Can you imagine if you found out that for all the money you have poured into marketing this year, there is one factor that can single-handedly sink your business?
Although, we think of customers when we design our marketing (and don’t stop that entirely, I make a living there), there is a more important marketing target. In fact, your customer isn’t even going to make you the most money!
Your team is.
I don’t care if you have a staff of 1,000, or are a solopreneur, there is no such thing as a true solo-pilot in business. For example, I don’t have staff, nor do I want any, but I do hire a bookkeeper, sub-contract out parts of most contracts I have, and my wife is a key member of my team. (She’s like HR, accounting, and board of directors all rolled into one, very attractive, unpaid employee.)
You have a team. And that team is where your bread and butter is.
Now, to be sure, you can have a great team and the customer still needs to buy your product, and you can have a crappy team and the customer may buy your product, but it will cost you way more.
Obviously, the best way to run your business is to have an awesome team around you, and awesome loyal customers who buy from you!
But neglect the team, and you’re pooched.
For this reason, your first marketing target is not your customer but your team.
If you get this right, you’re golden, but if you get this wrong, and the team doesn’t buy into your plan, product, or vision you will waste a lot of money getting it to your customer.
Strangely, in some industries marketing to a customer isn’t even necessary for various reasons. For example, in Manitoba where I live the construction industry is so insane that most contractors I know can’t keep up. When I talk to them about marketing they say, “Why on earth would I put money into something that will only paralyze me further.”
It’s a fair point and a great problem!
But I know one area where the same contractors are very, very weak – finding, recruiting, and keeping excellent employees. The construction space is so competitive that my 18-year-old son got hired right out of high school and by the end of year 1 was making 40% more per hour than when he started, approximately 160% more than I was making at his age, and 100% more than his peers flipping burgers.
Just think about how competitive it would be to get kids like him onto a crew. At that age a $1 difference in wages feels like an Ocean’s 11 heist. (“I’m flipping RICH!”) So, if that 18-year-old gets offered $1 more to work for framing company B instead of drywalling company A, he’ll change without a second thought.
How do you keep guys on your crew when the competition to get employees is so high and separated by mere dollars an hour? And we’re not even talking about seasoned employees.
Of course, trades aren’t the only ones who are suffering. Restaurants are struggling post-pandemic to hire back workers for all sorts of reasons. Some ex-employees are making more with government programs than they did as a server. Some felt stuck in a job they didn’t like and being forced out also broke them out of the mindset that kept them there.
And THEN, there is the so-called Great Resignation.
This phenomenon gained notoriety early in the summer after research conducted by Microsoft found that 41% of employees are considering leaving their jobs in 2021. According to an article in The Atlantic this month, the Great Resignation is accelerating.
Personally, I left a job of 14 years and a 19-year career path to start my own business in 2020 and I haven’t looked back.
One of the effects of the pandemic has been that of magnification. Where businesses were healthy, they pivoted, survived, and indeed some thrived in the pandemic. But businesses that were struggling, tanked.
Spectacularly in some cases.
And this is why we have to take a good long look at our teams and figure out a way to re-engage them with a transforming mission and vision! If you find yourself as a leader in a company that is experiencing anything like what I described above where there is demand for business but not enough employees, then you need to make “internal marketing” a big part of what you are doing.
In fact, you can’t afford not to.
What You Can Do
Here are four very actionable steps you can take to shore up internal marketing, and I’m going to tell you right now, they all cost money. (They should cost money because we should invest in our priorities.)
- Purchase two leadership webinars I did and sign up to my email list, so you know when more are happening. In September I did a webinar called “Becoming the Boss You Never Had” and in October another one called “How Good Leaders Communicate.” I do one webinar a month on leadership, and they almost always touch on communication in some way.
- Hire me as a consultant to come into your business to assess and train you and your staff in effective internal communication practices. If you happen to be a contractor, I have leadership intensive starting in November that you can sign up for here. If you aren’t a contractor schedule an exploratory call to talk about your specific needs.
- Purchase a subscription to Business Made Simple University and watch “Mission Statements Made Simple” first. The mission of BMSU is to disrupt business schools around the world by offering training in truly useful and marketable skills. It is excellent value for the money.
- Buy The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle. It is simply one of my favourite leadership books and essential reading, in my opinion.
You can not afford to neglect your internal marketing. The conditions created by the pandemic are such that workplaces that have a poor culture will not be able to recruit the talent they need to keep growing.
So, take action today! It’s as easy as scheduling an exploratory call to discuss actionable next steps for your company.