From the inside out: the power of internal marketing campaigns in 2022

Internal marketing campaigns

Although it may sound like an oxymoron, internal marketing can be an extremely important part of your company’s overall marketing or branding strategy. Internal marketing is often overlooked, especially when compared with traditional external marketing (defined as all efforts to improve customer experience and build external loyalty to a product or service), but it deserves perhaps as much time, care and personal investment. Why is this? When employees feel like they are stakeholders in the day-to-day progress of their company, they become the best brand ambassadors for their organization’s products or services.

“The goal of an internal marketing campaign is to earn a sense of loyalty to the brand and the team,” says Kyle Mani, CCO/CEO of OWDT. The Hinge Research Institute reports “A formal employee advocacy program helps shorten the sales cycle. Nearly 64% of advocates in a formal program credited employee advocacy with attracting and developing new business, and nearly 45% attribute new revenue streams to employee advocacy.” In other words, companies that invest in internal marketing see more revenue.

Examples of internal marketing campaigns strategy

Everyone is familiar with traditional external marketing, but what about internal marketing communications? Press releases, memos, internal signage, plaques, contests, testimonials, motivational meetings, bonding and team-building exercises, branded promotional products, giveaways and employee rewards are effective ways to make each employee a brand advocate and enhance employee collaboration toward beneficial goals. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander – and vice-versa. This issue has another pivotal aspect with critical ramifications for the ability of a business to survive—employee turnover. This has always been true, but more so in our Great Resignation era, when about one-third of new hires quit after six months. And those who quit are not likely to have a favorable view of the company’s culture and maybe even the products and services. If there are negative online reviews from former employees, the situation can be even worse. These have proven to be significant barriers to attracting and winning new talent in a job seeker’s market.

Done consistently and in good faith, internal marketing strategies can help transform a bored, uncaring or confused staff into a dynamic team of brand ambassadors. This can have a significant impact on the bottom line—and, perhaps more importantly, it can ensure that employees are excited to return to work every day to pursue the company’s shared mission and goals.

1. Internal communications

With a little creative construction, internal comms can help build brand awareness and make employees feel like their contributions are welcomed and that they are integral and valued members of the organization. Generic communications collateral and platforms can have company branding integrated in the form of logos, slogans, mission statements and more. In traditional office environments, a plain memo sheet can be modified to include some of the company’s color and logo. More modern internal communications using digital applications can receive a similar treatment so that employees can always have “top of mind” that they are part of a whole. Their attitudes and actions all contributing to the success of everyone around them.

Internal communications can also be a great place to recognize those who have made a positive contribution, thereby both rewarding current and past brand ambassadors and encouraging others to follow in their footsteps. This is not a new concept. The ubiquitous “Employee of the Month” plaque has been around for a long time. And it surely encourages employees to put greater effort into their tasks. But these plaques and other similar recognitions have to be seen as actually mattering to management. A plaque that nobody sees or which has not been updated in months sends a message that it does not really matter – and thus the employee does not really matter.

2. Employee feedback form

Most employees like to feel that they are valued by their supervisors and co-workers. And employees who see themselves as valued have shown increased productivity, higher sales, fewer complaints, less absenteeism and lower turnover. At some work places, it can be hard for an employee to feel valued if their opinions and concerns are not acknowledged or followed-up on. One internal communication strategy to help with employee engagement is to create employee feedback forms. Either through internal methods or by hiring an outside marketing company (such as OWDT), employers can create a means by which any and all employees can voice their concerns, give feedback on operations and personnel or provide potentially valuable ideas that can lead to more efficient production, reduced costs, greater sales and the bottom line. But it’s not enough to intake forms. There must be a system in place to examine these inputs and to acknowledge and respond to each entry. There must also be a way to communicate these concerns and ideas to the appropriate management personnel. When team members see that their feedback is taken seriously and acted upon when necessary and possible, it completes the cycle of engagement that is so important to a holistic, positive company culture.

3. Brand authenticity

It would not help much to invest large sums of capital in an external marketing campaign if in the end your potential customers do not feel that your company is sincere about the products and services it offers, or that its promises will not be fulfilled. Here, a strategic internal marketing program can be crucial to aligning perception with reality. A brand-loyal employee who is the first point of interaction with a customer can set the stage for success. A customer with a negative first impression is unlikely to complete the transaction, return for more, or recommend the company. Other brand ambassadors further down the acquisition or business development pipeline can reinforce the notion that what your company promises is what it delivers. And finally, once the sale has been made, happy valued employees can keep the customer engaged and primed for further sales and/or referrals. A customer who has been helped along the way by positive and optimistic brand ambassadors is much more likely to become a new brand ambassador himself or herself. And through word of mouth and exponential dissemination (think six degrees of Kevin Bacon), each of these new external brand ambassadors can lead to many more advocates and much higher profits for your company.

4. Social media-friendly environment

In the ever-changing world of digital marketing, social media has become one of the most important outlets for your company’s voice. It seems that every week there is a new platform that is taking the world by storm and which must be exploited. But a company’s official channels can only do so much to reach customers in every platform and in niche markets and to convince them that its products and services are genuine, helpful and valuable. If every employee is a brand ambassador and is allowed and encouraged to engage customers through social media, the outreach power of the company can be increased many times over and without any direct additional cost. See the paragraph above about exponential dissemination.

It is therefore helpful and sometimes even vital for a company to allow its employees to act as additional voices for the brand. Now more than ever, a company that expects profits cannot afford to shut itself off and live in the past.

Furthermore, many people, especially those joining the work force in recent years, are increasingly using social media to learn about and connect with the world at large. It might be where they get their news from or it might be how they communicate with friend and relatives. Keeping these lines of communication open is going to be ever more important for years to come.

Brand education

Many companies make the mistake of allowing the creation of information silos. One department keeps its operations secret from every other. Only the managers or directors know the vision for the company as a whole. Internal marketing aims to tear down such walls. The exchange of information, concepts and plans between departments can help employees become more invested in their work. It can help them see the work of others and vice-versa. And when everyone sees that the company as a whole is moving in the right direction, it can help elevate everyone’s attitude and performance. Instead of employees feeling like they are easily replaceable cogs in a cold, uncaring machine, it can help them feel like they are important members of a team – all working in unison for the greater good.

Internal marketing vs external marketing

External marketing has been defined as all efforts to improve customer experience and build external loyalty to a product or service. While this is a vital part of any business, internal marketing can be almost or just as important. A company that focuses solely on attracting new customers and neglects the very people who attract and serve those customers may not be around for very long. The cost of producing good and services with an unhappy or indifferent work force can be much higher. Turnover might be so high that there are never enough qualified people to keep up with production, sales, service or management. The cost of acquisition can be so high that the company never turns a profit. Therefore it is of supreme importance to invest in effective internal marketing, for the good of your employees and of the company as a whole. One OWDT client which is known to have a great company culture is LJA Engineering. To quote their late president, “We genuinely like our co-workers, and this shows in everything we do.” Because of their great commitment to internal marketing and a positive internal company lifestyle, they are normally voted among the Top Workplaces in the Houston area. And this positive outlook on work and life helps LJA be a highly successful, highly-regarded company.

OWDT’s marketing services

It may not seem immediately obvious to have a web design company help craft and carry out your internal marketing or internal communication plan, but OWDT was founded by digital marketing experts with years of experience helping small and large companies accomplish their mission and reach their financial goals through adept internal and external marketing and related services.