Many businesses are starting to realize that marketing is no longer a responsibility delegated to only a single department. Instead, it is a role that needs to be filled by every employee at every level. In order to be successful, a company must have everyone working together to implement marketing strategies.
After all: Any employee who comes into contact with a customer or prospect is performing a marketing function at some level, no matter what his title is.
Many of your staff members are at the forefront of your business. They meet and interact with customers. The behavior of these employees makes the difference between turning a potential or one-time customer into a loyal customer, so having a part in marketing the business is essential.
A company brand is made up of not just the external market forces (customers) but the internal culture and values that come from your employees. You can spend a large chunk of your budget on advertising to make potential customers aware of your brand, but it takes the employees that they interact with to really reinforce that brand. A customer who gets exemplary customer service and expresses her appreciation is open to hearing, from your employee, what other products and services she might buy.
You must share your marketing strategy with all employees. To keep them in the loop and ready to do their part, they should understand the company’s brand, what your value proposition is, and what campaigns are currently underway.
It is important that your employees demonstrate the value of your company’s brand, both at work and when they are out in the world. Ensure that each employee feels connected to the brand on an emotional level. The employees who have a connection to the company and the message it sends are more likely to be brand champions, out there among the customers, singing the praises of your products and services.
If your employees don’t know or understand your message, they will do a poor job of communicating it to your customers. Make sure you are doing everything to make sure they get the message. It should be shared in newsletters, emails, voicemails, morning meetings, etc.
Encourage your employees to be brand advocates. Not every business has a formal social media department, but ideally you have employees with their own stories to tell about what the business does and what makes it special. Let each employee who wants to take part post Facebook status updates and tweets at different times. Give them t-shirts that sport the company logo. Anything that they enjoy doing, that gets the company name out there in a positive way, is fair game.
When you see your employees doing what they can to be a champion of the brand, recognize and reward them. Foster a culture of employees that love and support the brand.
It is a good idea to conduct regular “brand brush-ups” in order to keep all employees on the same page. You might set these meetings quarterly, and as part of the new employee training process . Use this time to give your employees the back story behind the business, a behind-the-scenes tour. Some points you want to hit on include:
- Go over your company’s marketing message and why that is important. Discuss each team member’s role in getting that message across.
- Give your company’s story. Why did you start the business? What does the brand name mean? Make the team feel that they are an important part of that story.
- Review the products and services that you offer and what the benefits of each are for the customer.
- Talk about the company logo, official colors, and fonts. Let them understand the connection between all the pieces, and why it is so important to have a consistent brand image.
- Give an overview of who your ideal customer is. What do they look like? What work do they do? How old are they?
- Get everyone’s input on your advertisements and efforts to generate leads. Ask for any ideas that they think may enhance your ad campaigns.
- Review the best techniques for converting leads. Do some play-acting so that everyone can see each other’s methods and give critiques.
- Go over the marketing calendar. Ask team members to keep it in mind when they are planning their daily tasks. If you have a monthly theme, make sure everyone is aware and encourage employees to leverage the theme in their daily communication with your customers
- Take a look at your marketing metrics. How many leads are generated? How many sales are made? How many referrals are sending you new customers? How many new customers are there because of advertising/social media/word of mouth? Communicate the metrics, which will give your employees an insight into the bigger picture, and how there efforts contribute to that.
Your employees need to feel the loyalty that comes from respect and dedication to the brand. Make sure that you are speaking with each person in the company and encouraging them to be brand ambassadors.
When your employees are behind your company 100%, they are ready to be your champions, not only while they are at work but even when they are out and about. That kind of marketing is free, and priceless.
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.