This guest post is by Jeremy Epstein, founder and chief marketing navigator at Never Stop Marketing.

If you found a pile of cash in your house, you would do something with it, right? Buy something. Invest it. Whatever.

There are a few, cutting-edge marketing executives out there who have discovered there is a pile of cash sitting in their budgets. There’s probably one in your budget, as well: It’s your employees and co-workers.

The arrival of social media tools means that everyone can now be viewed as a voice of the company. (Dangerous. Bad. Scary. Too difficult to control.)

The arrival of social media tools means that EVERYONE can now be viewed as a voice of the company. (Awesome! Scale. Cost-effective reach. Innovation.).

Your choice.

We all know that social media tools aren’t going away, so let’s embrace it.

Making Everyone A Marketer

That’s exactly what Global 360 did with the help of Never Stop Marketing in a pilot called Make Everyone A Marketer,” (MEAM) based on my eBook “Dandelion Marketing.”

The results were encouraging.

After a crash course in marketing fundamentals, 10 regular employees from operations, finance, human resources, legal and IT were able to:

  • Generate a click-through rate of just over 40%.
  • Track 320 net new actions against specific marketing objectives, such as viewing demos, downloading white papers, etc.
  • Reach an additional 1,600 people to share the story of the Global 360 brand and its promise.

… all in six weeks.

Starting Small

Global 360 is an organization of 350 people, but Jennifer Troxell, the company’s vice president of product marketing said, “Let’s start with 10 to see if we can make this work.”

Soliciting volunteers from nonmarketing and nonsales roles all over the company, this group of “MEAMers” identified the customer-, prospect-, and vendor-facing touchpoints in their day-to-day roles which, if injected with remarkability, could:

  • Improve brand perception and awareness
  • Generate word-of-mouth
  • Drive specific and measurable marketing objectives

And this was just with trackable touchpoints.

The MEAM Team also introduced marketing elements into invoices, envelopes, and contract renewal documents, among others. To find out more about how they did it, check out this video:

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A Companywide Culture of Marketing

The pilot participants modified more than 35 touchpoints across the organization to increase the likelihood of word of mouth. The project also increased morale and helped workers redefine their roles to include marketing in addition to their regular jobs.

Best of all, they became enthusiastic believers in their power to positively affect the business:

  • Team members in Order Fulfillment proudly stand up and say, “we want our customers to feel like they are a part of the Global 360 experience”;
  • The guy who manages the fax cover sheets asks himself, “How can I bring a smile to the face of the people who receive this?”
  • Sales support is adding customized and relevant “Did You Know?” P.S. lines to their e-mails (and tracking click-throughs using bit.ly)

But don’t take it from me, here’s a video of the participants talking about it themselves.

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Employee Marketers: Where It’s Headed

Making everyone a marketer is a trend with momentum. Back in December, SmartBrief’s Rob Birgfeld offered up “4 ways to transform your employees into social-media marketers.” Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler at Forrester wrote “Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, and Transform Your Business” (reviewed on my blog).

But our motivation comes from management legend Peter Drucker, who once said, “The business enterprise has two — and only two — basic functions: marketing and innovation.”

Creating a culture where everyone is a marketer not only serves the enterprise, but it also serves the long-term career interests of the employees.

Now, go put that pile of cash to use!

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15 Responses to “Your hidden (and cost-effective) marketing assets”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kathy Meyer and others. Kathy Meyer said: Your hidden (and cost-effective) marketing assets http://bit.ly/enrBLb [...]

  2. When I first saw this headline, I thought it would address how you could leverage your employees' connections on social networks to market your business (which I think would be very interesting, because there's a fine line there to walk). That being said, I did like the insight on ways to make everyone feel part of marketing the company and leveraging all of their external touchpoints to leave a positive impression. Good post!

  3. Craig says:

    We have toyed with incentivizing movie makin, leaving a flip or 2 around so employees could grab and video then maybe give em 15 bucks(or something) to make a little video. I agree completely with using the assets you have at your disposal. It also allows the most passionate of your supporter to shine. Thanks for the Post.

  4. [...] – and wow, doesn’t that make our always limited budgets so much more powerful? As Jeremy Epstein notes in his recent post, it is like having a pile of money sitting around, waiting for it to be [...]

  5. Great post Jeremy, and I totally agree that employees — with their own connections and links to suppliers, etc — are your best assets. But I wonder, how are you incentivizing your employees to become marketers. To many, this might just look like more work…

    • @jer979 says:

      Ellen-good question. I think it comes down to a few things.
      1. tying into the employees natural passions…don't force them to do something unnatural. Allow them to play off a strength
      2. show the "fun" of marketing. I'm biased, but I think it's the best job around. Try to ignite people to understand that.
      3. make it easy for them to execute. It's not about big campaigns. It's about little things that only take a few minutes, but can make an impact.

      thanks for reading.

  6. mynotetakingnerd says:

    LOVE IT!!!

    It's the power of asking yourself a better quality question…

    "How is this an opportunity to serve this customer at the highest level?"

    Back in the day I learned from Jay Abraham that most business owners and employees fall in love with the wrong thing. The fall head over heels in love with their product, their service, their ego… instead of falling in love with the perfect outcome for that specific client they're working with in the moment.

    It looks like you're on the path to creating a higher quality experience for customers out there! It's shame on us as business owners to NOT let our clients/customers know about something that will better their life and in the same light what they see from us will backfire if it only seems self-serving to us and not them.

    Fine line to walk! :-)

    • @jer979 says:

      Well, I'm certainly trying! Appreciate the positive vibes. I think your 2nd paragraph says it all. If you believe that what you are doing really improves the lives of others, you kind of have an obligation to tell them, don't you? Kind of like why I just *had* to write this post ;-)

  7. [...] A company was looking for ways to engage more workers in social media in order to get its message into the marketplace. So the entrepreneur asked groups of employees from different departments to come together to brainstorm. One employee from accounting mentioned that the company sent out dozens of invoices each week, and that most of the page was blank. Why not use the blank space to engage customers? So the company began publishing in that space links to its white papers and blog posts from members of the company’s senior management. [...]

  8. [...] A company was looking for ways to engage more workers in social media in order to get its message into the marketplace. So the entrepreneur asked groups of employees from different departments to come together to brainstorm. One employee from accounting mentioned that the company sent out dozens of invoices each week, and that most of the page was blank. Why not use the blank space to engage customers? So the company began publishing in that space links to its white papers and blog posts from members of the company’s senior management. [...]

  9. Great videos and learned/realized something I had not before. Thanks bud

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