Thursday, 10 March 2016

Internal Marketing 101 – Lessons from MKTG6207

“You don’t build a business, you build people, and then people build the business” – Zig Ziglar

What is an internal market some might ask? This concept is quite foreign to most but remains to be one of the most fundamental aspects of any organization resulting in either their success or failure. To put it simply, Internal Marketing is when organizations think of their employees as their first market, their internal customer…and so they should! It is when all employees are customer-oriented and work collaboratively together as a team, no matter whom their “customers” may be; B2B, B2C, professional service clients, donors, students... You get the picture.

It is apparent that a company can have fantastic marketers and marketing plans but how do we get them to work? At a basic level trying to think about and understand some of the issues that arise within an organization that actually stop us from being able to make our marketing plan effective could prove to be a good starting point. 

The purpose of having and practicing successful internal marketing helps ensure that employees are effectively carrying out the organization programs and policies. From what I have realised in my professional career is that the more informed a staff member is, the more engaged and invested they are in the organizations outcomes, so at the end “Happy Employees = Happy Customers”.

In the discussion run by Dr. Pennie Frow it was the success of ones internal marketing that creates an environment that enables organizations to focus on whatever needs changing internally so they can enhance their external marketplace performance. It should further help organisations deliver better customer service by aligning, coordinating and motivating employees.

A particular point that resonated with me was the insight gained into the different customer markets affecting a brand, product or service, and yet again …majority of the time is comes down to relationship! It was said that the QUALITY of service that reaches the customer begins with the quality of service people inside the organization give each other. These to me are powerful and ever so important concepts that must not be surpassed! No matter what industry sector you might belong to, it is paramount that all stakeholders involved in a company’s fabrication feel valued, acknowledged, satisfied and motivated otherwise you will quickly enter the cycle of failure. 

An exercise that may prove to be beneficial is to undergo a Customer Market spider map in relation to the organization in which you are researching. Several elements of the Customer Market is rated in relation to its current environment and again in relation to where it is perceived to be in the future. Each of these seven components (New markets, existing markets, Supplier markets, referral markets, Recruitment markets, Influence markets & Internal markets) all have direct correlations and depend on one another to ensure a businesses success and futurity within its market position.

Many elements of a companies “Customer Market” further affect the climate and culture of a business, ultimately influencing the employee, stakeholder and consumer satisfaction. The concept of culture that was discussed related to more of a company's customs, values and beliefs whereas the climate relates to the atmosphere that employees “perceive” is created in their place of work by the policies, practices, procedures and rewards to the firm. 

Some might say that managing an online kitchenware company from the comfort of my home has a long list of benefits, and yes, you’re right! However, it also means there is very little culture I am surrounded by. As a friendly and extremely social person this sits as a slight disadvantage for me as it stops the collaboration, innovation and sharing of ideas, which are important qualities that define me both as a person and a professional. It is just my luck that I service a number of clients outside my everyday job enabling me to co-creative value for them and their business.

So, How do you foster an increased sense of culture within an autonomous role? Even though I am empowered to make most of the marketing and operational decisions within the company, an increased culture might perhaps give me a greater sense of “belonging” or opportunity to grow. Food for thought perhaps?

Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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