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Creating an Internal Marketing Strategy

09 May 2024

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Let’s talk about delivering an internal marketing strategy that does more than just tick boxes. 

Creating an internal marketing strategy isn’t just about blasting emails or filling bulletin boards. It’s about finding the sweet spot where company goals, employee satisfaction, and brand values thrive.  

We’ll discuss everything from what is internal marketing to internal marketing strategies and examples to help you refine your own campaigns.

What is Internal Marketing?

So, what is internal marketing?

Internal marketing goes beyond communication; it’s about treating employees as the first and most crucial customer of your business.

This approach turns every interaction within the company into a marketing opportunity.

When your employees understand, buy into, and advocate for your brand, they are more likely to deliver a consistent customer experience.

It’s about leveraging various types of internal communications to create a workforce that is as engaged and committed to the brand as the marketing and communications or HR teams are!

Related resources: [Blog post] Essential Internal Branding Strategies

What Should an Internal Marketing Strategy Achieve? 

A robust internal marketing strategy should solidify the bridge between your company’s aspirations and the daily activities of your employees. It should be a vivid thread that connects various departments, ensuring everyone is moving in harmony towards common goals.

Ideally, it should achieve the following:

1. Align Employees with Organisational Objectives

One of the fundamental goals of internal marketing is to align employees’ efforts and behaviours with the overarching objectives of the organisation.

By clearly communicating strategic directions and operational goals through multiple types of internal communication, employees not only understand what is expected of them but also see how their roles directly impact the company’s success.

This can be achieved through regular updates, strategic meetings, and transparent management practices that keep everyone on the same page.

2. Enhance Employee Satisfaction

A well-implemented internal marketing strategy directly contributes to enhancing employee satisfaction. When employees are kept in the loop and their feedback is actively sought and valued, they feel more connected and satisfied with their workplace.

This involves open channels of communication that not only disseminate information from the top down but also encourage upward and lateral communication.

Regular employee surveys, feedback sessions, and open forums can be effective in this regard, helping to understand employee sentiment and address any concerns promptly.

3. Build Strong Internal Brand Ambassadorship

Turning employees into brand ambassadors is a testament to the power of effective internal marketing.

When your workforce believes in the company’s mission and values, they naturally project these in every interaction, be it with customers, suppliers, or new recruits.

This kind of ambassadorship is cultivated by consistently communicating brand values and stories internally, recognising and celebrating those who exemplify these values, and providing all employees with the tools they need to convey the brand message externally.

Training sessions, internal newsletters, and interactive workshops focusing on brand alignment can be instrumental in fostering a strong sense of brand loyalty and advocacy among employees.

Related reading: [Blog post] Engaging Employee Newsletter Ideas

Essential Components in an Internal Marketing Strategy

A finely-tuned internal marketing strategy rests on the backbone of three essential components: communication, training, and employee engagement.

Communication

Internal marketing communication is the lifeblood of a great strategy. It's not just about the message but also the channels and the frequency of the message. Employing a variety of communication types ensures that your message resonates across the spectrum of learning and engagement styles within your workforce.

For example, you can use the company's intranet platform for real-time updates and policy changes, while reserving emails for personal achievements and recognitions that add a touch of personalisation. Weekly virtual group company meetings via video conferencing can simulate a communal space for sharing company successes and areas for growth, encouraging dialogue rather than monologue.

Additionally, you can leverage social media-like features of internal platforms for more informal engagement and to foster community. A chat system similar to popular messaging apps can be employed for quick, cross-departmental conversations.

Training

Training is the educational core of internal marketing. It's where employees are not only taught about products, services, and brand values but are also equipped with the skills to embody and promote these aspects. Effective training programs are ongoing, not one-off events, and they cater to the development of both hard and soft skills.

Develop bite-sized, on-demand training modules accessible through mobile devices, allowing employees to learn at their own pace and convenience. Pair this with regular, in-person workshops that not only focus on operational skills but also on soft skills such as leadership, communication, and problem-solving.

Also, mentorship programs where seasoned employees guide newcomers or less experienced staff can enhance practical, on-the-job learning and reinforce company culture and values.

By investing in training, you’re showing employees that you value their growth and their role in the company’s future.

Employee Engagement

Without employee engagement, the strongest communications and training programs can falter.

Engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to the organisation and its goals. This involves creating an environment where employees are motivated to go above and beyond in their roles. Recognition programs, opportunities for advancement, and initiatives that give employees a voice in the organisation are critical.

Implement digital platforms where ideas can be shared, upvoted, and discussed. This gives a sense of ownership and validation to employees, showcasing that their contributions matter.

Recognition should go further than the annual performance review. Social recognition, where peers can nominate and celebrate each other’s accomplishments, creates a culture of appreciation that is both organic and widespread.

Develop cross-functional project teams to tackle company challenges, which not only breaks departmental silos but also gives employees a sense of belonging to a larger mission. Encourage job rotation or shadowing to give employees a taste of different roles, promoting empathy and broader understanding across the company. These practical steps nurture a more dedicated, involved, and ultimately satisfied workforce.

Engaged employees are not only more productive but are also the best brand ambassadors you could hope for.

How to Create Effective Internal Marketing Strategies

Creating effective internal marketing strategies hinges on thoughtful planning and execution.

Here’s how leaders can use an Employee Experience Platform (EXP) with an intranet as its foundational technology to efficiently carry out each critical step:

1. Define Objectives

Leaders can use data analytics and survey tools to identify areas that require improvement and align them with business outcomes. By setting clear, measurable goals within the EXP, leaders can track progress and ensure that each internal marketing initiative supports broader business objectives.

