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How to Justify Investment in Internal Marketing to Key Influencers

Steve Surdez

Internal marketing and branding efforts are just as important as lead generation and the brand campaigns targeting your key buyer personas.

The reason?

Buyers tend to trust and remain loyal to authentic brands, and authentic brands are those whose external marketing and messaging aligns with what customers experience when engaging with your staff.

If there’s a disconnect between the brand image you project and a customer’s experience, you’ll fail to attract new customers — and those you have won’t produce high customer lifetime value (repeat business and referrals).

That makes a heck of a lot of sense, right? Particularly if you’re a marketing executive or a marketing director.

But what about making the case to those holding the purse strings who might be skeptical of investing time and treasure into internal marketing efforts?

You can talk and talk and talk, but presenting persuasive data about internal marketing’s importance and impact will be far more effective in opening up senior leadership’s wallet for the budget dollars you need.

Let’s take a look at how you can use data and numbers to persuade your leadership team or board to add an internal marketing line item to your marketing budget for the next fiscal year.

First, Educate Influencers About Internal Marketing

Again, when boiled down to the basics, if there is a disconnect between what you market to the public and what your staff communicates to leads and customers, you have a BIG problem.

Be sure to focus on the positive impact of internal marketing in your education efforts, not just the BIG problem caused by dissonance between internal brand buy-in and external brand perceptions.

Those with their hands on the money want to know their investment will add revenue and foster growth, not just hold the line and simply break even.

It’s all about the return on investment for the c-suite and board members. Focusing on the numbers is also a way to avoid being too preachy and pedantic, which won’t help your cause.

What Data Can You Use That’s Most Persuasive?

Here are some internal marketing data points you can arm yourself with before entering the boardroom to make your investment case:

  • Gallup recently released a poll that showed that 70% of U.S. employees are not engaged at work. Disengagement means lack of productivity and poor internal brand buy-in. Ask your c-suite and board: What internal marketing campaigns have we run to combat disengagement? If the answer is none or little, there’s reason to believe your staff is not fully engaged. Engagement doesn’t improve by accident.
  • The McKinsey Global Institute revealed through a recent study that productivity sees a 20–25% improvement when employees are connected and engaged, which translates into $1.3 trillion in revenue per year. Not sure you need to add any embellishments here. These numbers should speak for themselves.
    • You can take it a step further by conducting your own internal brand loyalty and engagement surveys to measure your team’s net promoter score (internal NPS) prior to this meeting and then showcase this data to link to the McKinsey study.
  • Two stats culled by EveryoneSocial’s website are also persuasive: Engaged employees who are brand advocates can have a significant impact on engagement, brand awareness, and lead generation.
    • “Brand messages reached 561% further when shared by employees vs the same messages shared via official brand social channels.” (Source: MSLGroup)
    • “Content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels.” (Source: Social Media Today)
  • Ensure the c-suite executives and board members that internal marketing can and will be measured. Come to the board room armed with three or four internal marketing key performance indicators (KPIs), including internal or employee net promoter scores (ENPS), and link these to external KPIs to illustrate their relationship.
    • Give them clear reporting touch points and milestones so they can be confident that the money they will spend won’t disappear into a black hole.

SocialEveryone frames the importance of internal marketing investment and campaigns this way: “When employees believe in the brand and are engaged in your company initiatives, they generally are going to be motivated by their work, more loyal to the organization and are more likely to be powerful marketers and sellers (brand advocates), spreading your company message. This is exactly why internal marketing and having a strategy in place is essential to the success of your company brand. If employees are in the dark or unaware of their company’s goals, products, and services, there is a huge gap in effectiveness with customers and prospects.”

Remember, winning c-suite and boardroom buy-in for initial investment in inteal marketing is only the first step. Justifying that investment by reporting improved staff engagement and then connecting those data with external marketing sales results is the key to continued investment in the program.

In summary, as a marketing executive or marketing director seeking an inter marketing budget (or increased budget allocations), take these steps to win buy-in and then sustain your internal marketing program:

  1. Educate key influencers on what internal marketing means and why it’s important.
  2. Showcase data/hard numbers that support investment in this area.
  3. Ease c-suite executive and board member concern by coming to the board room with a suite of KPIs and reporting touchpoints for the program.
  4. Carefully measure and collect internal marketing data and make the link to external marketing and sales numbers.

And always know you don’t have to go it alone. Illumine8 Marketing & PR is always here to help. Reach out to us today. We’d love to learn more about your company and how we might be able to help create an internal marketing campaign or improve a program that already exists.

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