Unlike external marketing, internal marketing focuses on promoting a company’s products, services, values, and more to employees within the organization. The goal is to improve employees’ engagement with and understanding of the company’s goals. This guide breaks down internal marketing, its benefits, and how you can create an internal marketing plan.
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When you think of marketing, you probably think of external marketing: promoting a company’s goods and services to others. So, when you hear the term “internal marketing”, it may sound a bit confusing.
Simply put, internal marketing involves educating your employees on your company’s products and services, mission and values, and overall goals. It’s crucial for businesses, as it makes employees more engaged, enthusiastic, and loyal to the company. It also makes workers more likely to speak positively about the business, which boosts your reputation and helps attract new customers and job candidates.
But that’s only the beginning when it comes to internal marketing, and understanding all the ins and outs can be daunting. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you. Below, we dig into the benefits of internal marketing, best practices to follow, how to develop an internal marketing plan yourself, and more.
- Internal marketing refers to a company’s strategic efforts to promote its mission, goals, products, and services to its employees.
- The goal of internal marketing is to align employees with company objectives and promote a sense of belonging, understanding, motivation, and enthusiasm among the workforce.
- Examples of internal marketing efforts include workshops to educate workers on company products and services, team-building events, professional development opportunities, employee recognition programs, and open communication and collaboration.
- Good internal marketing campaigns can strengthen your company culture, hire better talent, improve customer service, and boost employee retention and engagement.
- To create an effective internal marketing strategy, you’ll need to set goals, develop a plan, select team leaders to execute the strategy, and communicate with employees. It’s also vital to review the results of your strategy and improve it as needed.
What Is Internal Marketing?
Internal marketing refers to a company’s efforts to educate employees about its mission, values, products, services, and goals.
You might think of internal marketing as “selling” your company to your team members—treating them like customers to ensure they’re well-informed, satisfied, and eager to speak highly of your brand.
There are various objectives of internal marketing. These include:
- Aligning employees’ goals and values with your business’s.
- Ensuring everyone understands how your company operates and what goods and services it provides.
- Fostering a sense of enthusiasm and motivation among your workers.
- Promoting clear, transparent communication across your workforce.
- Developing a sense of community and belonging at your company.
- Improving employee engagement levels.
- Showing workers they’re valued by providing personal and professional development opportunities.
- Ensuring team members feel rewarded and recognized for their achievements.
- Reducing employee turnover.
- Enhancing team morale and productivity.
- Turning workers into “brand advocates” who will promote your products and services to their friends, family, and other prospective customers.
Overall, internal marketing is about creating a business culture that empowers employees to contribute to company goals and foster a positive external image for your organization.
Benefits of a Good Internal Marketing Strategy
Stronger company culture
Internal marketing enables you to educate your team members on your company’s mission statement, core values, vision, and goals—in addition to its goods and services. This helps everyone feel connected to your business’s objectives, promoting a sense of belonging across your organization.
Additionally, internal marketing facilitates effective communication and collaboration. This adds another dimension to your company culture, making it one that centers on teamwork and transparency.
Improved employee satisfaction and engagement
Internal marketing keeps your workforce informed about recent updates in your company, its short- and long-term goals, upcoming events, and more. This clear communication creates a positive employee experience, as it helps them understand how their roles and duties contribute to your business’s objectives.
Plus, it makes them excited about your company’s current and future success, boosting their commitment. In turn, this increases employee engagement and satisfaction levels.
Increased retention and better talent acquisition
Effective internal marketing strategies involve communicating business values with employees, providing workers with training and development opportunities, and appreciating workers for their contributions. These efforts help employees feel valued and engaged—and engaged employees are much more likely to stay with a company long-term.
Satisfied and engaged workers also tend to have a positive opinion of the business. They’re more likely to speak highly of your company on their social media pages or directly to their friends and family. This increases employee referrals and attracts job-seekers, who will feel excited about applying to your company after hearing how great it is to work for you.
Better communication, collaboration, and productivity
With a good internal marketing strategy, you encourage open, transparent communication across your company. Employees will better understand how your business works, what it does, and where it’s headed—helping reduce misunderstandings and facilitate smooth discussions.
Internal marketing also promotes healthy collaboration, encouraging employees to work together toward organizational success.
And when employees communicate and collaborate effectively, they can work more productively. You’ll face less downtime and delays, fewer mistakes, and greater innovation since employees can share knowledge seamlessly.
Enhanced customer satisfaction and company reputation
Internal marketing efforts help employees provide better customer service. They’ll better understand your company’s products and services, making it easier for them to provide recommendations and answer customers’ questions. Plus, they’ll be aligned with your company’s mission and feel driven to provide an excellent customer experience.
With better customer service comes increased customer satisfaction. Happy customers are more likely to recommend your company to others, bringing you more business and enhancing your reputation in the industry.
Likewise, your employees boost brand awareness and contribute to a strong company reputation through internal marketing. They become “brand advocates” who speak positively about the company to others and make referrals to potential new hires and customers. This solidifies your organization as a great place to work and do business with.
