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Business Strategy

Selling the Brand from the Inside: The Importance of Internal Marketing

Growth Company business advisor Debbie Jackson outlines the benefits of effective internal marketing.

A business client asked me recently how he could market his company’s own branded products to his workforce, so instead of ‘selling’ to external customers, the business sells to its employees.

So why would my business client ask me this?

My business client knows that his employees are potentially his most trusted resource – why? Because employees can provide value to potential customers because they believe in and understand the company’s goals and vision themselves.

Often, the main overlooked resource in the marketing and sales of the business is the resource that has a powerful and emotional connection to its products and services – your employees. We know that in business generating good quality leads, converting and closing sales is always challenging and getting your brand noticed can often be crowded out with ever increasing online content and information.

Engaged employees who understand the product and services they sell and who buy-in to the company culture and values make excellent natural salespeople and marketers – and they don’t need to be working in the marketing department to do this. It’s a win-win for everyone when your ‘human voice’ - also known as spontaneous brand ambassadors - will vouch for the business both in and out of company time.

Here are some stats to help us to understand this better:

  • A Nielsen study showed that 84% of people trust recommendations from friends, family, colleagues over other forms of marketing. (Source: Nielsen)
  • Brand messages reached 561% further when shared by employees vs the same messages shared via official brand social channels (Source: MSLGroup)
  • Content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels (Source: Social Media Today)

So, my business client is right, employees are the most trusted resource available – after all they were recruited for their skills, expertise, work ethic and enthusiasm for the job at hand. This is when a focus on internal marketing really starts to pay off, because internal marketing is based on the idea that customers’ attitudes are not just based on the product or services, but the overall experience they have ever had with the company. Customer interactions are often cross-department (not just customer service teams), including social engagement through a range of platforms – it means that the whole workforce can become a valuable extension to the existing marketing and sales teams.

To kick start the process, here are some top tips to build an internal marketing strategy with a few well-placed tactics to overcome people’s natural cynicism and collective groan around the coffee machine. Remember, it needs an action plan in place to ensure it’s implemented, so by following the steps below, you’ll be well on your way:

  • Formulate a team – marketing, HR and operations management probably understand the brand the most and will help to establish the culture, communicate the values and best sell the business’s products and services
  • Evaluate the internal marketing – this could be happening quite informally anyway, but it may not be very good or effective! Why not undertake a survey for all employees as a starting point?
  • Align marketing messages and ensure everyone has a similar perspective on the business brand. Try forums and focus groups to gain trust and dialogue with your workforce Debbie Jackson 7 10 22 Classified: Internal Personal and Confidential
  • Make it really easy and simple for everybody to get involved and engaged online to help build employee advocacy – newsletters can get ignored if there isn’t a channel to respond
  • Always be open to feedback and discussion, even when everything is in place.

A lot of what internal marketing is and has to do is to inform and educate the workforce. Make sure someone is accountable for this and have a think about what your internal marketing efforts could include:

  • Training on company values and goals
  • Encouraging employee participation and input
  • Create an internal ‘infomercial’ with video to engage teams and individuals
  • Create interest in the company’s brand – history, trivia, interesting facts, quotes and images
  • Nurture communication and collaboration
  • Ensure the workforce know how much their contributions matter and how they are essential for the success of the business

And as a final thought, it’s good to know that when everyone is in the loop, the business becomes a more cohesive, holistic team. And when employees are telling the same ‘story’, they provide consistent service across the business which will avoid over-promising and under-delivering.

So, just as my business client has recognised the potential of his workforce, it’s up to you to make sure your internal marketing isn’t overlooked. It could be your best kept secret for business growth!

The GC Business Growth Hub's #HereForBusiness support package provides practical help, guidance, and expert advice on a range of subjects to help companies in Greater Manchester manage the increasing cost of doing business.

For further information, and to access tailored support, contact us now.

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