Is there an untapped marketing resource right under your nose that you’re not aware of? Odds are, there probably is. When Quaintise performs a company, brand, or marketing audit for any local Arizona business to determine the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, one of the points that we often comes across under Weaknesses involves employee involvement. Here’s what we mean:
Employees and Customer Relationships
Many times, your employees are your greatest marketing resource. Often times, however, when we are focusing so intently on turning customers into brand advocates, we forget about the very people that work in our stores, interact with our customers, and showcase the brand every day. There is a hugely underutilized marketing resource right under your nose in terms of developing strong relationships with your employees, turning them into brand advocates instant of just hourly workers.
Your employees interact face-to-face with customers every day. Whether you own a restaurant, cupcake store, or shoe store, they are on the front lines. They get the same questions every day, they see how products elicit reactions, they work with customers to find solutions to problems. Your employees are truly your greatest resource, but so many employers, and marketing teams, take them for granted.
Hundreds and thousands of marketing dollars are spent every day on customer market research, sentiment analysis, and brand auditing to determine how an audience reacts to your brand. Researchers conduct consumer polls, review sales figures, review online chatter, all to determine who an audience is reacting to a specific brand. It’s a time consuming and costly process, that however necessary it is, forgets one simple fact; there is a wealth of market research statistics right under your very nose.
Asking employees the right questions, conducting in-house market research, and interviewing those people who meet with customers every day might give you even more imperative information that can be used to build a remarkable brand.
Utilizing Your Employees
How do you utilize one of the greatest resources right under your nose? Motivation, inspiration, conversation, and trust.
• Motivate your employees to be the best brand advocate they can be. Offer incentives and rewards programs. Consider all of the benefits that you’d offer customers, and rework those benefits to reward your employees for advocating your brand as well. For example, recently a client ran a Facebook Contest for employees only. The contest brought employees to the brand Facebook Page, encouraged them to leave comments and discuss ideas, and asked them to invite friends to the page as well. The winner received an iPad as a reward, but all employees continued to remain more engaged with the brand after the contest ended.
• Inspire your employees to be creative. These people truly are your eyes and ears to the customers. They know what the customer wants, what they like about the brand, and if they’re receiving the brand message correctly. They also have keen insight into ideas that might help the brand to be received better or reach more of an audience.
• Conversations in the workplace are extremely important. If your employees don’t feel as if they can come to you with anything, they won’t come to you with that spark of genius ideas that could fuel a whole new marketing campaign. Check out this example from Inc.com of how important it is to listen to your employees:
Spencer F. Silver was working for 3M in the late 60s when he developed a resilient adhesive that would make a piece of paper stick to a surface, but was still weak enough to let the papers be torn apart again. Silver pitched the product over and over again to people around the company for the next few years, but he never caught any traction. 3M almost lost the idea that came from its own employee, even though Silver kept trying to convince his supervisors about its potential. (Inc.com)
• Trust is crucial to building relationships with your employees and turning into effective brand advocates. As with your Fans and customers, trust is an important factor that builds brand equity and keeps those customers coming back. The exact same is true for the employee-brand relationship.
Take advantage of one of the greatest untapped resources that you have; your employees. Not sure how? Contact us for more information.