Internal Marketing Can Solve For ‘Distraction Principle’
by Cory Treffiletti , Featured Contributor, April 19, 2017
The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. This proverbial statement is especially true for marketers in a corporate setting when disparate groups who rely on one another (at least to some extent) are unable to communicate in the proper fashion.
For marketing success to happen, everyone has to be aligned — and in many cases they are simply too distracted to be aligned. Put more simply, your marketing priorities need to align with the rest of the org, and that’s hard.
In a smaller company, communication challenges can be overcome simply by proximity and by getting people together on a regular basis, in the same room, and hashing out solutions to challenges. Meeting in person enables more off-the-cuff conversations and the ability to surface challenges that likely are spread across multiple teams, but may not get noticed all the time.
In a larger environment, organizing a status update such as a monthly business review or some other format can be easy. It’s far more difficult to make sure the people on the receiving end are able to provide the necessary level of attention required to “hear” your updates and evaluate how they align with their priorities.
In a larger enterprise, there can be multiple lines of initiatives running congruently, with teams spread across multiple locations, unable to be together in a room on a regular basis. I refer to this problem as the distraction principle: assuming that everyone else is distracted all the time, and it’s your job to break through the clutter, just as you would with any marketing campaign.
Marketing can be highly valued in the enterprise, but most of the time it simply is not. Most of the time marketing is only brought up when it doesn’t work. It’s to your benefit as a marketer in a large organization to communicate in new and interesting ways to the teams around you what you are doing, and try to build frequency in that message so they can eventually understand it. It’s not that they don’t “get it,” but they’re simply too distracted by their own challenges to give you the time.
Marketing updates to a distracted audience should never come in the forms of bullet points. Instead, think like a marketer: How do you convey your story in a new way that actually gets read? Marketing is supposed to be colorful and attention-grabbing, so your internal messaging and evangelization for what you do should stand out as well.
If you want to be successful in a large organization, you should spend at least 20% of your time trying to figure out how to message to your internal teams in the same manner as you do externally: with character, in a way that breaks through the clutter.
Internal marketing efforts get overlooked, but in a large organization they are crucial to your success. If you are not doing them, then you are setting yourself up for unnecessary headaches, as you will be playing catch-up later to get people aligned to your efforts.