To practically define objectives, leaders should employ the SMART criteria — ensuring goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Here are two example SMART goals using an EXP:

 Internal Marketing Strategy Objective Examples

2. Conduct an Internal Audit

An EXP can facilitate comprehensive internal audits by providing a central repository of employee interactions, feedback, and performance data.

Leaders can review communications effectiveness, content engagement, and collaboration patterns to assess the current state of internal marketing efforts.

Below is a table of what the audit could contain:

Internal Marketing Strategy Internal Audit Example
For the internal marketing communication efficacy example, the audit might reveal that while policy updates are widely read, other content types have lower engagement, indicating a need for more varied or interactive content formats on your HR content management software.

Content engagement metrics could suggest that certain topics, like health and safety, resonate well with employees, prompting the creation of related content streams.

Collaboration quality figures would highlight the effectiveness of current team structures and could pinpoint departments that are silos, suggesting a need for more integrated projects or shared goals.

3. Identify Employee Segments

Advanced segmentation capabilities allow leaders to categorise employees based on various criteria such as department, role, location, or tenure. This enables personalised communication strategies and ensures that messages are relevant and engaging for different employee groups.

A thorough understanding of employee segments allows leaders to significantly improve internal communications and tailor it effectively.

Here’s how to apply this using an EXP:

  • Use Data Insights: Analyse the EXP’s wealth of user data to identify patterns and common characteristics within the workforce. Leaders can segment employees based on department, seniority, location, and even engagement levels with previous internal communications.
  • Employee Feedback: Leverage surveys and feedback tools within the EXP to gain insights directly from employees, asking them about their preferences for receiving information and their interests.

Examples:

  • Segment by Role: Create a segment for front-line employees who may benefit from regular updates about customer service protocols and another for back-office staff who may require more information about process improvements and operational changes.
  • Segment by Engagement: Distinguish between highly engaged employees who frequently use the EXP and those with lower engagement to develop targeted strategies aimed at increasing usage among the latter group.

4. Tailor Your Messaging

With a good platform, leaders can customise content to cater to the identified employee segments. The platform can help test different messages and formats to see what resonates best, ensuring that each piece of communication is impactful and tailored to the audience’s needs.

Once employee segments are identified, leaders can begin to tailor their messaging to match the communication styles and content preferences of each group.

  • Personalisation: Use the EXP to personalise messages, ensuring that the content is relevant to the individual's role, interests, and past interactions. For example, personalise training opportunities based on the employee's career development plan.
  • A/B Testing: Run A/B tests for different types of messaging and content through the EXP to see which performs better for each segment, allowing for data-driven decision-making in communication strategies.

Some internal marketing examples

  • Customise for Departments: For the technical team, detailed messages about software updates and hackathons can be circulated, whereas the sales team might receive concise updates on new product launches and sales strategies.
  • Adjust Tone and Complexity: For new employees, craft messages that are welcoming and informative, breaking down complex company procedures into digestible content. For seasoned employees, take a more direct and detailed approach that acknowledges their familiarity with the company and builds on their advanced knowledge base.

5. Choose the Right Channels

Leaders can use an EXP to disseminate messages through the most effective channels, whether it’s through email, company social networks or their intranet's own messaging app.

The platform's analytics can help determine which channels are most effective for different types of messages and segments, enabling leaders to optimise their communication strategy.

Selecting the most effective channels for communication within an employee segment is crucial. An EXP can help leaders by offering a variety of channels and tracking their performance.

  • Multi-channel Approach: Use the EXP to distribute messages through multiple channels like email, internal social media platforms, mobile alerts, or digital bulletin boards. Track which channels have higher engagement rates for particular types of information or segments.
  • Feedback Loop: Implement channels that not only deliver content but also allow for employee feedback. This could be through comment sections, reaction buttons, or quick polls within the EXP.

Internal marketing campaign examples include:

  • Direct Messaging for Immediate Tasks: Use direct messaging features for urgent tasks requiring immediate attention from team members. This can ensure tasks are acknowledged and addressed in a timely manner.
  • Discussion Forums for Collaborative Projects: For more collaborative and less time-sensitive projects, utilise discussion forums where team members can contribute ideas and feedback over extended periods.

Related reading: [Blog post] How Intranets Provide Significant ROI 

6. Evaluate Your Strategy

Leaders can leverage EXP's robust analytics to evaluate the strategy's effectiveness against key performance indicators (KPIs).

The platform can track engagement rates, message reach, sentiment analysis, and other critical metrics, allowing leaders to refine their approach for continuous improvement.

To measure the effectiveness of an internal marketing strategy, leaders should set KPIs that are closely tied to the objectives and can be tracked through the EXP.

  • Regular Monitoring: Use the analytics features of the EXP to monitor KPIs regularly, not just at the end of a campaign, to allow for real-time adjustments.
  • Balanced Scorecard Approach: Consider a balanced scorecard within the EXP that looks at multiple aspects, such as engagement, satisfaction, and performance metrics, to get a comprehensive view of the strategy’s success.

Recap

We've unravelled the threads of an internal marketing strategy that’s not just functional but exceptional.  

By defining clear objectives, auditing your current tactics, understanding your diverse team, personalising the conversation, picking the right channels, and keeping an eagle eye on the pulse of your strategy’s performance, you’re not just creating a strategy—you’re nurturing a living, breathing ecosystem where every employee thrives and every message resonates.

For more information on how to create a great internal communications strategy, we recommend you read the guide on Internal Communications Best Practices.

Internal Communication Best Practices - Blog Banner Image


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