Internal Marketing

Have you ever browsed the top companies to work for on Google? If you have, you might have run into hundreds of articles like "Top 10 Employers of The Year" or "Top 100 Best Companies to Work For". Without a doubt, work culture is a topic that many people care about. It is also one of the top factors attracting potential candidates to a company. So, how can companies promote their work culture to attract talent? The answer is to market from the inside out, a.k.a. internal marketing. Let's explore what internal marketing is and how it works. 

Internal Marketing Internal Marketing

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Table of contents

    Internal Marketing Definition

    Internal marketing means promoting the company's objectives, culture, products, and services to internal staff and stakeholders. For this reason, it is also called employee marketing.

    Internal marketing promotes the company's objectives, culture, products, and services to its employees and internal stakeholders.

    Like external marketing, internal marketing is a way of "selling" your business, but instead of selling to the general public, you are selling to your employees. The primary purpose of internal marketing is to improve employee engagement and encourage brand advocacy.

    A brand advocate reviews a business positively, bringing you new customers and sales opportunities. Happy employees are the best brand advocates.

    Companies should promote themselves internally because the cost of not doing so can be enormous. For example, without a good internal culture, a company will have a more challenging time retaining talent and must spend more resources on training the new staff. A high turnover rate also demotivates current staff and further dampens their engagement.

    In the following sections, you will learn more about the different types and strategies of internal marketing to keep employees happy and engaged.

    Types of Internal Marketing

    Marketing to internal staff and stakeholders is not so different from marketing to the general public. There are many types of internal marketing to engage and satisfy internal staff. The most popular types are:

    • Product Marketing,

    • Brand authenticity,

    • Employer branding

    • Internal communications,

    • Project branding.

    Internal Marketing: Product marketing

    Product marketing is the activity of making the employees familiar with the company's products and services. This activity might seem redundant, but according to a study, at least 20% of employees don't think their company's product contributes positively to the consumers' lives.1 If the employees don't love the product in the first place, how can they persuade customers to love it? This is where product marketing comes in.

    Product marketing provides a product training and learning aspect that allows employees to understand the product they sell (or help to bring to the market) on a deeper level. With a good understanding of the product's value, employees can communicate more effectively with the customers and contribute to higher sales for the company.

    Internal Marketing: Brand authenticity

    Brand authenticity means the extent to which customers believe a brand is truthful. According to Stackla, 90% of customers said authenticity is a deciding factor in their product choice.2 This is the same for employees. If the internal staff believes your brand is authentic, they are more likely to commit to the company and contribute positively.

    An authentic brand is transparent and consistent in its message. Being authentic is not difficult, but it takes tremendous effort. The company must invest in building open work culture, working on sustainable values, and developing high-quality products.

    Internal Marketing: Employer branding

    Employer branding means positioning yourself as the top employer among current and prospective employees.3 It means telling the employees why they should work with you and what values you can bring to their life. Two main benefits of employer branding are retaining employees and attracting new talent.

    Just like marketing to consumers, employer branding requires employers to focus on enhancing employees' experience. Satisfied employees are more likely to refer the company to friends looking for a job or share positive working experiences on social media pages and job review sites. This further adds to the business's authenticity and reputation.

    Internal Marketing: Internal communications

    Internal communications refer to the communication flow and collaboration among people within an organization. It is the tool that connects the top manager with employees so that everyone is on par with the business's mission and goals. Open communications can lead to higher work productivity and employee engagement, which improves the company's economic performance.

    Companies can employ a variety of channels and techniques to foster internal communications. For example, they can:

    • Hold workshops and knowledge-sharing sessions,

    • Create an intranet for business news and updates,

    • Compose short, easy-to-consume messages via emails and videos,

    • Use storytelling and visual aids to deliver messages in a more engaging way.

    Internal Marketing: Project branding

    Branding means creating a value proposition to win the support of the target group. In internal projects, companies target branding toward internal stakeholders and staff. Effective project branding can generate recognition for the project, help the company secure investment, and engage employees to drive the best results for the project. Simply put, it is the process of making the internal group "loyal and supportive" of your project.

    Internal Marketing Strategies

    Based on internal marketing types, companies have many strategies to promote themselves internally. But while marketing strategies are diverse in terms of channels and methods, they maintain the following features:

    1. A clear strategy with matching goals,

    2. Promote open and honest communication,

    3. Produce a positive employee experience.

    internal marketing open work environment studysmarter Fig. 1 - Open and collaborative work environment

    Companies can use different channels for internal marketing, such as:

    • The company's website and social media pages,

    • Emails and intranet,

    • Job listings, etc.

