Saturday, July 21, 2012

Why Bother with Internal Marketing?

At Texas A&M University’s second annual Mays Summer Learning Seminar, a former professor of mine, Dr. Paul Busch, presented on Internal Marketing.  Dr. Busch talked about the tendency of businesses to focus on external messages to clients (in forms like advertising and promotion), while neglecting to educate, empower, and communicate with employees so they are capable of implementing promises made.

Various seminar attendees provided real life examples of communication gaps and misunderstandings of expectations at work.

My favorite example came to mind back at the hotel.

Ever since the “green movement” came into prominence, hotels have left signage letting guests know that towels on the floor will be replaced.  Towels that are hung will be used again.  Despite this policy, over the years, not one hotel has let me use a towel again. 

I never fussed… after all, deep down, who doesn’t want a fresh towel?

Dr. Busch’s lecture made me rethink promises made to consumers and how we keep them.  In this instance, the promise of environmental responsibility sounds good, but isn’t being kept.  If hotels are truly trying to be “green,” they could use some help from internal marketing.

Employees need to understand and be familiar with company initiatives.  They need a chance to buy in, which enables employees to deliver.  Internal marketing helps organizations implement key initiatives, deliver on promises, and achieve goals.

Let internal marketing work for you and your business.  Engage your staff.  Show clients you mean what you say and deliver on what you promise.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

When Silence is Golden

Last week, my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary in Napa Valley.  We stayed at the beautiful Carneros Inn.  It had amazing views and impeccably friendly and professional staff members who knew exactly how to provide great service.

Our first day in Napa, we checked out the resort grounds and wandered into the spa.  We started talking with Denise Spanek, a former esthetician who is CEO and founder of Air Repair, a skin care system created to combat the effects of flying and travel on your skin.  I smelled a sales pitch and was ready to feel uncomfortable and back away.  But I didn’t have to.

Ms. Spanek was an energetic entrepreneur working hard to establish and differentiate her product in a competitive marketplace.  It was fun to hear about her hard work and subsequent success.  But I was especially impressed with how she interacted with us. 

Although we were all actively conversing, each time my husband or I started to speak, she stopped.  Abruptly.  Immediately.  Her silence gave us the opportunity to provide our experience and insight while she listened.  It made us feel like what we thought mattered.

I love to get excited and talk.  I show people I’m interested by asking questions and speaking words.  But in this case, silence was golden.  Silence showed me that Ms.Spanek cared about us.  It allowed my husband and me to justify our need for her product together.

The silence was perfect.  It was respectful.  It closed the sale.