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Internal Marketing

Treating your employees like your customers

What is Internal Marketing?

Internal Marketing is a function that combines the principles of marketing, organizational development, and human resources to attract and retain top talent and to drive employee engagement.

Why Internal Communications needs transformation

Internal Communications is the talk of the town! Many companies, big and small, are creating or elevating their Internal Communications function. Typically, this function is performed by a professional who has either marketing experience or has an HR background. This results in IC programs being perceived as either fluffy marketing hype or serious and boring HR comms. The top five reasons why Internal Communications programs need a transformation are listed here.

1. Communicating everything to everyone

Too often, internal communication tends to be one message for all. At best, larger organizations communicate to “senior managament” sensitive information not meant for rank and file employees. By not speaking to a specific audience, these communications do not connect with anyone.

2. Indistinguishable Organizational Culture

Most organizations have mission and vision statements that are complex to understand, difficult to remember and almost impossible to “live”. Very few organizations have well-defined values and almost none have a defined Organizational Purpose – the core “Why” of their existence.

3. Unclear Employee Value Propositions (EVPs)

What the employees reliabily and predictabily get by working with your organization is most times not defined and therefore, unclear.  Often hiring managers or department heads will create EVPs for a job posting and there is no standardization across the org. Most IC departments do not have the mandate or the expertise to create the EVPs.

4. Undefined Employee Lifecycle Journey

Most organizations have a simplified employee lifecycle (employee journey) definition. New hires get some communication at the time of onboarding and after that they are clubbed with all normal employees.  Again, lack of targeted messaging does not create connection.

5. Ambiguous data-driven initiative

All modern managers know that they need to produce data to show effectiveness. But what should that data be? And what data do we use to determine the strategy for the communications program? Marketers and HR folks tend to differ on their views on what data is important.

Internal Marketing (IM): a fully integrated function

Telling compelling stories, while essential, is not enough. These stories need to authentically reflect the culture and ethos of the organization.

While Internal Marketing can report to the CMO or CHRO, the function needs to integrate philosophies and best-practices from all three areas shown here.

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What does Internal Marketing do?

Internal Marketing owns the responsibility for initiatives listed below and works with the Executive Team and cross-functional teams from HR, Marketing, Sales and other key functional departments to achieve its end results. While this is by no means a complete list, it sets a reasonable high-level expectation about what IM aims to deliver.

Employee Journey

Surveys & Assessments

Rewards & Recognition Communication

Crisis Communication

Organizational Culture

Hiring & Pre-boarding Communication

Information Communication

Internal Events Management

Employer Brand

Onboarding Communication

Change Communication

Tools & Technology

Org. Identity Communication

Executive Communication

Multi-way / Informal Communication

Reports & Analytics

Internal Marketing is to HR


Corporate Marketing is to Sales

Just as Marketing creates the awareness and demand that is converted in to ongoing revenues by Sales, Internal Marketing creates the conditions for HR to attract, retain and grow employees.

What People Are Saying

Customers will never love a company until its employees love it first.

Simon Sinek


Internal marketing is probably much more important than external marketing. That’s even more true today than it’s ever been. 

Tom Stewart


Our role as communicators is not to simply re-report the news to our employees. Our job is to contextualize it.

Becky Graebe

Dynamic Signal

Over time, as we focused more and more on our culture, we ultimately came to the realization that a company’s culture and a company’s brand are really just two sides of the same coin. The brand is just a lagging indicator of a company’s culture.

Tony Hsieh

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose