There is no shortage of marketing in today’s world. The messaging comes in all shapes and sizes. Subtle and overt. Paid and earned. From taglines to benefit statements, they’re everywhere. The messages are promises that a brand is making, and marketers are asking customers to believe those promises. What happens to the clever marketing if the people who represent the company, the people who talk to customers every day, don’t believe in those brand promises? What if marketing is setting expectations with buyers and the people talking to the buyers aren’t prepared or compelled to deliver on those expectations?
Why InnerView Exists
These questions are the core of why InnerView was formed. Our entire team comes from a sales background. We have all held sales roles and we have also spent years in the sales consulting and effectiveness space. In reflecting on those experiences what we observed is that most of the internal investments in sales channels are in traditional “training”. Companies are trying to fill either a knowledge gap or a skills gap. However, the real challenge we have seen is a “belief gap”.
We asked marketers what they think, and they agree. In a study conducted with senior-level marketing executives in a variety of B2C industries, 66% of the respondents told us they believe their brand messages are not being delivered effectively by their own brand representatives. They’re spending their days building strategies and launching campaigns to broadcast their promises, but those promises are disconnected from the reality of the person-to-person interactions.
Nearly half of the respondents believe that disconnect costs their company at least $5 million each year. Let that sink in for a second.
This is the challenge InnerView looks to tackle. We want to help companies recapture revenue that is slipping through the cracks by betting on their own people. As part of this effort, we’ll be active in writing, speaking and crafting other forms of thought leadership designed to drive a dialogue around how marketers can build an internal sense of belief, confidence and pride in their brands. What follows is a little more detail on what someone can expect from us – who we are talking to and what topics we will explore.
InnerView is talking to the people responsible for building and distributing the brand message. These can be senior marketing and branding executives (including agencies), product or brand managers, channel marketers and customer experience professionals in the B2C world. What all those professionals have in common is they are “keepers” of the story. They’ve helped mold the ideal version of the experience they want customers to have with their brand, but they need to get others on board to execute that vision. In many cases, they don’t directly manage or oversee those teams, so they must influence the internal audiences to build a sense of belief.
Our goal is to help marketers look within their own organizations at the people who represent their brand – employees, partners, dealers, anyone who talks to a customer about their products – and see them as part of their marketing army. Marketers are being held more accountable now than ever before. Click-through rates and impressions are not enough anymore. Marketing is expected to not only improve conversion, but drive revenue. It’s an all-hands-on-deck effort to ensure that a brand’s
story is different, relatable and valuable to a customer.
Brand Transfer is Our “Thing”
When we talk about B2C marketers getting key elements of the story to the brand representatives, we refer to that as “Brand Transfer”. It is the ability of an organization to take the critical elements of their story and hand them from one group of internal stakeholders to the next without the story breaking down. Think about a game of “whisper down the lane” and how distorted the original story becomes with each person in line. Especially for marketers inside larger organizations, keeping the message in tact can be a real challenge, pinpointing where a message is losing steam, is virtually impossible. The issue with this concept is that it has typically been hard to measure.
Companies could measure what their brand representatives “know” about the story through learning checks at the end of training. But do they believe in the story? Will they tell it in a convincing, consistent way?
We developed the Brand Transfer Study to answer those questions. It will produce a Brand Transfer Score™, which provides marketers a way to understand where the messages are breaking down and by how much. With that information, marketers can develop internal messaging strategies that are more likely to resonate with their brand representatives. It’s marketing, not training. It is a tool to help close the gap between knowledge and belief.
Topics We Intend to Explore
The InnerView team’s expertise is in B2C products and services and the complex go-to-market models that connect those companies to the customer. We will apply that knowledge to generate insights on how marketers can reach down through those channels to influence more consistent delivery of the brand story. Specific topics include:
- Marketing/Sales Alignment – While covered extensively in the B2B world, our focus is in B2C, an area seldom explored.
- Customer Experience – We plan to explore how the relationship between a brand and the brand representatives can impact the interaction between brand representatives and customers.
- Marketing Data & Insights – In 2015, companies spent $44 billion globally on consumer market research, and our market study reinforced that customer data is a major priority for marketers. We have our own twist on data, but we will focus on turning data into actions.
- Marketing Messaging –The process of shaping and delivering those messages internally can be complicated. If marketers segment their buyers, they also need to segment their internal audiences.
- Internal Marketing – Driving a sense of belief, confidence and pride with brand representatives is not something that can be forced. Marketers need to employ a “pull” strategy, similar to the way they engage customers.
InnerView is not a marketing agency, so we will only talk about how our expertise relates to marketing strategy, branding, advertising, digital marketing and creative development. We are also not a sales training company. We will work with a company’s brand representatives, which will often include sales, but we will not be sharing insights about topics such as selling skills or methodologies, sales management or prospecting.
The Challenge to Marketers
Marketing professionals are innovators because the marketplace forces them to adapt. In a world of increasing accountability, our challenge to marketers is to innovate from the inside, out. They have the opportunity to strengthen the customer conversation so the demand they create is not wasted. This requires a critical look at how internal stakeholders impact the external brand perception. It requires transferring the story to the last mile, the point of sale, the customer contact.
If a brand is a collection of promises, promises are kept by people. If the brand representatives believe, the value of every customer interaction goes up – for the brand and the happy customers.