Shifting Financial Marketing into Gear
Why Internal Marketing is Essential to an Effective Financial Marketing Strategy
Internal marketing is built on the idea that customers’ attitudes toward a company are based on their complete experience with that company — and not just their experience with its products.
Any time a customer interacts with a company employee, it impacts their overall satisfaction with the company; Everyone from sales and account reps, to marketing and tech support help shape a customer’s overall experience. Therefore, customer satisfaction is tied to the interactions and performance of a company’s employees.
With an internal marketing strategy, employees are approached as internal customers who must also buy into a company’s vision, brand, voice, and mission just as thoroughly as external customers. It defines the relationship they develop with the business on the inside — to then project it to outside customers.
The purpose of an internal marketing strategy is to align company teams, so they can provide value to customers in a consistent fashion. If a company can operate in a standardized way, employees can provide a great customer experience every time.
Employees are part of your company’s brand and empowering them to participate in the brand experience is an effective way to build up an army of advocates, a key tactic that is especially relevant in financial services.
Whether you’re a B2B fintech startup with 5 employees or an established financial advisory firm with 5,000 employees, your marketing team can help ensure that every single person is telling the same story about your firm and its products.
Develop an Internal Marketing Strategy
A common business issue in any sector is the lack of alignment between sales and marketing. Internal marketers often encounter a similar problem: the misalignment of internal and external marketing. If your company tells its employees one thing but external customers another, it is time to re-align internal and external marketing.
Your financial firm’s marketing department should have cross-discussions, company-wide conversations, and meetings with other departments in the organization to craft a measurable internal marketing strategy.
Internal marketers seeking to develop a strategy can make their way to the DAIS:
1. Define Goals and Objectives – What are the specific goals and KPIs to be achieved with this strategy? A new quarterly sales goal or an increase in customer satisfaction ratings for the year? What key objectives will help achieve these goals?
2. Align with External Strategies – Internal marketing strategy objectives should work in tandem and correspond to a firm’s business strategy and external financial marketing strategy.
3. Incentivize Employees – Employees are a firm’s internal customers. As active participants in the firm’s success, how will they be able to share in this success?
4. Share the Strategy – Share the strategy and its goals and objectives with firm employees so they know what to do and how to do it, along with any incentive plans. Remember to keep the strategy consistent across the company and execute on ways to reinforce it.
For creating goals, see also Need a Content Marketing Goal? Get SMART!
Communicate the Strategy
Communicate the strategy to employees so they can understand and believe in your firm’s goals and vision themselves. Concrete reference materials to help communicate your firm’s narrative and core values should be created, shared, and reinforced through several ways:
- Create a monthly newsletter with critical timely information employees should know, such as product updates, staff changes, upcoming educational sessions and events, etc. and help share knowledge and reinforce organizational culture – to keep everyone in the loop
- Dedicate special internal events or sections of meetings to internal marketing updates
- Make the internal marketing strategy a feature of employee training programs
- Provide ongoing periodic internal marketing training for employees at all levels – try and make it fun!
- Use intranets, blogs, message boards, task management systems, and company wikis to standardize and share knowledge and resources (e.g. documents, templates, creative and branding assets, etc.)
- Position your brand as part of a narrative that employees can relate to and participate in
Pro Tip #1 Tell a Memorable Brand Story
Who doesn’t love a good story? Story is one of the more salient and powerful brand tools that your financial services firm can leverage. Every company has a story and the best way tell it is through the people who live it – your employees.
Here is an example of a memorable brand story: How Gate 39 Media was named —
Agency founder Shane Stiles wanted a firm name that expressed a global theme, movement, and positive energy. He came up with “gate” as the keyword, and “media” representing traditional and electronic marketing as well as advanced technology solutions.
The number 39 comes from the race cars his dad and brother used to race on Friday nights on the local quarter-mile paved speedway in his hometown. With the name “Gate 39 Media” he was able to convey the theme, pay tribute to his family, and highlight the diversity of services the agency provides.
Much like the Gate 39 Media story, a financial firm’s brand story can be turned into an opportunity to build brand loyalty. People remember stories over statistics and having an interesting brand story is an opportunity to turn facts into something more human and more memorable to both employees and the customers they repeat the story to.
Whether a firm has an epic story of how it came to be, a storied history of overcoming a market obstacle, or has a unique philosophy or vision of the future, if the story is unified and repeatable by every member of a firm, it becomes ingrained in the brand, helping teams build a brand experience from the inside out.
Pro Tip #2 Hire People Energized for Your Firm’s Mission
Internal marketing is easiest to instill from the outset when a financial firm hires individuals who genuinely believe in their mission and values and want to help achieve goals. Exceptional employees can help facilitate communication and exemplify how internal marketing can make a positive impact on your firm’s bottom line.
With employees embodying the brand and having an impact on customer experiences, an internal marketing strategy is key to improving employee engagement and encouraging them to embrace the company story and mission from within. And this will increase overall brand reach in providing value to customers and potential customers.
Ever wonder how you can improve your internal or external financial marketing strategy? Let’s talk.