Most companies invest in employee handbooks. These valuable resources detail rules, regulations, mission statements, policies and expected conduct. But they often ignore what might be the most important company knowledge—marketing.
Any employee that comes into contact with a customer or client is performing a marketing function. Do they know how to represent the organization accurately and positively?
Business owners should add marketing training to the ongoing development of every staff member. Teach new hires and conduct routine, perhaps quarterly, all-hands sessions.
Here are the seven things to work into training your staff in marketing.
1. This is who we work with
Write a paragraph that paints a vivid picture of the kind of client you seek. Include the kinds of problems or challenges that make your company the right one for them to do business with.
Until you narrowly define the exact person or business that is your ideal client (or problem that client has), your business will fall prey to the marketing tactic of the week.
2. This makes us unique
Give your staff a simple, yet compelling, way to introduce what your firm does that’s unique. This is your core marketing message. It communicates why your product or service produces greater value than every other option.
Have employees practice this by role-playing until they are comfortable delivering it authentically.
3. This is what our clients worry about
People rarely walk around saying they need your product or service. But they do lament the lack of something. They talk about specific problems or voice an aspiration.
Instead of saying “I wish I had some new accounting software,” they say things like “I can’t ever get a handle on my receivables.”
Your entire staff should know the most common things people say that indicate they could be an ideal prospect.
4. This is how we keep our brand true
Your marketing department probably spends time and money on getting the color and font of your marketing materials just right. But everyone else in the business just wings it in their communications. If employees don’t practice consistency, how will your clients recognize your brand?
The best way to adhere to brand standards is to make them internal as well as external. Train everyone on the use of color, type and images and demand that they adhere to these standards in their communication. This will ensure that everyone is consistent with the visual elements of your marketing.
5. This is what we are saying right now
Show off your latest ads, direct mail creative and offers that are going out in every medium. Make sure that your entire staff can talk about your current promotions.
When your staff is not able to comfortably answer questions about what is going on with your business, it’s bad for your company. Keeping them in the loop will make them feel even more engaged in marketing. It will also give them the confidence to serve your customers.
6. This is how we take care of our customers
Make sure the entire staff reads the company blog, understands the educational content, attends your online training and routinely takes a shift answering customer service calls. Have your staff view the content you produce from the client's perspective.
7. This is how we all win
Give your staff a way to know if the company is winning the game. Share the key strategic indicators your organization uses to measure success. Teach them what these indicators mean and help them find a way to tie what they do to one or more of these numbers.
If every employee realizes the way their day-to-day contribution adds to a key indicator of success, and ultimately to the overall success of the organization, you give them a way to connect everything they do with success.
With this understanding, they know that cutting cost in their department can contribute to lowering the client-acquisition cost.
Every business is a marketing business and all employees trained this way can become contributing members of the marketing team, no matter what their job title is.
Image credit: schoschie
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant and author of Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine. He founded the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.