Employee Marketing: The Definitive Guide for 2021 and Beyond

In this guide, we’re covering what employee marketing is, why employee marketing is important and how to do it successfully.

Internal marketing is just as important as external marketing. The importance of employee communication is a very well-established principle. However, communication and the transfer of information alone is not enough.

When it comes to reaching your employees with vital information, marketing principles make all the difference!

Treating your employees in the same manner as you treat your customers increases employee engagement, puts everyone on the same page, and aligns all areas of the business with its core values and goals. It increases productivity, creates a better company culture, and improves customer service.

Employee marketing also fosters better employee advocacy and helps to bring the whole company together, driving towards the same goals. 

     Ready to dive in? Let’s start with defining what employee marketing is:

    What is Employee Marketing

    In simple terms, employee marketing is the promotion of the brand’s core values, goals and culture to its employees.

    The objective of this is to create an emotional connection with the company and the brand, which leads to enthusiasm and improved employee engagement.

    Internal employee communication and sharing information is very important for this, but it’s adding marketing tactics to the mix that makes the magic happen. 

    When employees are engaged and passionate about their company, they’re more motivated and productive. That enthusiasm and positive sentiment towards the brand shines through in customer interactions and their official and unofficial employee advocacy on social media.    

    Gallup on YouTube gives a useful snapshot of why employee engagement is so important:

    Having an engaged and motivated workforce also improves employee retention and makes hiring new talent much easier.  

    Treating your employees like customers and marketing the company to them, while sharing vital information and keeping everyone connected and engaged, is at the heart of employee marketing.

    Why is Employee Marketing Important?

    Employee marketing has many benefits. One of the most important ones is increased employee engagement and the impacts of engagement on company culture, productivity, and customer experience.

    Engaged employees do their jobs better and they’re more in tune with the company’s objectives and values. They’re able to bring that awareness and passion into their interactions with customers, colleagues, and partners. 

    When employees have quick and easy access to the relevant information they need, they’re more efficient and effective, which also improves customer experience directly and indirectly.

    Let’s look in more detail at how improved employee engagement benefits the company and brand:

    Company Culture and Internal Brand Awareness

    Effective communication, that goes both ways between the company and its employees, is essential for getting the whole organization on the same page and pulling together towards the common good.

    This can be a challenge, especially in larger organizations, because communication can’t be a one size fits all memo. To be effective, internal communication needs to borrow some marketing tactics!

    Approaching internal communication in the same way you would approach communication with your customers helps you tailor communication to reach them best.

    Looking at them as a ‘target audience’, which needs to be engaged to properly process the message, changes game completely. When the message is delivered in a way that best reaches them and shows them how it applies to them, in their specific role, it is much more effective.  

    Employee Marketing graphic showing relationship between engagement and company culture
    Image Source: Peakon

    Employees who are aware of what is happening in their company on a broader level and are able to see their role in that bigger picture are more likely to feel like they’re a part of something meaningful.

    Having your workforce, across all departments and sectors, feeling like they’re part of one community fosters a sense of belonging. It makes working for that particular company meaningful and fulfilling. Employees are happier, more open, and more aware of the brand or company as a whole.

    Improved Productivity

    Employee engagement and productivity go hand in hand. According to Forbes “teams who score in the top 20% in engagement realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism, and 59% less [employee] turnover. Engaged employees show up every day with passion, purpose, presence, and energy”.

    Employee marketing - image says 'employee productivity increases by 20-25% in organizations where employees are connected'
    Image Source: Smarp

    The reason for this is surprisingly simple – when employees are well informed, and they feel valued and heard at work, they are more productive. Internal communication, optimized by marketing tactics, makes this possible.  

    Better Customer Service

    Customer service, especially in customer-facing businesses, is the most important aspect to consider. When employees are more engaged and feel personally connected to their company, they’re in a better position to help customers.

    Employee Marketing graphic says 'employee engagement can create a 22% increase in cross sell, 38% increase in self revenue and 85% increase in order sizes'
    Image Source: Harver

    Their passion and enthusiasm shine through in their interactions. And that sense of personal connection to the company makes them take ownership of their part in the customer experience.

    Effective employee communication gives employees the tools they need to succeed at customer service. They’re more efficient at finding solutions and the other employees and departments needed to fulfill that solution are also better equipped to help them help the customer.

    When all the different parts of the whole are working together and aligned in their approach and objectives, the customers receive the best service.  

    A Great Foundation for Employee Advocacy and Brand Ambassadors

    Passionate and enthusiastic employees, who are well informed and feel a part of the greater community, make the best employee advocates.

    Employee advocacy programs are one of the best ways to leverage social media for increased brand awareness, positive sentiment, and better sales.

    Employee marketing image text says 'are you activating the power of your employees?'
    Image Source: Tribal Impact

    Customers trust employees more than companies or high-level executives. Social media posts from employees get up to 8 times more engagement than those shared from corporate accounts and the reach and engagement.

    The collective reach of numerous employees on social media is exponentially greater than that of the company’s official social media accounts alone.

