Internal Marketing – The Newsletter

Organizations of all sizes often have some form of “internal marketing”. Product/service training, sell sheets, and newsletters are all examples. Even speeches and presentations by co-workers and supervisors are internal marketing.

All internal marketing is important, but I am going to focus on newsletters.

News Print

Most literature on the subject that I have read (most recently, Public Relations Writing by Bivins, T.H.) tells the same story. Newsletters are a piece of internal communication that mixes “hard” (monthly sales figures, product updates, etc) and “soft” (employee X had a child, look at this picture of your co-workers being silly, etc) news. Hard news delivers important facts while soft news implies what behaviour is acceptable in the office and what kind of values are part of the company’s internal culture.

When I began working at a medium-sized (100-200 employees) company, through nobody’s fault, I did not receive a copy of the company’s internal newsletter for the first month and a half. When I began to receive the newsletter, I noticed that it was easier to interact with co-workers and assess my work.

The Inside Track

Have you ever been conversing with two or more other people when an inside joke between those other people is brought up? I find that alienating, and it is even more so if the conversation diverts to follow the thread of that inside joke.

The same feeling crept up on me while I was not receiving the company’s newsletter. I heard references to specific events and images in the newsletter, and I had no idea what was going on. I felt like a temporary consultant rather than an employee on payroll.

My work was also impacted. Most of my work is writing that must represent the company’s culture. That work was stressful – more so than I had experienced with any writing I have ever done. My stress-level dropped after I received the company newsletter regularly: the bar by which I could assess my writing had been set.

Resolution

Newsletters are a simple and effective way to share news relevant to employees (key word: relevant), and they can also communicate the company’s culture. I think there are other issues in my own situation (I was sick for a couple weeks and my previous supervisor left the company), but I am certain the newsletter had a profound effect on me.

Over to You…

Do you have any experience with newsletters or any other internal marketing? Leave a comment and share your story.

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Sunday Roundup – March 2, 2014

I have five stories for you lads and ladies this week. Other than the Harvard Business Review article, most of the articles focus on values – yes, even the article about Comcast.

So, without further adieu; feast your eyes on my Sunday Roundup:

Feminism is having a wardrobe malfunction.

This makes an important point about values that can be applied to individuals or businesses. We all have our own sets of values, and the organizations we operate and/or are employed by have sets of values. No matter how good we think our values are, they are ours alone. We can and do believe any number of things, but none of those things are necessarily the “right way”, they’re just “our way”.

Erika Linder is Him and Her in Mesmerizing Campaign for Crocker Jeans.

Androgyny for the win! Gender, as usual, is irrelevant. First of all, I’m impressed at how well Ms. Linder acts the male part – some of her gender swap is makeup, but some of it appears to be how she moves the muscles in her face.

How does this relate to values? Not all genders are considered equal in North American society, whether that gender is the result of good acting and make up, genetics, or bring transgendered. It is well past time to reconsider the value we place on gender.

Human2Human: Jargon or an Old a that Still Matters?

How much value to we place on being “businesslike”? How much to we place on human interaction and conversation?

Employees, customers, and anyone else directly or indirectly involved in a business are human beings before they chose to involve themselves with a business. Even the C-suite of a company is a human being by birth.

From my perspective as a marketer, it is easier to be human. Having a real, honest conversation with a prospective client is far more engaging than acting like a machine. After all, I was born human, too.

How To Make Yourself Work When You Just Don’t Want To.

I don’t always agree with what comes out of Harvard, but I would not accuse them of being poor workers – they seem to get a lot done. How do they do it? Perhaps they do not use the tips in the following article, but I like to think they do.

Comcast doesn’t give a f*ck.

Of course they don’t. By owning almost all of the cable networks in the United States, they don’t have to care about competition or what customers want. Customers have no choices other than Comcast owned services, so Comcast has no incentive to be anything other than self-serving, and there are no competitors offering better prices or service or anything else that I customer would want from their cable network. So do we value our cable television enough to stand up against Comcast buying cable providers? I do, at least I would if I lived in the United States.

Over to You…

What did you read this week? Did I miss something important? Do you have a question? Leave a comment and tell me about it!

Marketing Monday

Happy Monday, everyone!  Last week, I tried an experiment; writing a blog every morning.  It was a great experiment, but I am not convinced that I should continue.  As such, I am trying a twice-a-week schedule: a Monday-morning catch up on news from the Marketing industry and something else on Friday which will likely depend on the events of each week.  Stay tuned!

Onwards!

Instagram Video

Facebook has added video to Instagram.  Yup, it’s happening.  Twitter’s app, Vine, has propelled the other social media giant to create a competitor.

Instagram’s co-founder, Kevin Systrom, may have said it best:

“This is the same Instagram we all know and love but it moves,”

The Instagram feature allows for 15 seconds of video, and includes the filters that Instragram is so well loved for.

I like the upgrade to 15 seconds.  Vine seemed like a cool idea, but 6 seconds is very limiting.  15 is the same length as a short commercial on radio, so marketers and advertisers will be able to adapt quickly.

Details Count  

Mountain Equipment Co-op has changed its logo.  Scary stuff.

Apparently the change is due to a change in customer demographics.  Though there was one comment, by Mountain Man, attached to the story on Marketin Mag’s website that made this point:

From iconic to unremarkable.