    The strategies also vary, including:

    • Giving incentives and perks,

    • Providing training and development,

    • Fostering internal communications (intranet, emails, phone calls),

    • Conducting workshops,

    • Carrying out performance reviews and feedback.

    The development of an internal marketing strategy often includes three steps:

    1. Build a great internal marketing team - Like external marketing, your internal marketing strategy needs a great team to carry out the tasks. The potential candidates must know a great deal about the company and be enthusiastic about sharing it with others. They should have the ability to communicate information clearly and engagingly.

    2. Audit the current strategy - The next step is to audit the current internal marketing strategy to discover opportunities and gaps. This stage may also include observing common practices in the industry - how other companies on the market keep the employees engaged and motivated, then developing similar strategies or adapting your current strategy to improve employee engagement. Studying other businesses will also give your business a wealth of ideas to creatively market to internal stakeholders and staff.

    3. Implement internal marketing strategy - The final step is implementing the new internal marketing strategy. The key is to deliver a consistent message and ensure your internal marketing messages match the external ones. You can also experiment with different ideas to improve employee engagement.

    Internal Marketing Examples

    Let's consider some examples of how companies carry out internal marketing.

    To educate employees on company's history, the company can organize a meeting for all new employees as a part of the onboarding during which company's history, values and mission are presented.

    If one of the companies values is lifelong education and development, a company can give employees an annual allowance to buy books and courses for skill development. It also provides regular training sessions to help the current staff improve their skills and share knowledge.

    To foster work-life balance as a company's value and improve employees' well-being, a company introduces programs like yoga and meditation to its workspace. It also arranges indoor games and activities for people to wind down during breaks at work. In addition, team-building activities bring everyone in the organization closer together.

    Internal Marketing Benefits

    There are many benefits to internal marketing, including the following:

    • Employee engagement - Effective internal marketing keeps employees happy and engaged. If employees like being part of the group, they will be enthusiastic about the job and more likely to talk to others about it. Positive work experience also leads to staff empowerment and better service and customer experience.

    • Employee retention - Effective internal marketing also helps increase employee loyalty. This is because happy employees experience higher job satisfaction and are thus more loyal to the brand. The lower turnover rate also improves your brand reputation as an employer.

    • Brand awareness - Another benefit of internal marketing is raising employee awareness. The more the internal staff knows about your business and its value, the better they communicate these values to the consumers and help the company reach its goals.

    • Company culture development - One essential internal marketing activity is communicating brand values and mission to employees. This communication strengthens business culture and makes employees feel more valued in their work. An excellent internal culture is a value proposition to attract new talent to your job openings.

    Internal marketing - Key takeaways

    • Internal marketing promotes the company's objectives, culture, products, and services to its employees and internal stakeholders.
    • The five main types of internal marketing are product marketing, brand authenticity, employer branding, internal communications, and project branding.

    • Companies can use different channels and strategies to promote themselves internally.

    • Internal marketing has many benefits, such as employee engagement, retention, brand awareness, and company culture development.


    References

    1. Get App, https://www.getapp.com/resources/your-employees-dont-believe-in-your-product/, 2019.
    2. Megan DeGruttola, Survey Reveals How Consumers Really Judge Brand Authenticity (and Influencers), https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/survey-reveals-how-consumers-really-judge-brand-authenticity-and-influence/, 2019.
    3. Personio, The Ultimate Guide to Employer Branding, https://www.personio.com/hr-lexicon/employer-branding-2/.
    Frequently Asked Questions about Internal Marketing

    What is internal marketing?

    Internal marketing means promoting the company's objectives, culture, products, and services within its own corporation. 

    Which is an example of internal marketing?

    An example of internal marketing is a company that improves employer engagement through open communication, effort recognition, and work-life balance programs. 

    What is the role of internal marketing?

    Internal marketing roles include improving employee engagement, retaining employees, raising brand awareness, and developing company culture. 

    What are the three steps of the internal marketing process?

    The three steps of the internal marketing process are: 


    1. Build a great internal marketing team
    2. Audit the current marketing strategy
    3. Implement the new internal marketing strategy

    What are the features of internal marketing?

    Common features of internal marketing are: 

    1. A clear strategy with matching goals

    2. Promote open and honest communication

    3. Produce a positive employee experience

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    Internal marketing is also called employee marketing. 

    Internal marketing promotes the company's objectives, _______, products, and services to its employees and internal stakeholders. 

    The primary purpose of internal marketing is to improve employee engagement and encourage brand ______.

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