Marketers have a way of thinking that includes traits that can be of great benefit to internal communications professionals.
In fact, the two departments can have huge influence on one another in a large organization. Both complimenting each other’s roles and helping to garner engagement and trust via staunch communications with clearly defined audiences.
Marketing often deals with communicating messages across multiple platforms to audiences and stakeholders in order to promote a given product or service.
Internal communications provides employees with a place to check out job openings, policies and pictures from the company Christmas party. It’s about giving your internal customers a place to gather and get energized about the purpose or vision that makes your company special. Essentially internal communications is in some ways marketing within a business infrastructure.
So how do you think like a marketer in order to enhance your internal communications offering?
Know Your Audience Inside Out
For your communication to have an impact, you must take time to understand your audience and target your message. When major brands launch a new product, they do not create one ad to reach all potential customers. Why do we, or the business leaders we support, assume it is acceptable to do that for employees? Encourage your team to get to know our employees and find ways to segment communications so we reach the right people at the right time with the right message.
Using your existing technology, you can create targeted distributions for emails. You can segment messages by location on digital signage. Leverage channels that meet employees where they work, whether that’s a collaboration tool like Slack, a desktop alert, or, in the case of non-desk workers, high impact floor graphics. To be effective, don’t forget to ask employees how they prefer to receive information as well.
Look At Competitors And Learn From Their Mistakes
It’s easy to see what the competition is doing well but just as much (and sometimes even more) can be learned by observing what your competition is doing not so well. The Internet is saturated with career service companies, but what makes your career service better than your competitors? Do your homework. Where are they weak? What client needs’ are not being met and what can you do to step in and meet those needs? Once you have this information, communicate this to your staff and let them take action to improve your offering in the marketplace.
Create A Succinct Media Contacts List
Create a list of all of your multi-channel communication opportunities (meetings, email, newsletter, digital signage, mobile app, intranet, etc.) and define a strategy for them. For each, identify what types of messages work best, its audience reach, and how you will interact with employees on the platform. Combine your audience analysis with vehicle analysis and you have a powerful tool for targeted communication. This is a key way to both understand your team and how to best communicate with individuals and departments via platforms available.
Know Your End Goal When You Start Communicating
Before you write anything, take time to think about what you want to accomplish. What does success look like for this campaign? At the end of the day, what actions do you want your employees to take?
For internal communications, in particular, it is important to connect communications goals to business goals such as increasing sales, improving performance, attaining adoption of a new platform, retaining talent, improving engagement, etc.
Most important, make sure you select SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely).
Measure Your Results
Be certain you have a way to measure the success of each of your goals with a heavier emphasis on message penetration and action than readership and clicks. Once you measure, know your numbers. Create a dashboard and keep it with you. There is no better way to reinforce your point of view with leaders than by supporting your position with data.
Every Employee Interaction Is A Networking Opportunity
The word ‘networking’ makes some people uncomfortable. But it doesn’t have to be about closing a sale or achieving a goal. It’s simply having a conversation in an effort to build a new relationship or strengthen an existing one.
Inspire, Inform, and Reinforce
First, let’s imagine a world without marketing. What if there were no “packaging up” or consolidation of information for consumers? What if reading the fine print was our only option? How would we quickly understand what we’re purchasing or consuming? How would we decide what’s better, what is going to solve our problem or how products differ? Marketing grabs our attention with a compelling message that creates an emotional connection and inspires us so that we’re receptive to learning more about a product or service.
Marketing takes multiple messages before getting people to take action. Applying the same methodology to our internal communication programs, we should be inspiring our employees with creative content, prompting them to learn more about topics that are highly relevant and timely for them, such as benefits, open enrollment, compensation, equity, performance management and feedback and coaching. We should then use a campaign approach, marketing to employees over time in a way they want to receive information, just like marketing does with prospects and customers.
According to a Towers Watson study companies with highly effective communication practices enjoy 47% higher total returns to shareholders compared with organizations that are less effective at communicating.
Improved internal communications doesn’t only affect your returns to shareholder, it also can increase employee engagement, build stronger teams and enhance company competitiveness. Effective internal communications practices help increase productivity, build a better workplace and reduce day-to-day conflict between team members.
Thousands of companies trust RedFlag Mass Notification to deliver important notifications both internally and externally, to people when and where they need it. Our simple, multi-channel communication system allows you to deliver real time alerts and critical information to groups of any size via: