Internal marketing is one of the most complicated forms of marketing there is. Internal marketing is when a business markets its products, services and brand to its own employees. Instead of “selling” to consumers (external marketing), the business sells to its employees, treating them like internal consumers — which they are. The best way to conduct internal marketing in an effective way is to create a comprehensive plan.
Internal marketing is important because, firstly, it leads to more employee engagement. It’s one thing for an employee to work for your company in exchange for a paycheck, but another for them to truly believe in your company and what it does. When the latter is the case, employees are motivated to work harder and their loyalty to the company increases.
Developing an internal marketing plan for the launch your new safety policy requires time and effort. It is not something that can be done without planning and proper preparation. Few safety professionals truly understand what they need to do in order to develop an internal marketing plan that will succeed.
Following are five simple steps that can help safety professionals develop effective plans that will work consistently over time. Taking the time to complete these steps can be the deciding factor between success and failure.
5 Steps to Internal Marketing
1) Assemble the right team for the job: Internal marketing doesn’t happen on its own. It often falls solely into the hands of the department launching the new internal policy/program/initiative, but this is a mistake. Often times business professionals know how to inform employees of what’s going on with the company, but don’t have the necessary skills for marketing initiatives. The intent must be to sell, not tell.
Choose one or more of your marketing employees, to work with your department on the internal marketing project. Make sure whoever’s chosen knows how to sell rather than tell, but most importantly, ensure they know the brand inside and out. It may end up being you, the business leader, or other members of upper management who take on the project. If it’s other employees, you may need to give them a lot of direction and guidance. However you do it, get everyone on the same page before moving forward.
2) Assess other department’s current internal marketing: In order to properly strategize your internal marketing, it’s wise to first assess where other departments currently stand. You can then formulate your strategy according to what others are doing well, poorly or not at all, which will make your campaign more targeted and informed.
3) Leaders need to define their goals: Without goals there is no way to determine if marketing efforts are successful or not, internal or external. Determine how you will reach this goal. Set metrics that help measure the success of the strategy. For example, if you intend to decrease injuries by 10 percent by the end of the year, be sure to keep track of where the team is in terms of meeting this goal. Ensure the goals are attainable and reward employees when they are met.
4) Determine a budget: How much money is available to dedicate to your department’s internal marketing efforts will be a large factor in determining what can and cannot be done. Don’t worry if there are little to no funds available to support your marketing efforts. Developing an idea sheet along with approximate costs for each activity during the research process is a great way to keep track of your potential expenses.
5) Create materials: Now that you have your internal marketing plan outlined, it’s time to turn it into concrete materials that you can communicate to your team. Mitchell recommends using your team’s everyday experiences at work, like checking email or attending meetings. That way they’re immersed in the brand, making it harder to tune out.
- Internal newsletter: Create a newsletter to circulate only to your team. Use it to educate them on your brand, products, services, values, goals, etc. Make it interesting by including sections like history, trivia, interesting facts, quotes, images or video.
- In-person meetings: This one may be a little oldschool, but if you regularly conduct meetings and find that they’re successful, call a meeting to discuss the new internal branding effort. Be sure to allow time for questions and discussion.
- Video: Create an internal infomercial that conveys the campaign’s major points. There’s no better platform for merging audio, imagery and text all in one place.
- Signs/Posters: Provide a constant visual message reminder with great graphics to be displayed around the workplace.
- Digital signage: Display internal branding materials like graphics or video on digital screens throughout the office.
Whatever platform(s) you choose, make sure the content is highly personalized. You want your employees to feel individually valued, which leads to more feelings of engagement.
When employees believe in the brand and are engaged in your company initiatives, they generally are going to be motivated by their work, more loyal to the organization and are more likely to be powerful marketers and sellers (brand advocates), spreading your company message.
This is exactly why internal marketing and having a strategy in place is essential to the success of your company brand. If employees are in the dark or unaware of their company’s goals, products, and services, there is a huge gap in effectiveness with customers and prospects.