    Engaged employees are naturally better ambassadors for their company and brand. They’re more knowledgeable and their authentic positive sentiment towards the company results in genuinely enthusiastic participation. 

    How to Do Employee Marketing Successfully

    Employee marketing essentially takes employee communication and blends it with marketing for the best results. As such, your internal communication needs to have a strategy with specific goals, a content plan, and metrics to measure success.

    A central aspect of marketing is understanding the audience, presenting relevant messages to that audience, and measuring the outcome. This allows for the campaign to be modified to improve the audience’s experience and to make a greater impact. This applies to employee marketing and communication too.

    To implement employee marketing successfully, there are some other marketing principles you should incorporate. These include:

    Identifying Audiences and Targeting

    Effective communication is audience-specific. Just as in customer marketing you would develop and customer persona and market to that ‘ideal buyer’. The same applies to employees.

    It is important to determine what their different attributes are, their context and location, and their role in the company. Understanding who they are and how to effectively communicate with them is essential for supplying them with relevant information that helps them perform their specific role in the business.

    Identifying the different groups in the workforce allows for communication to be segmented and targeted. Here it is important to consider the method of delivery, based on what forms of communication are available to different groups.   

    Personalization and Relevance

    The most effective messages are those that resonate with the audience. Personalized and contextualized messages are more relevant and interesting to the receiver because it applies to them, personally.

    This also helps the receiver to understand what they’re expected to do with the information they receive, in the context of their role in the company.

    Communication is useless if the receiver doesn’t know how to use that information properly to achieve the intended outcome.

    Personalized messages answer the questions of ‘why am I being told this?’ and ‘what am I meant to do with this information?’ because they’re relevant to the receiver’s context and role.

    Feedback, Measurement and Adjustment

    Assessing the impact of your communication strategy can be tricky, especially when your goals are difficult to measure in concrete terms.

    This is where feedback from employees makes all the difference. Employee marketing shifts the traditional employee communication towards an ongoing conversation, where information is moving both ways.

    Gathering feedback regularly allows you to keep track of how your strategies are working, which methods work best for which groups, and how you can improve going forwards. It also allows you to measure the success of your campaign and progress towards the your goals.

    While these things can be difficult to quantify and track, there are software solutions to help you keep track of your metrics. Many employee advocacy platforms can help you here, especially if you are also running an employee advocacy program.

    Assembling a Diverse Team

    Employee marketing requires a diverse skill set. Creating a team of people to plan, organize and execute the process makes all the difference. When assembling your team, you can emulate some of the roles found in a traditional marketing campaign:  

    • Campaign Manager: someone to oversee the campaign. They keep track of what’s working and what’s not, and making sure that communications go out in a structured way. This person also keeps track of the feedback and measurement metrics for evaluating the success of the campaign.
    • Human Resources: human resources and employee communication/marketing need to be closely aligned. HR is essential for keeping communication in line with workplace protocols. HR also provides information around the things that matter most to employees and providing information around issues that need to be addressed, etc. Employee marketing is about making essential internal communication as engaging as possible.
    • Experienced Content Creators: in marketing, content creation is about more than crafting excellent messages. It is about incorporating the strengths and limitations of different methods of communication to achieve the most engagement and reach. Take into consideration how well something reads on mobile vs email, how enticing a subject line is, which method gets the most responses etc. to make sure that those excellent messages are being read and making an impact.
    • Visual Media Creators: incorporating images, quizzes and polls, videos and infographics is a great way to engage your audience. No marketing campaign relies on text alone and neither should any employee marketing campaign. Having some people on the team who can create great visual content is key to the campaign’s success.     

    Conclusion

    Employee marketing is a blend of internal communication and marketing. It involves treating your employees the same way you treat your customers develop great relationships.

    Employee marketing is important for several reasons and has great benefits like improved employee engagement, employee retention, better productivity, and developing a great company culture. It also makes for a great customer service experience and boosts sales and customer retention.

    In a digital age, employee communication is the key to keeping employees connected and aligned with the company’s values and mission. Everyone pulling together for the good of the greater community. If you haven’t started getting your employee marketing program, now is the time!

    References and Resources

    Beekeeper Blog: 3 Reasons Why Internal Marketing Communication Is Imperative

    Dynamic Signal: Business Success Depends on If Employees Can Hear You

    Forbes: 10 Timely Statistics About The Connection Between Employee Engagement and Wellness

    Harvard Business Review: Selling the Brand Inside

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is employee marketing?

    In simple terms, employee marketing is the promotion of the brand’s core values, vision and mission, goals, and culture to employees. The aim is to create an emotional connection with the company and the brand, which leads to enthusiasm and improved employee engagement. Check out the full guide to learn more about employee marketing.

    Is employee marketing the same as employee communication?

    Employee marketing is employee communication, using marketing tactics. Adding marketing tactics to employee communication improves the efficacy of communication and improves employee engagement. Check out the full guide for mote info on how employee marketing utilizes marketing techniques in internal communication.

    What are the benefits of employee marketing?

    The benefits of employee marketing include improved employee engagement, greater productivity, better customer service and improved brand awareness. Read the full guide to learn more about the benefits of employee marketing.

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