Centuries ago, a wise man said there's nothing permanent except change. In a world inundated with disruptive change – from the way we communicate, to the way we conduct business, to the way we operate our vehicles – this has never been more true.

Agility has become a prerequisite to success in business and table stakes for marketing. However, today’s marketers must also keep their core commitments on the path to growth, remaining laser-focused on achieving defined business objectives. Balancing both can be overwhelming, even for the most seasoned marketing professionals. 

Over the course of my career, I’ve been lucky enough to help enterprise brands successfully weather transformative change, largely because our teams have been viewed as true consultative partners to business leaders. 

Because effective storytelling during times of change is the lynchpin to success. Savvy executives understand and appreciate marketing’s role to craft and hone a message that resonates with key stakeholders, while ushering the company along the path to growth. Marketing can help translate trends and opportunities into practical tactics and strategies, weaving together a story to positively position the company and brand despite market disruptions. The key to success is managing the shifting tides of change without falling victim to inevitable distractions that take us off the path to growth.

Here are three best practices I’ve come to rely on to help navigate change as a marketing professional: 

Prioritize top opportunities for growth

Consider the macro trends - from generative AI to electrification, supply chain disruption, to 24/7 connectivity – and their impact on your business. This analysis helps uncover the key opportunities for growth as well as potential red flags, while informing strategic objectives for your organization.

This may mean launching a new service or solution, expanding into new geographical regions or vertical markets, or changing course to enable a new business delivery model. 

These prioritized growth opportunities become the north star for your team, guiding thoughtful decision-making and providing the clarity needed to effectively execute against established goals. These core objectives – along with corresponding metrics and measures of success – provide each individual team member with a better understanding of how their contributions impact the bigger picture and move the organization closer to the goal line.  

Unlike macro trends, short-term dynamics will often distract from your overarching goals. While you shouldn’t ignore them, keep in mind the “noise” is fleeting. 

Acknowledge and respond thoughtfully as it pertains to your business but refrain from letting a momentary movement take you too far off course. As previously mentioned, agility is now table stakes for marketing professionals. Give credence when due but remain steadfast in achieving prioritized goals to support long term success.  

Shift tactics to stay on course

As every marketer knows, there are many variables that can impact the success of your best laid plans. While you may have set out to invest heavily in market awareness efforts through industry events or sponsored content, if budget cuts, personnel changes or limited resources eliminate these options, you must shift tactics to achieve the same goals. 

Consider how the internal team can develop educational webinars, tech talks, or engage with influencers to build a groundswell of awareness instead. Align with industry partners to maximize impact. Seek out new avenues to support your goal state and leverage the expertise within your team to arm the sales force with relevant, timely, and valuable resources. Keep your goals front and center but stay fluid regarding the tactics – rigidity will only stunt your growth. Be open-minded to new approaches and the results may surprise you.    

In an age of breakneck technological advances, it is not easy to combat the often-tidal waves of disruption.  Yet during these times, marketing is more critical than ever. It is our responsibility to uphold a clear and strong message that keeps the organization on course while staying agile in the day-to-day.  By working collaboratively and closely with business leaders, maintaining a focus on prioritized objectives, and staying fluid with the tactics, you are well poised for success despite the constant state of change.  

A little about the author

As Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Wesco, Kim is responsible for facilitating Wesco’s global operating plans through sales enablement, customer engagement and thought leadership, and for advancing Wesco’s strategic digital growth initiatives. Prior to this appointment, she served as Vice President of Marketing since September 2019. Kim was named a CMO to Watch by the CMO Alliance in 2024.