Are Your Employees an Integral Part of Your Marketing Team?

Are your employees an integral part of your marketing team? They should be. You’ll get “more bang for your marketing bucks” if they are because they will help reinforce your marketing messages through their words and deeds. If they are not part of that your team, your employees may intentionally or unintentionally undermine those messages.

Here are some examples of what I mean:

A law firm’s website and print advertising emphasize the personal care and attention people will receive if they work with it. Yet, when potential clients visit the firm for an initial consultation, they are greeted by a brusque, unfriendly receptionist who barely acknowledges that they are there much less offers them something to drink. In the end, many of those potential clients decide to work with another law firm that makes them feel more welcome.

The marketing campaign for a financial planning firm emphasizes the company’s attention to detail. Yet, it’s not unusual for its clients to receive reports from the firm that contain typos and other errors. As a result, the firm is having problems retaining clients because the problems in the reports undermine their confidence in it.

A new restaurant wants to build a reputation for itself as a place where people can enjoy great food and superior service. Yet, although the chef is “delivering the goods,” the restaurant’s wait staff is falling short. Not only are they unfamiliar with the restaurant’s menu and wine list, but they are also generally inattentive to diners’ needs. The upshot is that the restaurant has been getting very mixed reviews, and after a flurry of diners in the weeks immediately following its opening, business has fallen off sharply.

What can you do to help ensure that your employees are marketing assets, not liabilities, for your business? Here are six simple suggestions:

1. Hire right. As part of your hiring process, screen for individuals with the personality, attitude, values and commitment necessary to be good brand ambassadors for your business.

2. Communicate and educate. Make sure that everyone who works for you understands your marketing goals, including the image you want for your business, and let them know what they can do to help you achieve those goals. Be clear about what you expect from them.

3. Invite feedback. Encourage your employees to speak up when they see problems and to suggest improvements. This is one way to foster among them a sense of ownership in your business and its success.

4. Build esprit de corp. Holding regular company-wide meetings to let your employees know what’s happening with your business, the challenges it faces, and what you need from them, and listening to their concerns and ideas are great ways to build the feeling that "we are all in this together." Also, plan fun events -- order in pizza every Friday for lunch, hold an annual company picnic, sponsor a company sports team, adopt a charity as a company-wide project, or something else.

5. Give them the right resources. Be sure that your employees have the training, the tools and the information they need to excel at their jobs.

6. Make your employees feel valued. Provide them with a good working environment; let them know when they’ve done a good job; and reward hard work and excellence. Employees who feel appreciated are more likely to work hard, be loyal, and take pride in what they do.

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