Failures in internal marketing?

This week’s leader in Marketing Week [Marketing moves up the social agenda – 18 March 2010] made interesting – and thought provoking – reading.

It’s becoming evident that financial institutions (such as Deutsche Bank) are starting to understand that marketing adds value to the business as a whole, although the tone of the editorial made it fairly clear that the investors are still viewing the activity with some suspicion.

Aside from the potential argument that it’s short sighted of the businesses in question not to invest in some kind of marketing exposure to establish their USPs in the marketplace and build their consumer base, the piece raised an entirely different question in my head.

Take the assumption, for the moment, that these financial institutions must have at least a nascent advertising/marketing function, allied (or not) to the PR and reactive media divisions. There’s bums-on-seats then, but the people at the top aren’t recognising their value.

Could this, perhaps, be because the marketeers aren’t singing their own praises loudly enough and treating themselves as a product/commodity which has a price point (salaries), range of USPs and numerous attractor points? Are they just not marketing themselves internally well enough?

It’s an issue I’m more than familiar with. So much time is spent delivering projects, designing new marketing models or just getting on with the day-job (read: paperwork) that self-promotion isn’t always top of the stack.

And yet it should be. After a year (in my case) of establishing myself and my team as the experts in what we do, we ought to keep telling our colleagues and internal/external customers about our successes, reaffirming why we’re the best people for the job and generating internal chatter over our campaigns. Otherwise we run the risk of other departments out-sourcing projects and weakening the brand positioning and project effectiveness because they don’t know how capable we are or what we can actually do.

A well thought out strategic internal communications plan and structure will go some way to addresses this, although the balance between communicating the organisation’s/project’s successes and the creative input is a fine one. It’s easy to brag, but it’s equally easy to be self-effacing as well – and both side of the line can be detrimental for the strategic communicator.

So, to return to the issue of the financial institutions for a moment. Have the marketeers kept quiet about their skills, abilities and successes, hoping to be noticed in the background? Or have they been ground down by the unrelenting scepticism of the investors?

Perhaps the marketeers should be bigger and bolder, more prepared to sing for their supper at the boardroom table.

After all, if they can persuade people to part with one of their most closely guarded possessions (money), winning over a few suits in a boardroom should be no hassle…


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