Practice what you preach

Asmall firm usually consists of fewer than 50 employees, making it a tight squeeze to find the human resources to conduct internal marketing efforts.

However, marketing is a critical component of business development and can be an employee morale booster. Here are some guidelines to follow as your small marketing firm begins to practice what it preaches.

Treat yourself as a client. A revolution in your thought process, this first critical step is probably the hardest because it goes against your current perceptions — your firm’s marketing needs are as important as your clients’ needs.

It is crucial because you begin to see yourself differently and begin concentrating on your internal marketing initiatives. Designating one person as an internal marketing manager benefits your organization because that person ensures deadlines are met and becomes the final marketing decision-maker.

Treating yourself as a client should involve developing a marketing strategy, setting deadlines, establishing budgets, tracking your time on projects, invoicing and client relationship management.

Avoid drafting and redrafting. Most organizations spend 90 to 100 percent of their time drafting and redrafting statements, when they should only spend less than 5 percent of their time doing so. Instead, they should concentrate more time on creating alignment within their organization.

For internal marketing initiatives, it’s easy to fall into this trap because there is no external person asking you to meet deadlines. When an organization continually redrafts materials, deadlines are pushed back to accommodate these changes.

Set aside time. It’s challenging to balance direct revenue generators — client work — with indirect revenue generators — firm-specific work. This is especially true during heavy client workload periods when client needs seem more pressing than internal needs and it’s harder to carve out time to concentrate on internal marketing initiatives.

To avoid neglecting your internal client, set aside a few hours a week to work on your marketing efforts. Planning helps to meet deadlines. During slower periods, make it a higher priority to advance internal marketing initiatives.

Take risks, have fun. As your own client, you drive the process. Therefore, you can push the envelope and try new — and risky — ideas. Marketing your firm can be as simple as issuing an invitation to visit your offices or as complex as overhauling your collateral material, from letterhead and brochures to your Web site. Think creatively about what your organization has to offer, even if it’s over the top.

Reap the rewards. Although immediate results of boosting internal marketing may not be evident, there is a payoff. You may gain clients, see more media recognition or have more visitors to your Web site.

In addition, employees learn new skills and feel directly involved in your firm’s direction. In the long run, marketing your organization will impact your bottom line. Tina Biasella is senior account executive at BrownFlynn Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that helps businesses align community involvement with corporate mission statements. She can be reached at (440) 484-0100.