Celebrate the success of internal marketing

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Keith Moor, director of brand and communications at Santander, spends a whopping 40% of his time on internal marketing. At Marketing Week Live! earlier this year, he said that the job of communicating with his colleagues was so vital that it took up almost half of his time.

Moor is not alone. Aviva’s life business chief executive David Barral has been using the company’s intranet to gauge staff opinions on the firm’s strategy while Coca-Cola is currently working on plans to introduce a social media element internally to connect its 700,000 employees.

Meanwhile, when launching its ’Live well for less’ campaign in September, the internal communications team at Sainsbury’s asked the supermarket’s workers to explain what this concept meant for them.

I admit that internal communications can be hard to link to the bottom line. It is tricky to track hard sales success back to something as ’soft’ as Nigel in the Southend store having a better understanding of his brand’s strategy. So why are so many companies investing in the internal marketing function?

The answer is simple. Internal marketing has always been important for brands, but our economic environment now means it is something no company can afford to ignore.

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As Sainsbury’s director of colleague engagement Jacki Connor says in this week’s cover story: “Employees don’t trust the police, politicians or banks and so they feel they have to have a good relationship with their employers to ensure a sense of security.”

This is the truth. Your staff do not perform better when driven by fear and anxiety that’s when they make rash, desperate decisions which backfire. They work best when they fully understand the company’s business strategy and feel they are an important part of delivering it. When this happens, a company sees revenues rise.

If you are still stuck for ways to motivate your staff after reading our cover feature, however, I’ve got another idea. Why not enter our Marketing Week Engage Awards for 2012? Let your staff see that you value their hard work and reward them for it with a night out on 22 May 2012 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

You can find out everything you need to know about the awards entry process at www.marketingweekawards.co.uk. The deadline is 17 January 2012 so there’s plenty of time to gather the data and evidence to support your entry.

What we’ve learned from the past two years of case studies from the Engage Awards is that good marketing leads to good business, which leads to good returns for staff, customers and shareholders. And if that isn’t worth celebrating, I don’t know what is.

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