What if I told you there was a huge marketing channel at your disposal with the ability to have more impact than Facebook and Instagram combined? And that that same channel was available to you for almost no incremental spend or effort? It’s also right under your nose.
What is this glorious, almost mythical channel I speak of? It’s your employees.
You’re either rolling your eyes or crinkling your nose like you think I’m crazy. Whichever response it is, hear me out.
We’ve all had the experience: A company advertises, “We love our customers!” or “Our customers come first.” And the message is all-too-often followed by an experience in which an employee from the same company proceeds to tell us why they can’t do something for us “because it’s against policy” or plainly shows a complete lack of interest in helping us. Do you still believe their marketing message? Unlikely. In fact, you probably think even less of the company since there’s such a disconnect between their marketing message and your experience.
- Employees have the most frequent interaction with your customers. Even if you invest heavily in social media, chances are your employees are interacting with your customers (and prospective customers) on a much more frequent basis than those other channels.
- Customers only believe marketing that aligns with what they experience with your employees. Like the example above, if the customer experience doesn’t align with the marketing message, the marketing message is useless.
- Those customer-employee interactions last longer in the minds of customers than even the best marketing campaign. While we might remember a clever commercial or Facebook post, we remember great (and horrible) experiences for a lot longer. And we’re more likely to share those experiences with our friends and family.
And don’t think this only applies to your employees in customer-facing roles. Everyone who wears your company’s logo on their shirt (either an actual or a virtual one) is sending a brand message. That includes the person in accounting working with your vendors or the HR representative negotiating for administrative temps. Every interaction with another person sends a brand message out to the world.
So take some time to think about your employees and the marketing message they’re sending. If it’s not the message you want it to be, it’s time to spend some effort on this marketing channel before investing in yet-another clever Instagram post.
Lauren Sweeney is the Founder and CEO of Dotted Line Collaborations, full-service advertising and branding agency solving big brand problems from our headquarters in Richmond, Virginia. When Lauren’s not providing strategic direction for the firm or delivering amazing results for our clients, Lauren is outdoors enjoying all that Richmond has to offer or traveling to a new and exciting destination.
To read more about our firm’s recent work, visit dottedlinecollaborations.com.