Many organizations spend large sums on advertising and marketing. We labor over where to best put our resources: online advertising, newspaper, television, billboards, direct mail. The list goes on. I believe it is much easier than you think to identify your first and best source of advertising.
Who do you know that intimately knows your business? Who knows your products, your mission, and the real credibility of what you say and do, better than any advertiser possibly could? Who knows if you mean what you say, and whether you are willing to “go the extra mile” to ensure that your customers or clients are well-served? Who knows how you handle challenges, service problems, and scheduling? Who know what you, as a business? Think about it!
Your #1 Ambassadors
No one knows the answers to these questions better than your employees! If we were to take a survey of all your employees right now and ask them about the questions posed above, how might they respond? Over the years we have worked with organizations ranging in size from 25 to over 20,000 employees. We looked at the opportunity these organizations have right at their fingertips to tell their market about their products or services.
Naturally, it depends on the type of organization you are, and who your target audience might be, but let’s look at an example.
Most hospitals are “community-based” organizations. That is, their “target market” is made up of the members of the surrounding community. The vast majority of their “customers” are within a 20-mile radius. Let’s assume that this hospital and its various medical centers employ 1,000 people. Now, let’s also assume that every one of those 1,000 employees (or almost every one) is absolutely convinced that their hospital is the best possible place to work. They know that their hospital is committed to providing the best medical care, as well as the best patient care. They know that their hospital is committed to ensuring that each employee is well-trained and well-equipped to perform their duties. They know that their hospital treats not only the patients but the employees with respect and consideration, in all circumstances. They know that their hospital is honorable in all of their dealings, and that each employee feels valued, both as an employee and as an individual.
How often are these employees asked about their job and where they work? What is going to be their response? In the course of a week, a month, or a year, how many people in the community do these 1,000 employees touch and tell what a tremendous place their hospital is? And they are convincing, because they are not “paid advertising.” They are sharing their personal experience in a genuine, non-threatening environment.
All employees share what they think and how they feel about their workplace. Be careful of focusing too much on the message that you are attempting to send via your advertising and marketing, and overlooking the message being sent by your internal ambassadors. No amount of advertising can speak as loud, particularly on a community level, as a healthy, happy, engaged, and valued workforce.