In Part 1, I introduced the “7 Ps” that comprise today’s Marketing Mix, and made a case for calling on the Ps to capture the hearts and minds of employees when rolling out a strategic enterprise initiative. Large-scale initiatives require enhanced communication and change management in order to succeed. The world of marketing gives us tools to add a little extra “secret sauce” to each touch point to show employees that they work for a winning organization and are valued.
But what would that look like in action?
The Chartered Institute of Marketing provides a detailed overview of each of the 7Ps in its guide, Marketing and the 7Ps. Here, at a high level, is how I re-interpret the Ps to put them to work as an internal Enterprise Marketing Mix. Use them to guide the people side of your next large scale strategic initiative.
Product (or Service) = Purpose (or Promise)
The number one mission of marketing is to position and promote a Product or Service in order to increase brand loyalty and drive sales; that’s the underpinning of all the 7Ps. Today’s smart business turns to Marketing early on to gather the voice of the customer in order to make sure its products meet consumer needs and desires — what customers really want, not only what the product design team imagines they want. Marketing translates those wants into messaging that lets potential customers know where they can find what they are seeking.
Marketing an enterprise initiative is similar to positioning and promoting a service offering. What you’re “selling” is an outcome, which I translate in P-speak to Purpose (or Promise). Early in any enterprise initiative, a promise is sold internally to leadership, and then to key stakeholders, in order to secure funding and support. What were the core benefits promised for your initiative? Did it propose to save time or money? Increase agility? Eliminate waste? Reduce risk? Positioning these same benefits for each internal audience, and promoting them down through the organization in the appropriate context will help earn employee buy-in and motivate them to get on board.
Time and disruption are the Price we ask employees to pay in helping to bring our strategy to fruition. Make sure your people perceive a healthy return of value in exchange for the additional “cost” in hours and energy they will need to invest – often above and beyond their normal responsibilities – in working through the uncomfortable changes required.
In marketing, Place is where your customers find and interact with your product – either in a physical storefront, or online. Where and how will your employee customers find and obtain what they need — communications and updates, tools, training — to help make your initiative a success? Do you offer an initiative dashboard or newsfeed? Your employees have many competing priorities; create a sense of place that makes it as easy and pleasant as possible to stay engaged in their role in activating your strategic vision.
For many, Promotion is synonymous with marketing: branding, advertising, PR, offers, exhibits. These are the tools that marketers use to convey benefits and persuade today’s savvy customers to invest in their product or service. Promotion is no longer one-way, but actively seeks to open a door to a dialogue with customers. How will you break through the clutter and engage with your internal customers? If your organization is large enough, look to your internal marketing, PR, or communications people for ideas. Meantime, pay attention to the marketing messaging coming to you each day and look for techniques you can steal and put to work to persuade your employees.
CIM says of Process, “Customers are not interested in the detail of how your business runs. What matters to them is that the system works.” Your employees arguably care more about the business side of your business, but realistically, that interest is limited to the scope of their own role and responsibilities. Beyond that, you face the same issue of the marketing department: how do you provide an experience that delights your customers? If delight is too far a reach, at least strive to make your initiative launch and rollout as painless as possible. At a time when you need a little extra from them, the least you can do is ensure that your employees are well informed, and have everything they need at hand in order to accomplish what you are asking – or where to seek assistance.
From a marketing aspect, People are the company staff who directly interact with customers – sales, service, or support. They are the face of the brand. Internally, the people who represent and support your initiative Promise are your leadership team. To ensure success of a large enterprise rollout, your organization will benefit greatly from taking a bottom-up approach. Coach management to listen to and support front line people as the valued internal customers they are. They will repay you with feedback and recommendations that can speed time to productivity and curtail costly delays and overruns.
Marketers use case studies and testimonials as tangible Physical Evidence that the product they are offering will work as promised. You can do the same, in order to underscore the validity of your Purpose and Promise. Share your vision early and often through real-life facts and stories that support the value of the effort. Publicly celebrate little victories. Change is hard; energize your employees with a little extra boost to show their extra efforts are worth it.
Summing It All Up
I’ve presented a very high level vision for thinking about using the 7Ps of marketing to build employee engagement during a strategic enterprise rollout. Engagement, like trust, is something that is cultivated in daily activities, over time. I believe that in today’s hectic, cluttered workplace, there is great value in paying extra attention to providing your people a sense of belonging and feeling that their work matters. Putting any of these marketing strategies to work toward that end will translate into greater buy-in and engagement with your own strategic vision.