas for the NGO’s next strategic developments.
1,2,3 and now 4
So, the fourth tenet of sticky marketing is to attach yourself to existing opportunities even when they appear unexpectedly. Informal opportunities to garner top leadership advocacy and support often yield the best results. How many of us have given structured presentations to the C-Suite only to be met with silence, no questions, and a brief “thank you”? There are actually lots of serendipitous moments to impress your organization’s leaders; you don’t have to try and get on their calendars, knock on their office doors or be limited to only 1 or 2 presentations per year. You know your stuff, so don’t be reluctant to seize the occasion, whether it’s an elevator chat, a few remarks at the coffee machine, a quick word after a company “town hall” meeting, etc. Another upside of seizing an unexpected opportunity? It doesn’t give you time to get nervous!