One of the most underutilized aspects of marketing endeavors is the inclusion of an organization’s employees in developing and deploying a marketing strategy. Too often structured marking departments function within a closed environment where the professionals design, develop, and engage in the company’s marketing strategy. But employees from other disciplines within the company can play an important role in enhancing brand perception by making more personal connections with potential customers. Some of the best brand advocates can be located just outside the marketing department door, ready to become the business’s greatest brand advocate. So, what does it take to motivate employees to step up and participate in promoting the brand?
Step one is making sure that the organization’s culture is conducive to an environment where employees are content, well compensated, and committed to moving the company forward towards its stated goals and objectives. Toxic workplaces have no chance of generating positive results. Create a meaningful incentive program to compensate employees for extra participation in marketing initiatives. Encourage members to volunteer ideas to like, share and comment on the company’s social media and blog posts. Champion them to engage personally with customers on social media, and be committed to harvesting workers’ ideas and constructive comments. Share with participants how participation will positively impact marketing initiatives and strategy.
Content is essential in any marketing strategy because it offers information about a brand that extends beyond product and/or service offerings. Writing impactful website blogs, producing how-to videos, and utilizing sharp images to demonstrate a brand’s purpose and promise requires a specific skill set that not all employees can master. Seek out those members who have the potential to elevate a brand’s authority in the field, promote increased customer interactions, and provide valuable information to the audience and build relationships that create trust and credibility. Offering content from various voices will enhance and personalize the brand’s overall message.
Create custom hashtags that make the process of posting flattering comments and “shout-outs” easier. Include information about other company departments to familiarize potential customers with the brand’s culture. Focus attention on those who contribute outstanding performance and participation. When it comes to your company’s marketplace, employees have an instinctive understanding of customers’ wants, needs, and concerns. Leverage this insight to make employees the brand’s best ambassadors.
Organizing and managing the process of inclusion must be closely monitored. Making employees feel that opinions are valued and welcomed is essential, but opening up the gates to large numbers of diverse opinions can present some unwelcome challenges. Not every staff member will demonstrate interest and skill in every area of marketing activity. Delegate assignments to each member’s personal strength and streamline the effort to be efficient and less intrusive of each participant’s time. Building an internal band of brand ambassadors can be risky. The effort can easily feel akin to herding a group of elephants. Failing to maintain positive control and direction of the journey may lead to a sense of being trampled by an out-of-control stampede.
Begin by defining the mission and inviting a select group of qualified volunteers to participate. Monitor and measure the outcome of each initiative and adjust and improve future efforts. Expand the opportunity to others who demonstrate a willingness to join the team and participate positively.