Internal Marketing Examples
These introduce new hires to your business’s products and services, culture, vision, and goals. Plus, they help fresh employees understand the benefits of working at your company.
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Training and development initiatives
Training courses and development programs like coaching and mentorship initiatives give employees the knowledge and skills they need to do their jobs and contribute to company goals successfully.
They also show workers you’re invested in their professional growth and give them a clear idea of their path to advancement at your business.
Regular internal communications
Effective communication in the workplace is a big part of internal marketing. It generally encompasses instant messages, videos, emails, and other updates that leaders share directly with employees. This shows a commitment to open dialogue, ensures everyone stays up to date, and encourages employees to engage in discussions with both their colleagues and superiors.
Internal newsletters and updates
Distributing internal newsletters and posting updates to a company-wide newsfeed ensures all team members know what’s going on in the business, what events are coming up, and more. This boosts transparency and helps employees stay engaged and informed.
The best newsletters and updates will also spotlight high-achieving employees, which can motivate other workers to
Employee rewards and recognition programs
These initiatives focus on appreciating staff members’ hard work, achievements, and ability to embody company values.
Rewards and recognition programs are very customizable and vary from business to business, but generally, they include:
- Employee-of-the-month awards.
- Monetary rewards, such as bonuses and pay raises.
- Non-monetary rewards, like extra paid time off (PTO), gift cards, and flexible work arrangements.
- Public recognition, like through a shoutout in an internal newsletter.
- Private acknowledgment, such as through a thank-you note or message sent directly to the employee.
- Peer-to-peer recognition, where workers share appreciation for their colleagues through messages or by nominating them for an employee-of-the-month award.
Company intranet or knowledge base system
In their internal marketing efforts, many companies use intranet software or platforms that let them create internal knowledge bases. These tools make it easy for everyone across the business to access information and resources related to the company, communicate with each other, and collaborate on tasks and projects.
Health and well-being programs
These include workshops on stress management, employee assistance programs (EAPs) that provide counseling and support to workers, mental health resources and training, work-life balance initiatives, and wellness challenges.
These show workers that the company values them as people, not just employees. They also help prevent burnout and can increase overall satisfaction and morale.
Team-building activities, workshops, holiday celebrations, off-site retreats, and other events can help keep employees excited about their jobs and feel like they’re part of a team.
All-team meetings and informational sessions
Meetings that everyone at your company attends are a great way to share updates on products and services, employee accomplishments, and more.
Informational sessions are also perfect for educating employees on your company’s mission and offerings. These can be held in-person or virtually—or even be pre-recorded and shared via email.
How to Create and Execute an Internal Marketing Plan
Step 1: Set your goals
First, think about what you want to achieve through your internal marketing efforts. For example, are you aiming to get employee buy-in for a new product or service you’re launching? Or, do you want to foster a better understanding of your company’s overall vision and goals?
As you set your goals, you’ll also want to identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be essential to monitoring the success of your marketing. For example, your KPI might be better team communication, lower turnover rates, or improved employee satisfaction.
Spend some time thinking about your objectives, then write them down and keep them in mind as you move to step 2.
Step 2: Develop your plan
Next, it’s time to develop your internal marketing strategy and plan. This involves:
Deciding on the methodology
Choose the approaches you’ll take in marketing your company to your employees—such as through workshops, internal newsletters, recognition programs, or training initiatives.
Figuring out the resources and technology you’ll use
This might include video conferencing or collaboration software, a physical event space, or employee engagement platforms.
Determining how to communicate with your team
Select the channels you’ll use to communicate—like instant messaging apps, company intranet platforms, newsletters, emails, or town hall meetings. Also, decide how frequently you’ll communicate with your employees. Will you send newsletters each week? Or perhaps hold meetings twice per month?
Defining the scope
Figure out which parts of the company your internal marketing efforts will impact and how long it will take to execute your plan.
For instance, your strategy may focus on enhancing communication across the entire company, so it will impact everyone at your company. This will take more time since it requires more coordination to execute.
Setting a budget
Determine how much you’ll spend on your internal marketing efforts—including the cost of creating content such as newsletters or training courses, purchasing tools and technology, and using any external resources.
Step 3: Choose your team
The next step is to select who will be responsible for executing your internal marketing plan. This could be C-level executives, team leaders, or your HR department. No matter who they are, they should embody your company’s values and be effective communicators.
Then, let these team members know that they’re in charge of implementing the plan. Generally, the best way to do this is in a face-to-face meeting that gives them time to ask questions and gain clarity on the process.
Step 4: Implement your plan
With your internal marketing team in place, you’re ready to execute your plan. Remember, this will look different depending on your chosen approaches and communication channels, as well as your unique goals and KPIs.
Here’s how to go about this:
- Create your content. Develop the content you need based on your selected methods and communication channels. For instance, you might create memos, videos, graphics, presentations for products and services, or training courses.
