Your employees are one of the most important assets you have, so before you advertise to outsiders, you first need to check the box on something called internal marketing.
The challenge of internal marketing is to get ahead of the way your employees communicate your brand value to potential customers. It’s about educating your workforce on the company goals and providing timely and relevant information on how they can meet these goals.
It’s easier for your employees to sell your brand if they believe in it.
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Why Internal Marketing is Important
High customer satisfaction should be a priority for your brand.
To achieve this goal, your company needs to leverage the value of its employees, meaning the communication channels must be transparent and efficient. Traditionally, the job of training and informing employees about the company’s mission was the job of the HR manager. Internal marketing has, however, evolved into so much more.
A Well Informed Workforce
It doesn’t matter whether your staff interacts with the customer directly or indirectly, they all need to know about the company. From basic information such as why and when it was founded to more specific details involving product and service updates.
Internal marketing communicates the value of your business to your staff. Your employees will, in turn, convince external audiences of this value.
Apart from creating a common understanding of the company goals, Internal marketing is also essential for the following reasons:
- It encourages better performance from the employees by making them accountable for the general wellbeing of the company.
- Internal marketing truly highlights the value of the employee to the company.
- It introduces a marketing-focused approach that helps employees better serve customers.
- Improved company performance leads to higher customer retention.
- Internal marketing is a way to clearly highlight the expectations of the employees.
- It also provides room to create a company culture that serves both the professional and personal needs of its staff members.
Marketing is no longer limited to just the sales department. It falls on every employee to understand how their role affects the overall position of the company. With a good understanding of marketing strategies, product designers and software developers are able to develop results that suit the customer.
Internal Marketing examples
- Introducing monthly themes in the workspace as a way to keep employees on the same page.
- Holding regular seminars and company events that center on the internal wellbeing progress of your brand.
- Conducting team-building exercises.
- Informing employees of the company mission, vision, and values.
- Involving employees in the testing of your products and services. Asking for their feedback on a new product update, for instance, is a way for your staff to learn more about the company.
It’s not just about educating the staff on what you offer: internal marketing aims to make every single employee an extension of your marketing team.
Marketing within your company simply gets everyone on the same page. Besides, it’s a way to motivate and encourage your employees to achieve the company goals.
But let’s face it, there is a good chance your employees will be less interested than they should be. It’s hard enough getting strangers to believe in your brand, but it’s even harder to market to the people you know, and this is why; you don’t put in the same effort.
How to Market your Brand to your Employees
When creating an advertising campaign strategy for your customers, you’ll go as far as doing market research and strategically placing billboards all over. While internal marketing does not require the same effort, companies can keep their employees interested using the following methods:
Keep Them Guessing
Hint marketing is very effective when advertising to external audiences. It keeps them guessing. There is power in the words ‘coming soon.’ These words pique interest and get people talking.
Why not use the same strategy to keep your employees interested in what the company has to offer?
Whenever there is a new office opening, or a new product being launched, make your employees guess before the big reveal. It sure beats sending an email.
Internal marketing is not just for big companies.
Think of the local restaurant that trains their employees to smile when serving customers, or to greet customers a certain way. Customer satisfaction is directly dependent on the performance of your employees. Your staff should be proud to represent your brand, whether big or small.
Internal marketing, however, makes more sense for big organizations because they have a lot of employees, and it’s easy for miscommunication to happen between different departments.
Often, big organizations have employees across multiple locations, sometimes multiple countries. Think of big restaurant chains like KFC. In such a case, the company needs to create an organizational culture and enforce it among all of its employees, a task that can prove challenging.
Make Tailored Messages
In as much as you want everyone on the same page, the message you send to the sales department will be different from the one you send to the IT department. With internal marketing, its important to work in teams.
When advertising to an external audience, you would tailor each message depending on the preferences of your audience.
Apply the same reasoning to your internal marketing strategy. Each department plays a different role, let them know how their contribution fits into the overall company goal.
Encourage different departments to work together. It’s important to hold company retreats and conduct team-building exercises and encourage employees to interact among themselves.
Celebrate little milestones
Highlight the successes your team achieved, be it a new sales goal or a new client.
How to Develop an Internal Marketing Strategy
Internal marketing is a lot harder than it seems. How do you create messages that resonate with every employee in every department of your company?
It’s clear that you need a plan, an internal marketing strategy.
Set Clear Goals
What do you want to achieve now? There is always an overall company goal, but this is subdivided into smaller milestones.
Think of two companies that just merged. How does this newly formed brand create an identity for itself? Through internal marketing, and the first step is to identify clear goals, for instance, promoting brand awareness among employees. It’s important to project a singular image to the customer, especially if the company is a merger. Internal marketing is a way for you to first get your house in order so you can best serve your customers.
Develop an Internal Marketing Strategy Based on Your Goals
When informing employees, tell them exactly how they fit into the bigger picture.
If the goal is to increase brand awareness among the staff members, set a plan and a schedule for training sessions. If the goal is to improve customer satisfaction, train the employees on how to respond to questions, and introduce technology that improves the efficiency of the company. The goals of introducing a new company culture might take a bit more time and planning.
It’s important to have frequent company meetings, for the snacks, but also to keep everyone on track.
The key is to keep the communication channels open.
Send out newsletters and hold retreats if it helps you inform and motivate your employees. For internal marketing to work, everyone should know what the plan is, and they should be able to access this said plan anytime they want.
Awareness is important.
Sure, the company might be moving forward, but is everyone moving in the same direction at any given time? In this sense, your employees become more than just people who execute the plan: they become equal participants.
Listen to your employees.
No form of marketing works without customer feedback, and internal marketing is no different. To leverage the full power of your staff, you need to respect their ideas and offer incentives to motivate them.
Incentives come in many forms, from bonuses to paid time off. If you are going to give your employees an incentive, pick something that matters to them. Like an end of the year bonus. It would be cheaper to throw a company party instead, but that won’t be enough to encourage your staff to achieve the company goals.
To create a productive workspace, its important to know what matters to your employees. It’s important to recognize employees for their contribution to the company.
Keep Track of the Internal Marketing Plan
Your internal marketing strategy is not complete until you review the results. For starters, did you achieve your goal within the set timeline? And how did the employees feel about the strategy?
Track your results by conducting an internal survey.
Internal marketing is all about convincing the employee to buy into the brand. This means creating a conducive work environment, even as you try to achieve external goals.
Choose the right delivery method
It’s one thing to have the right internal marketing strategy in mind, but picking the right delivery method is where the challenge is.
Internal marketing is not a one-and-done type situation
You have to keep sending your brand messages to your employees the same way you send messages to external audiences. Speaking of which, are you getting your content marketing done right? Ensure you keep up the consistency, using different channels if you want the information to stick with your staff.
Here are a few more delivery methods you can use in internal marketing:
- Screen savers: You can use set a different one each week to reinforce your brand image to your employees.
- Custom made internal videos.
- Internal newsletters
- Podcast or in-house radio
- Branded merchandise such as cups, pens, and notebooks.
Your employees should understand your brand so they can sell it to external audiences. Internal marketing is one of the best ways to achieve this. By training, informing, and incentivizing your employees, you are more likely to achieve your company goals.