Internal marketing (IM) is a process that occurs within a company or organization whereby the functional process aligns, motivates and empowers employees at all management levels to deliver a satisfying customer experience. Over recent rears internal marketing has increasingly been integrated with employer branding, and employer brand management, which strives to build stronger links between the employee brand experience and customer brand experience.
According to Burkett and Zealley, ” the challenge for internal marketing is not only to get the right messages across, but to embed them in such a way that they both change and reinforce employee behaviour”.
Rafiq and Ahmed defines IM as “applying the philosophy and practices of marketing to the people that serve the external customers so that:
- the best possible people can be employed and retained
- and they will do the best possible work.
In 1986 Flipo claims, IM strategies can be developed as the correspondence of the traditional 4 Ps marketing mix, i.e. the product as the job, the price as the opportunity cost of engaging in the job, the place as a location where the jobs are offered near the living places of internal customers and promotion, such as reward policies and communication.
The internal marketing concept has two aspects:
Firstly, every employee working in the organization has his/her own customers. These customers are so-called internal customers.
Secondly, employers need to provide benefits and services for their employees, so as to satisfy them, and the, this will result in delivering better services to final customers in effective and efficient ways.
Key concepts of internal marketing include :
- IM functioning as a continual internal ‘upskilling process.
- Alignment of the organization’s purpose with employee behavior.
- Employees internalizing the core values of the organization.
- Motivation, reframing and empowerment of employee attitude.
- Inside-out management approach.
- Retaining a positive customer experience throughout the business objectives.
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Features of an internal marketing
1. Creating enabling culture: this is done when employees are empowered by management through allowing creativity, innovation, allowing initiative and accountability and responsibility of their decisions.
2. Practicing participative hiring: that is involving current employees in the process of hiring new employees.
3. Ensuring equitable recognition and reward: business must exercise employee recognition with reward to what employee has achieved.
4. Demonstrating fairness during hard times: fair treatment of employees when faced with hard times and difficult moments like death of the near family members. This can be achieved by setting aside emergency funds.
5. Good organization structure: that allows learning, total quality management and rengineering.
Benefits of Internal Marketing:
- encourages the internal market (employees) to perform better;
- empowers employees and gives them accountability and responsibility;
- creates common understanding of the business organization;
- encourages employees to offer superb service to clients by appreciating their valuable contribution to the success of the business helps non-marketing staff to learn and be able to perform their tasks in a marketing-like manner; improves customers retention and individual employee development;
- integrates business culture, structure; human resource management, vision and strategy with the employees’ professional and social needs;
- creates good coordination and cooperation among departments of the business.
- proper information flow within the organization.
- proper guidelines to employee.. (retraining if needs).
- periodic evaluation of employee performance.
Problems affecting successful implementation of Internal Marketing
- Managerial incompetence in interpersonal, technical and conceptual skills is some of the stumbling blocks against successful internal marketing.
- Poor understanding of internal marketing concept.
- Individual conflict and conflict between departments makes the implementation of internal marketing difficult.
- Rigid organizational structure coupled by bureaucratic leadership hinders success of internal Marketing