Explore the Strategy of Internal Marketing
Providing exceptional customer service is just as important as providing exceptional products.
According to an American Express survey, 78% of consumers have bailed on a sales transaction because they received poor customer service. Even if they wanted or needed to buy a product, they were so put off by their experience with a company that they delayed their purchase.
In this context, a company’s employees can be seen as their most important marketing tools. These employees are on the front lines, adapting a company’s marketing strategies to the needs of each customer they work with. Their attitude, appearance, and approach all communicate something about the company they represent.
With an internal marketing strategy, employees are treated as “internal customers” who must be convinced of a company’s vision and worth just as aggressively as “external customers.” The goal of internal marketing is to align every aspect of a company’s internal operations to ensure they are as capable as possible of providing value to customers. If a company can operate in a coordinated and standardized way, that company can provide a more consistent experience to their customers.
Internal marketing is based on the idea that customers’ attitudes toward a company are based on their entire experience with that company, and not just their experience with the company’s products. Any time a customer interacts with an employee, it affects their overall satisfaction. Everyone from a sales clerk to an over-the-phone tech support specialist helps to shape that customer’s experience. Therefore, customer satisfaction is deeply dependent on the performance of a company’s staff.
For example, Apple has a unique organizational culture that emphasizes innovation, creativity, and expertise. In order to promote this culture, they are highly selective when they recruit employees and extremely thorough when they train them. Apple realizes that the best way to promote the image of their brand is for every employee, particularly the ones who work with customers, to accurately represent that image. Anyone who has been to an Apple store knows that the employees are experts in the products they sell and are willing to answer an endless number of questions. They are smart, accessible, and knowledgeable, positively reflecting the company company as a whole.
Human resources professionals typically spearhead internal marketing campaigns. Since internal marketing focuses on leveraging the value of employees, strong communication between the company and the employees is crucial. Their primary responsibility will be to disseminate information about the company’s goals and strategies, and to provide training and support to help employees achieve those goals.
Most internal marketing efforts provide incentives for their employees to hit certain targets. It is important that this incentive be something that actually motivates people. A 2011 survey by Harris Interactive asked respondents what bonuses they most wanted to receive from their companies around the holiday season. The survey reveals that people are best motivated by making more money and least motivated by company parties. Information like this is important for companies trying to create an enthusiastic workforce.