Integrated Small Business Marketing: What is it and why is it important?

Coming together is a beginning.Many years ago, I took a production management class.  In the class, I learned what I needed to about production management, but I also learned about the art of story telling and how every department in a business has a story.  I learned about the theory of integrating business operations and how when departments, and teams, work together in a true environment of collaboration, the business and its customers benefit significantly.

At the time of the class, I was working as a director for a large national food distributor and also working toward an undergraduate degree.  I took the class because it related to my current job and filled an elective requirement, but during the class I learned something tremendous about marketing. Yes–marketing lessons from a production management class!

The textbook the professor assigned was actually a novel that told the story of a mid-level manager who worked at a production facility. We learned about First In, First Out inventory management, the effects of a bottleneck on the production process, and the need for integrated management–where all systems work together. The author even tied the lessons to a little drama where the main character struggled in his marriage because of his long work hours.  The book outlined how at any given point in the production process, a breakdown could occur, which caused a ripple effect throughout the process.

Using this lesson from my past, I see the same is true with marketing.

The integrated approach to small business marketing works the same as integrated production management in that it requires us to evaluate every channel within a company’s flow of communications, in search of new opportunities to support brand identity and awareness, and enhance the customer experience.  When following this approach, business leaders look at every aspect of the customer experience to identify opportunities to present the marketing message and how each department can contribute to sharing the message.  Following this philosophy requires teamwork to be effective.

Why is this important? When marketing efforts are integrated there is a direct impact on business outcomes.


Greater employee satisfaction:
Integrating marketing efforts brings everyone to the table. All employees make an investment and a contribution. There is greater collaboration among the team. The added benefit is that employee satisfaction is one factor that can help decrease employee turnover.

Supreme Customer Experience: The complete customer experience is cumulative experiences across multiple touch points over time.  Using an integrated approach, everyone in the business understands the goal and the message and their ‘specific and unique’ contribution toward meeting the needs of the customers. When everyone on the team understands their importance, a business can reach the level of providing a supreme customer experience.

Cost Savings: At this level of employee development, employees are better engaged and turnover decreases. Repeat business increases and brand loyalty increases, which can help lower the cost of advertising. Businesses realize operational efficiency, and better collaboration across functions and levels.

At myMarketing Cafe, we focus on integrated small business marketing.  We believe every department in a business has a story to tell.  The stories can be shared in an interesting and engaging way with the audience, and one that makes a significant contribution to the customer experience.  If you want great content for your marketing initiatives, look inside your business.  Tell the story of how you get things done and how your team works together.  What takes place during everyday operations can fill your editorial calendar!

Now it’s your turn, what creative ways have you found to involve your employees in the business? Share with us how this has affected your business outcomes.

 

  • Word Ninja  Merry Christmas!  You are so right about remembering to share with the employees. I learned this while working with a large non-profit. We were experiencing the exact situation you shared and it prompted us to create updates that supervisors shared during weekly meetings and leadership shared during all-staff meetings. We also began to highlight various departments and stories in monthly emails from our HR department. I think it’s important to share about employees too, to create a personal brand for the business. It will also help engage those employees who, as you mentioned, don’t readily interact with customers, but their work is still important to the success of the business. I wrote about empowering employees and shared a link to something UPS did to share about their employees. It was a Facebook post (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=507525459261762&set=a.476493735698268.121198.154423787905266&type=1&theater)

  • Good morning and almost Merry Christmas, Jo Lynn! Interesting post!
    In regard to the third point, I’ve worked in an environment where I’ve gleaned stories from various departments to share with our org’s broader audience. But since employees don’t necessarily check the website, they weren’t reading the stories. I made sure to send links to those who had given me the initial lead but also shared the links internally through the employee listserv. One challenge in getting stories in the first place is that some departments naturally have more direct communication with customers than others. I would also guess that some departments don’t even consider the opportunity to share customer stories more broadly. Do you see value in internal publications such as employee newsletters or employee-generated blogs for sharing customer stories from various departments? Seems this would also encourage employee satisfaction.