- Use your resources and technology. Purchase and set up the tools you need, such as communication software or collaboration platforms. Ensure you have manuals and guides ready for employees who may need help using the technology. Also, for in-person meetings and training sessions, ensure you’ve paid for the cost to rent the space.
- Start communicating and rolling out programs. Share updates in your team chat, hold workshops, host Q&A sessions, set up meetings, and publish newsletters as planned. For your programs and initiatives, announce them via your chosen communication channels and get them rolling. These might be rewards and recognition programs, training initiatives, or well-being programs for workers.
Step 5: Analyze results and improve accordingly
You’ll only know if your internal marketing was successful by analyzing the results against the KPIs you defined in step 1.
Depending on your goals, you may have various KPIs. Some common KPIs include:
- Employee turnover rates.
- Number of new job applicants.
- Employee productivity.
- Client satisfaction.
- Employee understanding of business goals.
You can gather the results of your strategy by looking at sales metrics, publishing employee surveys and reviewing the results, or calculating updated employee turnover rates, for example.
Then, you’ll compare these results against your goals and KPIs. Increased sales metrics, survey results indicating increased employee satisfaction, and lower turnover rates would all indicate successful internal marketing efforts.
Based on your analysis, you can then revisit your strategy and improve it as needed.
Best Practices for Successful Internal Marketing
Keep your eye on your company goals
First and foremost, make sure your marketing efforts reflect your company’s mission, values, and goals. Think of these as “threads” that run through your marketing strategy and the programs that come out of it.
Ensuring good alignment with your objectives helps everyone see the value and purpose of your efforts, making them more motivated to participate in them. Plus, it helps employees understand how their actions contribute to organizational goals and feel empowered to work toward them each day.
Get your leaders on board
Boost the success of your internal marketing efforts by getting your managers, team leaders, and supervisors involved and ensuring they commit to your strategy. This sets a strong example for your employees, who will likely be inspired by seeing higher-ups embodying your company’s values, communicating clearly, and fostering collaboration.
The added bonus is that this helps create a more unified workforce and contributes to a culture of togetherness, trust, and credibility.
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Remember your employees are unique
Your internal marketing strategy may be rock-solid, but you’ll still need to be flexible to meet your employees’ unique needs. They likely have different preferences for communication, training, and more—especially across different teams.
Where appropriate, tailor your marketing efforts to suit your various teams or departments. For example, you might post physical memos at the workplace for your in-person staff who don’t have regular access to email or instant messaging platforms while on the clock. This ensures they stay informed in a way that makes sense for them.
Focus on open, transparent communication
Communication is key to good internal marketing, so it’s vital to create clear communication channels to share information with your employees.
To do this, you can:
- Use instant messaging platforms, such as Slack, Google Chat, or Connecteam.
- Set everyone up with a company email and send information through emails.
- Implement a company intranet platform.
- Use software, such as Connecteam, that includes a built-in company newsfeed.
- Create an internal knowledge base employees can access for information about your company’s policies, procedures, and more.
- Send internal newsletters that recap important company updates, employee achievements, and upcoming events.
- Host regular team meetings, either in person or virtually.
- Use an event management platform that lets you create and manage company events—including training sessions, meetings, team outings, and more.
Seek regular employee feedback
Regularly gathering employee feedback shows them you value their opinion on your internal marketing efforts and want to make meaningful improvements at the company. It helps you identify concerns early on and gives insight into where your strategy may be falling short.
It also lets workers have a hand in decision-making, giving them a sense of ownership in your company’s success. This leads to higher engagement, boosted motivation, and increased loyalty to your organization.
Some easy ways to collect employee feedback include:
- Creating and sharing surveys and polls.
- Hosting meetings or workshops with an open floor for feedback.
- Implementing an “open-door policy,” where workers can always come to you with any questions, concerns, or comments they have.
Internal marketing is closely tied to internal communication and collaboration, and technology makes both of those easier.
Some types of technology you can use for internal marketing include:
- Collaboration tools like Google Suite, Basecamp, and Asana.
- Video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Skype.
- Communication tools like Slack, Connecteam’s Chat, and Google Chat.
- Employee recognition tools, such as Bonusly or Connecteam’s recognition features.
Internal marketing is a key part of running a successful business and cultivating a cohesive team. It involves promoting your company’s values and goals so that your team members better resonate with your business.
When done right, internal marketing leads to many positive outcomes—including a stronger company culture, better talent acquisition, increased employee retention, and more satisfied customers.
To ensure your internal marketing efforts are effective, be transparent with employees, regularly gather feedback from your team, and use technology like Connecteam to streamline collaboration and communication across your business.
What is the difference between external and internal marketing?
External marketing targets customers outside the company, aiming to boost sales and brand visibility. Meanwhile, internal marketing focuses on engaging and aligning employees with the company’s values and goals. This leads to a more positive work culture, better employee engagement, improved productivity, enhanced customer satisfaction, and more.
What is the main goal of internal marketing?
Internal marketing aims to promote a company’s mission, goals, vision, products, and services to its employees. The goal is to create an engaged workforce and align individual efforts with wider business objectives.