Are you reading the print or electronic version of this issue of PCT magazine? If electronic, did you access it from the Internet or via the new app? That’s three different ways you can read this one magazine. People today can consume information immediately and via many different mediums and platforms. As a result, marketing to customers has the potential to become complex and it can be quite overwhelming. So where to begin...
While you should always explore the variety of ways you can communicate your unique message to potential and existing customers, there is one constant that we sometimes overlook — our frontline employees.
Your frontline employees provide a daily opportunity to put your best foot forward, create a dialogue with existing customers and sell to new customers. Your frontline employees bring your company to life each and every day with your customers.
The challenge is ensuring they are armed with enough information about your business and your overall marketing plan to be able to effectively communicate and carry a consistent message to their audience — your customers. The solution? An internal marketing plan just for employees!
Marketing your company to your employees will help create advocates on your behalf. You have worked hard to build your business, but as an owner, it is now time to let others help you move forward. Your team provides the opportunity to extend your brand and they will be the voice and face of your business delivering your unique message on your behalf. You will develop a stronger team and as a result grow your business.
Most importantly, don’t assume they already know how you want your company to be represented. Take the time to share it with them and they will be more invested. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Share Your Vision, Mission and Core Values.
Not just once, more like once a week. It should be repetitive so it becomes ingrained in your culture. Also consider posters for the walls and incentives for them to “learn and internalize” your vision, mission and core values.
Share Your Marketing Strategy and Plan.
As a business owner, you have more than likely communicated your level of service expectations, how you want them to solve your customers’ problems, what services you want them to sell and what their sales goals are. But have you shared your marketing strategy and tactical plan with them? Every member of your team should know when and where you are running advertising, what your unique messaging is, the types of service you are promoting and the details and timing for any special offers. If your team understands the “what” and the “why,” they can add real value to all your initiatives.
Consider this scenario: You’ve just decided to sponsor a local high school football team for the upcoming fall season. You did your research and know this community is a match to your target demographic. The residents of this area really support the team and the games are well attended by existing and potential customers. You put all the plans in place, but don’t share the information with your employees. They find out about the sponsorship when they see your logo on the scoreboard in the stadium. What more could you have gained by sharing this with them ahead of time? Employees would have a sense of pride in the association. They would be able to talk about it with their customers in that area and when in front of new customers. They also would likely have some great ideas on how to make the sponsorship even better. More communication also helps prevent misunderstandings. Some employees might have questions as to why you chose to sponsor one team and not another. By providing them with your research, they will understand the “why” as well as the “what.”
Put it on display. Consider displaying all of your advertising creative and promotional information in your office where it is easy for employees to access and learn about your initiatives such as in your tech room or break room. Strong visual images will help develop that sense of pride with your employees and reinforce that messaging you are investing a lot of money to communicate. The more they understand your messaging the better they will be able to communicate it to your customers.
Have a Marketing Party!
Marketing is fun. Why not throw a party for your entire team each spring as you kick off your big season? Get them excited about all the opportunity that lies ahead. Maybe you have a new logo or campaign to share or maybe it is just a chance to remind them of your current messaging, but either way it will invigorate your employees and that will show in their service and their sales. This is also an excellent opportunity to remind them that the investment you are making in marketing is to help them grow as well as to help your business grow.
The bottom line is that your employees should be as well informed about your marketing strategy and tactics as you are. If you spend all your time and effort marketing to customers, but forget to communicate with your frontline team, you are leaving opportunity on the table. An informed employee is more likely to be an engaged employee who will be invested in your success because you have demonstrated you are invested in theirs.
The author is chief marketing and strategy officer for Arrow Exterminators, Atlanta, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.