PasA key premise underlying Berry's (1981) “employees as customers” concept is that just like external customers, internal customers desire to have their needs satisfied. By satisfying the needs of internal customers, an organisation should be in a better position to deliver the quality desired to satisfy external customers. (Ballantyne, 2003).
What is the definition of internal marketing? Joseph et al. (1996) “The application of marketing, human resources management, and allied theories, techniques, and principles to motivate, mobilize, co-opt and manage employees at all levels of the organization to continuously improve the way they serve external customers and each other. Effective internal marketing responds to employee needs as it advances the organization's mission and goals”.
With an internal marketing strategy, employees are treated as “internal customers” who must be convinced of a company\'s vision and worth just as aggressively as “external customers.” The goal of internal marketing is to align every aspect of a company's internal operations to ensure they are as capable as possible of providing value to customers. If a company can operate in a coordinated and standardized way, that company can provide a more consistent experience to their customers.
Internal marketing is based on the idea that customers' attitudes toward a company are based on their entire experience with that company, and not just their experience with the company's products. Any time a customer interacts with an employee, it affects their overall satisfaction. Everyone from a sales clerk to an over-the-phone tech support specialist helps to shape that customer\'s experience. Therefore, customer satisfaction is deeply dependent on the performance of a company\'s staff. (Samaha et al. 2014, Kanyurhi et al. 2016).
Strictly speaking, any company can implement an internal marketing campaign. Even the smallest businesses will want to train employees to project the vision and goals of the business. Aligning the attitudes of employees with the mission of the business is crucial for any company that wants to engage with their customers. It is typically larger firms, however, that are most invested in internal marketing strategies. Because they have so many more employees, often working in disconnected departments and offices, it is more challenging to enforce a company-wide culture. Firms with thousands of employees working in R&D, sales, marketing, production, and logistics must make a concerted effort to educate everyone about the company's marketing objectives.
Internal marketing performed at Anatune is a means of involving staff at all levels in effective marketing programmes by enabling them to understand their role within the markets process. Anatune's internal marketing program consists of training and staff development, effective internal communications and integration schemes designed to enhance the knowledge and the understanding of the overall marketing orientation within Anatune.
If a company wants to provide an exemplary customer experience, they need to train their employees to provide that experience. An employee's attitude, appearance and ability to communicate represents the company. Businesses must make serious efforts to distribute timely and relevant information so that every employee is working toward common goals. A disorganized workforce and an inconsistent marketing message are easy ways to lose business.
The best way to conduct internal marketing in an effective way is to create a comprehensive plan. A good internal marketing program will recruit and train the right people into the company. Many companies also offer incentives like bonuses or vacation days to help motivate employees to meet goals. Management are responsible for informing everyone in the company regarding the goals and how they are going to be achieved. Companies will use departmental meetings, newsletters, corporate retreats and blogs to help disseminate this information.
Why are not all companies implementing internal marketing? Or why is the implementation not successful. The global workforce has changed in the last few decades, majority of women have babies and are able to continue their careers. Many women are not also leaders in their own right, and own and run successful businesses. The biggest reason behind a lack of success is employees are viewed as costs and not assets. Employees can often feel disappointed and mistrust management. (Ahmed et al. 2003, Rafiq et al. 2003). The management team can sometimes not explain reasons behind corporate changes very well. These changes are often not communicated well or in a timely manner. Management are reluctant to implement internal marketing as often upper management do not have the time; don't believe how beneficial it will be to the company, fear reactions, leaks and information suspicion. Often, management do not understand what to do themselves, and need to communicate with company stakeholders for this. Management are often not evaluated or rewarded for communicating this internal information to employees, however, the results of a happier workforce will be evident. Often, management do not ask employees what they want to hear from management (To et al. 2015).
Figure 3: Communication Strategy (Source: Smeltzer, 1991).
As can be seen from Figure 3, the plan should be accessible to any employee at any time. This step is important because internal marketing focuses on creating awareness and focusing efforts. Employees should feel like they are participants in the plan and their feedback and ideas should be respected. (Smeltzer, 1991).
To conclude, the goals of internal marketing is to always increase employee's knowledge and enhance a favourable attitude towards the employer. To understand and adopt a management style, that employees can engage with, all employees need to understand they are spokespersons, i.e. ambassadors for the company. Management need to create a mechanism in which employees can offer feedback. A satisfied and rewarded workforce, will be happy and content in their duties, and strive to serve the company more and do the same for the customers.
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