Sometimes we forget how great customer experiences are created. They are the result of employees that really care passionately about making a difference and delivering maximum value for customers.
In our work we often see companies that have corporate cultures that unfortunately work against this innate goal. Most people want to do the right thing for customers but sometimes their environment makes it harder than it should be. This is where internal marketing can play a role.
1. Can you tell me more about what internal marketing entails? How do you define it?
It’s marketing inside an organization to engage employees in delivering a positive customer experience – take care of employees so they can take care of customers, including co-workers who are “internal” customers.
Internal marketing is a strategic blend of marketing, human resources, and management to ensure organizations provide the resources and reinforcement employees need to take care of customers. But don’t be misled by the “marketing” label, since any manager can apply it.
2. What are the trends driving the increased interest by companies in internal marketing?
There are several:
- With increased commoditization and a cluttered, crowded marketplace, smart companies realize their core differentiation comes from their employees. Think about it – any innovative product or service introduced by Company A today can be easily copied by Company B tomorrow. But the one thing Company B and other competitors cannot duplicate is the relationship Company A has with its customers.
- Another reason for interest in internal marketing is the intense focus on employee engagement, especially considering how the economic downturn over the past few years has contributed to higher levels of disengagement. Employees are tired of being told to “do more with less” and many are just biding their time until the economy improves and they can change companies. I’ve seen research indicate that only 21% of workers are fully engaged in their jobs (if only one out of five are fully engaged, then what are the other four employees doing?). And more than one-third of employees admitted they’re partly-to-fully disengaged. Gallup estimates the cost of actively disengaged employees to be an incredible $300 billion in lost productivity! We can’t afford to keep working this way.
- Related to the engagement issue, I’ve also found that despite the amount of corporate restructuring and downsizing that’s occurred over the past several years, organizational silos still remain. The result is many employees feel disconnected and disenfranchised.
In part 2 we will look at how marketers can incorporate internal marketing into their activities…