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Internal Marketing: What It Is and Why You Need It

Internal marketing involves promoting your organization’s mission, objectives, purpose, culture, products and services, and brand to your own employees. Occasionally referred to as “employee marketing,” the purpose of internal marketing is to “sell” your business to your employees so they are more engaged, brand-aware, and knowledgeable about your organization.

Like other forms of marketing and advertising, internal marketing is a necessity. It’s hard for employees to care about their work if they don’t understand the value of your organization — and it’s no secret that disengaged and disconnected employees can be costly. A lack of internal marketing could also hurt your hiring and recruitment efforts, making it difficult to find employees and retain talent, which, in turn, can lead to more disengagement and negatively impact your bottom line. 

That being said, it’s never too late to develop and execute an effective internal marketing strategy for your organization. As long as you approach it thoughtfully and deliberately, you, your employees, and your business can still benefit from internal marketing. 

 

Internal Marketing Examples

There are countless opportunities to put internal marketing into action at your organization. You may have implemented a strategy or shared internal marketing materials without even realizing it. Common avenues and channels for internal marketing include:

  • Social media profiles, company website, and other online activities;
  • Job listings and promotion opportunities; 
  • Company benefits, perks, and work-life balance initiatives;
  • Training, learning, and development sessions;
  • Internal communications, including emails, instant messages, and phone calls;
  • Workshops, brainstorming sessions, and meetings;
  • Employee performance reviews, feedback opportunities, and spotlights; 
  • Company, project, and product branding and marketing;
  • Company news, updates, milestones, and achievements.

This is by no means an exhaustive list; don’t be afraid to try new things to find what works for your organization. Creativity is your friend and just might be the competitive edge you need to reap the full benefits of internal marketing.

 

Benefits of Internal Marketing

Internal marketing can benefit both your employees and your organization as a whole. Some of its major advantages include: 

  • Employee Engagement: Internal marketing can keep employees informed about and supportive of your company. If their jobs have a purpose and they feel like they’re a valued part of your organization, they’re more likely to be enthusiastic about and devoted to their work.
  • Company Culture: Since it allows you to communicate your mission and values, internal marketing can help develop and strengthen your company’s culture. Having engaged employees can further solidify culture, making your organization a more positive and enjoyable place to work.
  • Brand Awareness: Not only does internal marketing help with developing your organization’s brand, but it also boosts brand awareness among employees. This helps employees become brand advocates who publicize your company (both for customers and potential employees) outside of the workplace. As long as your messaging is consistent, this can also help with your external marketing efforts.
  • Staff Empowerment: With increased brand awareness, your employees are better equipped to do their work. This is especially true for staff members who work with clients, allowing them to improve the experience customers have with your business
  • Recruitment and Hiring: Internal marketing can also support your hiring efforts, making it easier to market job openings and recruit talented employees. With more engaged employees and strong company culture, your organization will gain a positive reputation, making it a desirable workplace for more applicants.
  • Retention: What’s more, this also can help you retain employees, both new and old. It’s believed that increased employee engagement reduces turnover, allowing you to keep the best workers on your team for the benefit of your business.  

Internal marketing is too important for your business to ignore or neglect. However, it’s crucial to go about it properly for your internal marketing efforts to be effective.

 

The Keys to Effective Internal Marketing

To enjoy these benefits, you have to build an effective internal marketing strategy. Like any other marketing initiative, internal marketing requires time, attention, and care if you want your efforts to be successful. The key components of any internal marketing include:

  • A clear strategy for your business as a whole;
  • Specific operational goals that support your strategy;
  • An open and trusting relationship with employees;
  • Honest, clear, and frequent internal communication;
  • A high-quality employee experience, from beginning to end.

With these internal marketing foundations in mind, here’s how you can build and implement a strategy that works well for your business:

 

Cultivate a Great Marketing Team

Before anything else, you need to cultivate a great marketing team at your organization. Internal marketing is just as important as external marketing, and you need to find employees who can make your dream a reality

You and other company leaders may have been able to build up your business and culture, but it isn’t enough to just know your company’s brand. When it comes to internal marketing, you need someone who knows how to properly communicate that brand to others. 

 

Assess Your Current Marketing Strategy

You need to know the state of your current internal marketing strategy before you can create a new and improved plan. Again, you’ve probably been engaging in some kind of internal marketing without even realizing it. This passive approach likely isn’t the best plan for your organization, but you need to know what your current efforts look like and what kind of impact they’re having. It can help to learn what trends are popular across the marketplace and what is working for other companies. This may provide insight into how your own organization compares, and where you have room to be more deliberate with your approach.

After that, you can begin changing and tweaking your plan. Do more of what’s working well and eliminate practices that aren’t benefiting you or your employees. Further, don’t be afraid to experiment and try something new, as even unconventional tactics may resonate with your organization.

 

Consider Your External Marketing

Similarly, take stock of your external marketing efforts, analyzing what’s working well and what isn’t. Consider what your current messaging is and if it matches what you hope to project internally. It’s best to align your internal and external marketing messages, as it creates a powerful brand identity and allows all of your marketing tactics to work cohesively.

Sending mixed messages to employees and potential customers can come across as disingenuous, harming your reputation as an employer and as an organization. Additionally, it presents a missed opportunity to present a strong, unified brand to the public. Simply put, mixed messaging may not actively hurt your business, but it likely won’t help either.

 

Encourage Employee Involvement

Internal marketing doesn’t have to be a top-down initiative; it can be an interactive and collaborative process across your entire organization. Asking your employees what they think or inviting them to participate shows just how much you value their opinions and contributions to your business. 

Not only does this support your efforts to improve engagement and culture, but it can also lead to innovative teamwork from your employees. Each one of your employees brings a unique experience and perspective to the table. They may suggest powerful ideas that you, company leadership, or your marketing team wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

Further, your employees are on the front lines of your organization — they see what’s actually going on, both good and bad. They’ll know what people care about and what messaging would be sincere and helpful for their coworkers. This insight is invaluable to effective internal marketing.

 

Reassess Your Strategy

You aren’t done with internal marketing once you have developed and implemented your plan. As with external marketing strategies, you need to carefully measure the outcomes of your internal marketing efforts. Re-think your approach to marketing and look for ways to make it better. 

There’s always room for growth and improvement. Your organization is dynamic, so it’s wise to continually look for ways to respond to any changes and shifts that occur. Keep making internal marketing a priority to ensure your strategy — and entire business — is as successful as possible.