Most employers hire a person to fill a specific need that they have identified within their firm. Typically that person is trained how the last employee performed within that role, taught what the basic processes and resources are, then they are left to their own devices. Good leaders provide frequent performance feedback and incentives such as quarterly reviews and bonuses or maybe even a few extravagant annual company outings, but more often than not that is where the formal support ends.
Employees frequently develop ties with coworkers to help them better understand the context of their job or to gain perspective on office personalities. Sometimes those relationships generate organic morale and you hear collaboration in the halls. However, sometimes they can lead to misinterpretation of company goals or strategy, and occasionally it can negatively skew the company culture altogether.
Here is where intentional internal marketing comes into play. Instead of one-off efforts such as bagels and casual Fridays, the random extra vacation day, or even a quarterly company meeting, what I am talking about is a thoughtful and comprehensive strategy to create team buy-in. Investing in your employees’ belief in your leadership and your firm can set you apart. Assuming you have a solid mission, clear values, and a relevant and effective business strategy, the best way to advance your success is to have a people around you who understand your goals, see your motivation, and appreciate how they fit into the pie.
How can you create a comprehensive internal marketing strategy? I can’t emphasize this enough… communication is key. Your strategy should not only include quarterly meetings and an open door policy for senior management, but also strong corporate structure with clear channels for employee growth, trust among leaders, consistency, and strong messaging on how each role within the firm is essential to the firm’s success. At the end of the day, each employee must feel proud of where they work.
Plenty of companies make-due without purposely investing in their team, but peek behind the curtain and what do you see? Disengaged hamsters running in their wheel, or worse expensive turnover, small profit margins, or nay-sayers spreading the virus of discontent…?
To me the investment is obvious – in today’s demanding and unpredictable business environment it is smart to build momentum from within. Benefit from those smart hires and grow the intellectual talent you already have so that you can focus on everything else.
It is widely known that professional services firms have been late to integrate effective social media campaigns into their marketing strategies. Evidence from multiple perspectives shows that not only is it beneficial to business development and corporate growth, it may be unavoidable.
The most commonly referenced reason why social media is unavoidable is that generations of people are growing up connected. Your easily located presence on the internet is now expected, and a quality internet presence lends credibility to your business.
Let’s not forget that producing engaging communications is time consuming. Distributing or repurposing content via multiple media outlets encourages more exposure to readers at an exponential level. By sharing relevant content with your established network (i.e. LinkedIn), you increase your chances for additional views with every “share” and/or “like” from your network. Posting your piece in multiple locations ensures that you drive more traffic to your website resulting in more followers and regular visitors– and creating a following is a huge driver of new qualified leads.
Which brings me to business development… Raise your hand if you enjoy tapping people for new business and referrals. Most people prioritize business development as an afterthought to their “day job.” Developing compelling and informative pieces regularly allows clients and potential clients to get to know you better, gives you reasons to reach out to your existing network, and helps qualify the people who you actually end up being in contact with.
Keeping in mind that a hand shake will never entirely be replaced by a “virtual meeting,” social media can help ensure that you are found in the growing sea of what the internet has become. Just like the days of acquiring new business by hanging a shingle outside your office are gone, so are the days of launching a SEO-less virtual brochure website. [*What is SEO?]
SEO ranking is a growing and essential part of website development that really only evolved as a strategy around 2010. So, how do you ensure that your site has strong SEO? As keywords change and website platforms and software put out greater functionality and security improvements, your website needs to be updated. According to one SEO expert, “paying for monthly SEO maintenance is like paying for electricity every month...” Hiring a strategic SEO group to maintain your site is a simple way to make sure that your website, at the very least, ranks at higher levels on an ongoing basis and stays safe from hackers.
So – why social media? Just like you wouldn’t buy a new computer and install software from 1997, you wouldn’t develop a marketing strategy with only direct mailings and newspaper tombstone ads. Social media can not only help you reach the right audience, but used strategically it can raise the chances that the right audience will find you.
*SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Simply put, SEO is a way to improve the chances that you are found when people search for you on the internet. Successful SEO includes content strategy, keyword research and competitor analysis, inbound linking, content publishing tools, building metadata into your website’s architecture, among other things.
Unless your firm’s revenues can carry the overhead of experienced senior-level marketing, it makes financial sense to outsource. But how can you ensure that consultant perspective will reflect your highest priorities? I’ll tell you how.. start with a team with a lot of corporate experience under their belt. Better yet, hire a team that is modular so that you don’t replace their overhead for yours.
Let me ask you this… how many marketing programs do you have running right now, today? How many different messages, visual images, price points, managers are involved? Who is tracking results and analyzing metrics? What are you spending on all of these efforts in terms of time and funds? How many programs are you paying for, but not running? It starts to get overwhelming, doesn’t it?
With more than 20 years of corporate marketing experience for professional services firms, the GoFish Communications team innately works from an in-house perspective. That means budgets are important, timelines are sometimes tight, and shifting priorities and working with personalities are the norm. Experience with multiple firm structures and leadership dynamics means that we aren’t working in a vacuum. Rather we can lend best practice advice and view your goals, plans and priorities from an objective vantage point.
The fact that the GoFish Communications team is a partnership of different talents and skills puts control in your hands. You can not only modify the services you receive, but budget for only the modules you utilize. Often companies interview full service marketing firms only to be surprised by estimates that could pay for a full time junior level marketing position in-house. But then you are back where you started.
So here’s my advice, hire a marketing partner. Hire a firm that will work with your senior team on their level, from their perspective and create a lean and effective marketing program that will maximize your business plan and can be realistically managed.