By Katrina Olson
If you read my Marketing 101 column in April’s tED magazine, you know the answer. If not, you may be asking yourself, “Who could I possibly be missing?”
Answer: your company’s employees.
But wait—isn’t marketing about reaching customers and prospects? Not when it’s internal marketing—communicating with employees about new products or services, sharing company successes, or announcing a competition between stores. Internal marketing engages and motivates employees to be your most enthusiastic supporters.
Keeping employees in the loop offers many benefits. Specifically, it:
- encourages employees to perform better
- empowers employees by making them accountable and responsible
- shows that the company values employees’ contributions
- motivates non-marketing employees to adopt a marketing perspective
- integrates the organizational culture with the employees personal and professional needs
- allows departments to coordinate and cooperate effectively
- facilitates the flow of information between employees
- clarifies expectations placed on employees
Although the process is similar, the practice of internal marketing is a little different than external marketing.
How to Do It Right
What do you hope to accomplish through internal marketing? Be sure to establish goals, objectives, strategies and tactics, just as you would with an external marketing plan. And track effectiveness with similar metrics. Follow these best practices to maximize the impact of internal marketing programs.
- Share goals, objectives and results. Whether they’re business, marketing or sales goals, share them with your employees to get buy-in and keep everyone on the same page. Then, be sure to tell employees when your company gets awarded a new contract or hits a sales target. Share your company’s successes!
- Communicate in all directions… up, down and across. Instead of just communicating downward from management, give employees a voice and a way to be heard. Give employees a means to ask questions or provide feedback. Otherwise, you’ll never know if an employee has a great idea for marketing!
- Tailor the message for employees. Don’t just post what was sent to customers; instead, use internal marketing to answer the specific information needs of employees. Are you offering an employee incentive or reward? What is the promotion period? What marketing efforts are coming up? Where can employees go to learn more, ask questions or make suggestions?
- Make internal communications a priority. Whether you’re introducing a new marketing campaign, sharing a success or addressing a problem, keep internal audiences in the loop. You don’t necessarily need to inform employees about every issue, but you shouldn’t forget about them either.
- Establish a marketing hub. How many times have your emails been lost or missed entirely? By maintaining a single location for all internal marketing communications, employees will be able to find important information no matter when it was distributed. A hub is also useful for storing current flyers, ads, marketing emails or supplier’s product promotions.
Sure, internal marketing takes a little extra time and effort, but the result is informed, engaged and enthusiastic employees who are eager to talk about your company—and in turn builds your brand, helps recruit new employees, and ultimately grows sales.
Olson is a marketing and public relations consultant, and principal of Katrina Olson Strategic Communications. She has written for tED magazine’s print edition since 2005, judged tED magazine’s Best of the Best Competition since 2006, and emceed the Best of the Best Awards ceremony for a total of seven years. She can be reached at Katrina@katrinaolson.comor via her website at katrinaolson.com.
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