This site functions as an archive of Conner's Blog, which was a blog from 2006-2014 located at Images and links are likely to be broken.

Pass the Kool-Aid

Your marketing department should never be isolated. No matter the size of your company, the second your marketing strategy changes everyone should know about it. Unfortunately, most companies do not seem to realize how important this is. I am not talking about calling a meeting at telling your employees that from now on we need to tell our customers that the company mascot changed; instead, they should understand what the overall strategy is and how they fit into the grand strategy.

If you are trying to position your company as a price leader, then tell your salespeople to focus on cost savings for their customers. Are you trying to position yourself as a leader in quality after years of being a price leader? You had better be sure your salespeople know that quality is foremost. They should know it is okay to lose a sale because the customer wanted to save a few dollars by cutting some important corners, which would jeopardize quality.

If you are a restaurant that has decided that you want to become the number one spot for Fantasy Football, then talk to your staff and find out who participates in Fantasy Football, and ask them if they would like to work on the nights your are hosting drafts. For that matter host an employee only draft and post the results for your customers to see. Are you trying to entice local football fans? Get your employees into it, let them have fun by watching the game with their customers even if it just means spending five minutes cheering when the home team scores.

There is so much more to marketing then just fancy commercials, great stories, and sticky ideas. You need to get everyone involved in the act. I am always amazed when I call a company that has feel good billboards and TV spots and the person who answers the phone just does not care. If your employees do not buy your marketing strategy, why would your customers?

One company that I think exemplifies this kind of marketing mistake is Best Buy. If you watch Best Buy’s ads, the employees are always excited to help you and seem like the kind of people you want to invite over to check out your new big screen on Sunday. Is this the case when you walk into Best Buy? Rarely, typically their employees just go about their business without having much fun at all. Why not let your employees play video games with your customers, show off last nights game in HD, or turn up the volume on the car stereo a customer is interested in? Your marketing story is about having fun with electronics, so let your employees participate.

The point I am making is marketing starts with the customer already in the store. Marketing should have an impact on everything you do, and internal marketing is the cheapest kind of marketing. A company wide memo costs nothing compares to a single radio ad at 5:30 PM, and the memo can have a bigger effect on your customer base than even the most well designed radio spot.