Most marketing activities are directed outside of a company, showcasing the business’ products, services and overall brand to customers and clients (existing and potential ones) and other stakeholders. Internal marketing, however, turns the focus inwards.
Internal marketing activities can include similarly showcasing your company to the people who work for it… your employees. Essentially, promoting the company’s values, mission, objectives, services and products to members of staff to motivate them to change or adopt behaviours that enable your company to reach its strategic goals.
You can even break this down further and market aspects of your corporate services – for example IT, HR, communications or specific projects – to other parts of the company so they know what services are available.
Why is internal marketing important?
Internal marketing helps your employees to understand the vision and goals of the company in the same way you would promote it to your external stakeholders.
Companies spend a lot of time and money on branding exercises promoting the business’ values to the outside world. But when your customers’ experiences of the brand are not in sync with what is being sold to them via your marketing, it can affect overall satisfaction with your brand.
Internal marketing reflects the external marketing and it’s a way of ensuring that employees are on board with the vision of the company that is being portrayed to the outside world and helps the workforce to align with your company’s stated objectives. It can help them to live your brand values and improve engagement and morale.
Think of the times you’ve been in touch with a company based on marketing materials or advertising, only to have the person on the phone or in an office or store not have any idea what you are talking about. Even worse is when they start telling you the company policy is “xyz” when you’ve been led to believe it is “abc”.
When everyone is on the same page it can reduce these sorts of misunderstandings and improve and enhance your company’s reputation.
What is the internal marketing environment?
Your company’s internal marketing environment needs to be considered when marketing to your employees. These are the factors within your organization that need to be taken into account when determining how to devise and implement internal marketing campaigns within the company.
Every company is unique in its internal machinations. This includes management style, communication, employee engagement, corporate culture, morale, employee skills, resources, stakeholder needs and objectives.
It’s important to understand the internal marketing environment because just copying an internal marketing plan from another company which may have a vastly different internal culture, or finding a marketing plan on the internet, may not achieve the desired results and outcomes.
Internal marketing strategies and tactics
The main goal of internal marketing is to educate and inform employees about the company’s goals and objectives, including ensuring they are familiar with its projects, products, services and any external promotions.
Developing a strategy that takes the internal marketing environment into account is the first step. Depending on what that internal environment is like – including what existing marketing is being done, or if there has been none in the past – will help you to build a strategy that can be implemented.
The internal marketing strategy should define the future direction that the company will take in this area. Broadly, the strategy should include:
- Needs analysis of the situation based on research and data
- Goals, vision and objectives
- Plans to achieve these goals
- Education and training needs
- Communication needs
- Resources required
- Tactics and tools required to achieve goals
- Measurement – how can you tell if it was successful?
Tactics (not to be confused with the specific tools and channels that you use to deliver your marketing campaign) are not the same as the strategy, but form part of it.
These are the approaches that you take to delivering the marketing communications to your employees.
Internal marketing examples
Internal marketing examples include:
- Hosting internal education seminars, classes and events.
- Having different monthly themes and topics on different messages.
- Looking at innovative ways to have your employees live up to your values and offer encouragement for doing so.
- Turning your employees into brand ambassadors.
- Gamification to incentivize staff to deliver on KPIs and more.
- Involving employees in developing your brand and values.
- Reward and recognition programs.
- Team building and planning days off-site.
How to communicate internal marketing?
Once you’ve got the strategy and tactics of your internal marketing campaign worked out, its time to turn your attention to the delivery methods.
For maximum effectiveness, your branding messages need to be delivered more than once, using different channels, so that they can sink in. Repetition is key and is an external marketing principle, the “rule of 7” which states that messages need to be heard at least seven times before the listener will take action.
Fortunately there are many different tools around to help with this so that your marketing efforts can be noticed!
Some innovative internal marketing communication tools include:
- Video content – custom-made videos can help to tell your branding story and reinforce your messages.
- Podcasts – many people prefer audio as their learning style of choice and podcasts are relatively easy to make and deliver for an internal audience.
- Screen savers – a great way to reach employees every day where they sit with specially designed screen savers that reinforce your values, branding or other key messages.
- Newsletters – depending on what you are communicating you can have standalone dedicated newsletters to the concept, or you can include your branding and values in existing internal newsletters.
- Digital signage – where you turn different screens within your organization into moving billboards that broadcast your own custom content.
One tool that will help you deliver your internal marketing ideas is DeskAlerts – an internal communications software solution that has many different features such as pop up alerts, scrolling ticker tape, corporate screen savers, corporate wallpaper, newsletters and more. Content can be sent to any computer, tablet or smartphone in your organization and can be scheduled in advance. You can send to every employee, or to custom audiences, wherever you determine your efforts are most needed.