Marketing + Internal Communications = Great CX
The Customer Experience (CX) is becoming the key differentiator for businesses because consumers increasingly give their loyalty to organizations with whom they have a great experience – NOT price or product.
If 86% of buyers are willing to pay extra for a great customer experience, then it is absolutely essential that marketing finds ways to better that experience. Acquiring a new customer is far more costly than retaining an existing customer, and word of mouth recommendations from loyal customers are priceless.
“Every business has at least three target audiences: customers, prospects and employees.” — Forbes
It is common practice in marketing today to have brand ambassador and/or employee advocacy programs in place, but internal marketing still has not established itself as a core program. Let’s break down the difference between brand ambassadors and employee advocates, before discussing internal marketing.
Brand Ambassadors, Employee Advocates, Internal Marketing… which is which?
Brand ambassadors are not full-time employees of your organization, but are independent individuals with a substantial, active personal fans/follower base that can be contracted or convinced to be brand promoters. This is also known as “influencer marketing.”
Employee advocates are employees (also known as evangelists) who are very active in terms of promoting the brand and/or the products on their personal social media, speaking at events, or other platforms and networks they have personal access to.
However, these types of marketing programs cover only a small portion of employees, and a small portion of products/services (how tough would it be to find an influential brand ambassador or employee advocate for industrial rubber bands or receipt paper)?
Smart marketers must also have a plan for the quiet majority of employees, to educate, update and influence them to create the ideal customer experience. Marketing encompasses not only the external brand experience, but also the internal brand experience. This is internal marketing.
Connecting Internal Marketing with Customer Experience
When a brand becomes disjointed between the external values it stands for and the internal values it espouses, cracks begin to show in customer-facing touchpoints (for example: the front desk operator, the phone calls with support, the emails from account managers). Today’s consumers, whether in B2B or B2C, are highly sensitive to the quality of the interactions they have with businesses and the overall experience from end to end. For example, if there is a completely different message on the company website to what they are hearing on the phone from the salesperson, why would they trust that interaction?
Marketing and internal communications should work closely together to work towards the common goal of a more competitive, and therefore more successful, organization.
How Internal Communications and Marketing are the Perfect Match
The goal of internal communications is to unlock the potential of employees by communicating the information they need in a timely manner. It is a two-way street between “the company” and the employees. The IC team / professional has unique access to and knowledge of the information that gets passed around an organization. Not only that, but they also have access to key data and metrics that prove engagement with that information. And crucially – they will also be aware not only of effective internal channels, but also internal influencers who can highlight and nudge forward particular messages and behaviors.
The goal of marketing is to grow the market share and revenue of the organization, as well as grow brand awareness and maintain brand reputation.
As a marketer, you will realize from that description that internal communications is extremely akin to content marketing campaigns! Marketing works deeply with content development, content operations, project management, and reporting metrics.
The IC function is beginning to employ the same activities and measurement metrics as marketing in order to prove ROI in the same way. These two functions have so much to exchange in terms of knowledge and best practice, it makes perfect sense that this is where internal marketing should begin.
In our new ebook, created in collaboration with HubSpot, we have described some low-cost high-value internal marketing campaigns that marketing and IC can work on together for their mutual benefit. These campaigns are a starting point for what should become a strategic relationship and the foundation of a formal internal marketing program.