How Employee Engagement Drives Marketing ROI
“Wait a minute,” you say, “Did I read that right? I thought it was our marketing team’s job to sell potential buyers on our products and services, not selling our employees on how great it is to work here. Truth is, driving employee engagement is the marketing team’s most important job.
Without an enthusiastic, engaged team behind it—from manufacturing to inspection to sales and customer service—a product won’t get off the ground.
Instead, you’ll have manufacturing delays, an ineffective campaign, and unhappy customers.
The same goes for companies who sell services. Different details, same results.
A company and its employees are like an orchestra. Although the CEO functions as the conductor, it’s the marketing team who writes the score.
- A marketing team’s mission is communication.
- Communication drives trust and enthusiasm.
- Trust and enthusiasm make for engaged employees.
What’s at Stake
If the marketing team doesn’t create:
- The excitement behind the scenes when a new product or campaign launches, you won’t have brand evangelists.
- Enthusiasm among the rest of the teams, you won’t earn the kind of loyalty that produces top-flight work.
- A distinctive brand image and voice, your teams won’t know how to tell your story on-brand.
- Easy-to-understand copy to introduce and explain new products and services, you’ll run into problems with customer support.
- The morale that forges teams out of individual employees, you’ll find that your best people will find another place to work.
That’s why marketing is the key to unlocking employee engagement. Here’s how your team can do just that:
Get Input from All Your Teams
Find out from your engineers how and why your new product works. Ask for feedback when you produce content. Ask your administrative staff how well your content communicates.
You get the picture. When you bring everyone aboard, you build team spirit among everyone. When you provide the brand guidelines your entire staff needs to use to communicate your message to their circles of influence, you’ll give them the confidence to tell your brand story.
When you ask the other teams in your company for their advice, they will feel important—because they are. They’ll love seeing their ideas in print, in video form, on billboards, and wherever else you post your marketing talent. And you can be sure they’ll take pride in their work—not just their marketing input—but in their regular jobs as well.
Keep Them Informed
Internal communications are every bit as important as communicating your product’s benefits to customers. When you think of your internal teams as your first customers, you’ll keep them on the same page all the way from concept to development to finished product.
Transform Your Culture
We’re not talking about yoga sessions and Matcha tea breaks. We’re talking about a marketing team that leads cultural change from within.
Since marketing teams are in the motivation business, turn that energy around and focus some of it on your own people. Bring out the vision that lies inside every one of your fellow employees.
When you do that, you’ll join the elite 30 percent of American companies whose employees are at least somewhat engaged—body, mind, and spirit—in the company’s mission. That’s huge.
With engaged, focused employees, you’ll not only turn them into brand ambassadors. You’ll have the top talent knocking on your doors.
When prospective employees come in for an interview and see every team in your company in love with their work, they’ll want to sign on. The more your talent pool grows, the more innovation. The more innovation, the better products you’ll have—and better campaigns to showcase them with.
In your company’s transformation, don’t stop with the rank-and-file. Take the elevator to the C-suite.
Though your company’s top executives may be resistant to change, when they see the possibility of growth—and the profits that come with it—they’ll come along for the ride. As a marketing team, you’re in the business of opening people up to possibility.
Take that energy you pour into convincing your customers about your products’ potential to the C-suite. Show them the potential of an engaged workforce.
Partner with HR to Promote Engagement
HR experts, such as Payscale’s Jingcong Zhao, too, see the value of marketing’s role in engaging employees. After all, they’re the department on the line when a disaffected, yet talented employee leaves.
Recruiting, onboarding, and training costs are a drag on a company’s bottom line without anything to show for it. Keeping good employees, engaging those employees, and turning those employees into brand advocates, on the other hand, helps profits to skyrocket.
You could say that engagement is one of the most important components of compensation. No one wants to stay with a company who doesn’t provide recognition for the contributions they make.
As Business Week’s Chad Brooks points out, only 17 percent of unengaged employees experience low-stress levels. That means that 83 percent of them are under stress. Therapy, after all, can eat up a huge chunk of one’s salary.
Which is but one reason HR departments encourage their marketing team to get involved with boosting engagement. As Zhao argues, HR needs to partner with marketing to “forge an alliance and learn from each other.”
- Learn your fellow employees’ pain points: Go beyond the whining about the boss to get to the real issues behind their dissatisfaction. Then teach the team at HR how to help solve their challenges—whether it be through surveys, reading social media posts to find the solution—just like you do in your marketing campaigns with customers.
- Teach HR how to motivate employees: Marketing is all about creating “a compelling vision that motivates customers” to pull the trigger and buy. When you work with your HR department to show employees the benefits—emotional as well as financial—that they’ll realize when they perform at a peak level, they’ll be more likely to catch the company vision. In fact, when employees realize how their work makes a difference in customers’ lives, they’ll commit to the mission.
- Help HR communicate to their “clients”: HR staff often concentrates so hard on the financial compensation, benefit plans, and enrichment programs themselves that they forget to tout their benefits. Marketing teams can play a role when they partner with HR to communicate these perks to the rank-and-file. Whether it’s about transparency in pay to build trust or making your employees aware of that new wellness program, marketing can help build team spirit when it partners with the HR department.
Join Forces with Sales to Drive Thought Leadership and Product Education
Winning a sale in today’s demanding market—especially in the B2B arena—requires demonstrating that you are at the forefront of your industry. That takes more than a slick sales presentation.
It takes thoughtful content that shows that your company has researched a customer’s challenges and devised strategies to solve those challenges. It takes informative content that helps your sales team educate customers about how to get the maximum benefit out of your product.
In other words, it takes sales and marketing working hand in hand to win a customer’s business. When you engage your sales team in a mission that goes beyond earning a commission, they’ll never look at a customer the same way again. When your sales team sees their job as helping people solve problems—they’ll be hooked on that kind of high for life.
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