Scale-up company marketing from the inside out

Product, price, promotion and place have guided marketers for years. These “4Ps” may be relics of the traditional marketing age, but today’s successful scale-up companies are wisely including the most critical “P” of all — people.

As tech marketers, we know our numbers. Inbound activity, stage conversion and renewal rates are top-of-mind. In this early growth period, the marketing function will be heavily weighted toward customer acquisition (and for good reason). But, there’s a missed opportunity if the marketing plan doesn’t simultaneously target an internal brand of employee “customers.”

The same principles that apply to external marketing hold true for employee initiatives. When viewed through the lens of funnels, optimization and brand building, internal marketing can be a measurable asset to the business. This is particularly valuable during the growth stages when a dedicated human resources team isn’t feasible.

Creating a culture is a table stake for today’s tech company. After all, who doesn’t want to work for new-age perks, endless swag and fun outings? Yet, marketing from the inside is more than social events and unlimited vacation.

Tech stack and product roadmaps aside, if you’re going to win, you’re going to win with people. Here are five areas I’ve found to be successful in building a scalable and measurable internal brand.

1. Make it a priority. Culture isn’t accidental. Create an internal team that intentionally plans for the employee experience. Leadership will likely spearhead this in the beginning, but it will ideally permeate on its own thereafter. Include representatives from each part of the business, and encourage the meetings to be highly visible and during work hours. If you do it right, people will beg to be part of the group to contribute.

2. Brand it. You’ve gone to great lengths to develop, test and refine the company’s identity in the marketplace. Internal marketing is no different: it’s a brand that deserves strategic investments in tone, voice and identity. This masterpiece shouldn’t be buried on your marketing department’s shared drive. It’s the bedrock of job descriptions, training and onboarding, and other communication vehicles.

3. Wave the flag. Once you’ve honed your internal brand, you’ll want to strategically incorporate it into company messaging. Sales decks, company videos, social channels and websites are ideal canvases to showcase your internal brand. This piece of the brand story is own-able and distinct to the company; use this lever to enhance your overall positioning beyond product features.

4. Break the silo. Empathy is a core tenant of marketing: to build trust, we must first understand the challenges faced by our buyers. The same sentiment is true within our companies that quickly get departmentalized. Consider creating a “job shadow” or rotating lunch-and-learn that share the challenges, key tasks and expectations within different areas of the business. Or, simply allow anyone in the company to ghost attend a customer demo … and create a mechanism to get their feedback and observations about the customer.

5. Measure it. Marketers have Net Promoter Scores for customers, so why not similarly measure employee sentiment? This is not only a measure for how you’re doing; it’s also a watermark to gauge the level of focus and investment for your marketing team to allocate. The best part? You’ll have a benchmark to compare and improve against over future periods.

Marketers will always be tasked with driving leads and creating lasting external customers, but in today’s scale-up climate there’s also a tremendous brand asset within your own building. By leveraging this fifth “P” of marketing, your people may be the next step to building raving fans for your growing brand.

Phil Daniels is Co-Founder of Springbuk, where he leads Marketing for the leading employer-facing health intelligence platform. Over the last decade, he’s led strategic brand initiatives with nearly 150 companies nationwide, including Salesforce Marketing Cloud, McLaren Automotive and Chase Bank.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Phil Daniels, Co-Founder of Springbuk.