Understandably, when people think about marketing, they think about external marketing – marketing to potential customers. But, no business can afford to forget to actively and regularly market to its own employees.
It’s unclear why business owners and leaders don’t see the importance of marketing to their employee base, but it’s often either completely forgotten or it’s one of the smallest line items in the budget. Why is marketing to your own employees so important? Who usually interacts with your clients? It’s not you. It’s not the CEO. It’s the front line employees. Typically, the employees who are paid the least and told the least – interact with your customers the most.
So, to your customers – those employees embody your brand. How confident are you that those employees even know what your brand is, let alone how they should communicate it? Here’s five ways you can consistently market your core messages to your internal team.
MISSION, VISION, AND VALUES
Companies often communicate these values incorrectly to employees. They’re either too long, too full of jargon or so full of clichéd words that they are ineffective. If every employee can’t understand and recite them from memory — they aren’t going to do the job. Just as a reminder – your mission is what you do best every day. Your vision is what the future looks like because you do what you do best every day. And your values are the guiding principles or beliefs that set the tone and boundaries for the work you do.
What you deem important enough to include in your employee handbook and orientation speaks volumes. Don’t just talk about the functional aspects of the job. Talk about their role in the company and how they influence and communicate the brand. Also take the time to tell them how the brand came to be and give them some tangible examples so they can begin to connect in a real way to the ideals of the brand.
EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION AND REVIEWS
If it matters enough to you to make it a part of an employee’s review or in the way you reward employees – they’ll understand that it must be pretty important. When you recognize an employee for something specific in front of the entire team – believe me, they take notice.
THEY SHOULD SEE EVERYTHING FIRST
Most employees see their company’s new brochure, TV spot, or website the same time the general public first views it. There have been many times a retail employee gets blindsided by a coupon, special offer, or sale that they didn’t know anything about. Make a commitment that you’ll find a way to give your employees first viewing rights to all your marketing materials. Otherwise, they rightfully feel like an afterthought.
TELL THEM THE WHOLE STORY IN REAL TIME
Usually employees hear about a great marketing initiative after the fact. They hear about the record sales or huge product demand once the consumer has reacted. Instead – unfold the story as it is happening. Tell your employees about the research and development discoveries. Show them the early comps of the packaging. Depending on what you sell, let them be beta testers. Bring them along on the journey so they’re better equipped to talk to your customers about the new offering. Not keeping your employees in the loop is like buying an ad in the local paper or trade publication… and then not filling the space with anything.
Your employees are going to interact with your best customers and most promising prospects. Do you want them to be full of accurate information or a blank slate? The choice is yours!