Personally, I don’t know how well the change will go over.  The new logo reminds me of GAP’s logo, though the transparent elements of it  could be perceived in a variety of ways.  Only time will tell.

Ogilvy & Mathers Does it Again  

The marketing giant’s New York office has created an equally gigantic campaign for Coca-Cola.  At the least, I must give them points for creativity and ambition.  You’ll see what I mean:

The scope of the campaign is incredible.  I’m impressed that they managed to pull it off.

A Canadian Icon Takes Back Ground  

Canadian Tire sells more than just tires, and they’re more than happy to show it.  Ottawa’s Scotiabank Place is going to become Canadian Tire Centre.

Oh, and Canadian Tire is taking over almost everything at the arena.  Sport Chek will be supplying the hockey team, Mark’s work Warehouse (now just Mark’s) will supply staff clothing, the kitchens will become the company’s personal test kitchen, and even the in-area bar will be rebranded as the Sport Chek Bar & Grill.

All of those subsidiaries are relatively recent acquisitions for the Canadian company.  I have heard that Canadian companies are not aggressive enough in how they do business, at least compared to their American counterparts.  This kind of wide-ranging deal is a strong move for a Canadian company, and hopefully the start of a reversed trend.

Online Ads Pass Traditional Media

Online advertising is taking over the media buying landscape and providing solid profits.  This is no surprise to most of us.  The online environment allows for more targeting, more tracking, and generally better spend ad dollars.

Thought there is one surprise that I touched on last week: radio advertising spend is on the rise, which is likely due to radios ubiquity, low entrance price, and availability of “hot” stations.  By “hot” I mean that listeners are paying attention.

As always, the media buying landscape is evolving.  Pay some attention to the advertisements you encounter over the next year or so, including what medium you receive the ad.

So!  What did I miss?  What are you watching in the world of marketing?  Let me know in the comment section.

Twitter Canada, Traditional Media, and more…

Hello all!  I have decided to add something to this blog: my summary of the morning’s marketing news that comes across my desk.  I will aim to have this published every weekday around noon.

If you have any suggested sources, please forward them to me.  I am always interested in new information.

Onwards!

Twitter Canada Open for Business 

The ubiquitous 140-character text broadcast service had opened its Canadian outpost.  It seems like their focus is on business; the article mentions several tools such as Twitter Amplify and Ad Targeting.

Amplify is video service that sends “real-time” video embedded in a tweet, and the Canadian office managing director says it will be useful for radio broadcasters.  I have no clue how it will manage to be “real-time”, but the concept is interesting.

Ad Targeting Isn’t quite what it sounds like.  It is a method of engaging people who have just watched a traditional television advertisement to create a community around a show or advertisement.

Both tools seem designed to enhance interaction with traditional media.  It is worth noting that the managing director, Kristine Stewart, used to work as the executive vice president of English Services at CBC – in fact she only changed jobs in April.  It is good to see a veteran broadcaster heading services designed to enhance traditional media, especially in an age when radio revenue is stagnant and television profits are plummeting.

Traditions

As just noted, traditional media is suffering.  Marshall McLuhan’s line between hot and cold media is beginning to blur.  The drop in television profit, according to the story linked above, is a decline in advertising sales.  Television has been hot media in the past, but YouTube’s on-demand entertainment is much more convenient than waiting for your favourite show to come on – and there space for advertisement.

Apparently radio advertising sales have increased, despite Canadian radio’s bottom line immobile.  News and newstalk stations are staying profitable because listeners are paying attention (beautiful words to any advertiser).  Ontario radio stations are the most profitable in the country – not surprising if you know what the 401 highway in Toronto is like.  Radio’s lower entry price than television and use as background ambiance in small businesses are also contributing factors to the medium’s continued success.

One interesting side note from the linked radio story: CBC alone employs about the same number of people as private broadcasters CTV, Global Television, City and Quebec’s TVA combined.

Why is Traditional Still Alive?

It isn’t surprising that marketers are sticking with what they know – and what is simple.  This infographic says it right: trying to keep up with the data provided by social media is like “trying to drink from a fire hose”.  Personally, I like my water in glasses; it’s much more manageable.

Media like radio are much easier to define.  A station will broadcast specific content that will (with some exceptions) attract a specific audience.  Television is the same.  When it comes to awareness campaigns based on advertising, a reliable audience is key.

However, that doesn’t mean that all new/digital media are hard to use.  Google has been busy beating the hell out of other advertisers when it comes to mobile ads.  That isn’t surprising: Google’s simple but effective keyword based advertising platform combined with their integrated services (Gmail, YouTube, search, etc) makes it easy to get the right message to the right person.

So…Why Should I Care?

Media literacy.  Having a perspective on the media landscape is important so that you – the consumer of media or a business owner using media – can make decisions about what is right for you.  Whether you are watching or creating the commercial, a little knowledge can go a long way.

Great Reads

What is the most important job skill of the future?  The ability to interact face-to-face.  

The press is tired of bad press releases.  Give them a break and get the coverage you want by reading (and memorizing) this style guide.

Foxy Foxy

I’ll leave you with an introduction to the head of Twitter Canada.  Other than working for one of my favourite broadcast companies (support public broadcasting!), the managing director is also a foxy lady.

kristine stewart Twitter canada managing director
Gaze into the eyes of Twitter Canada…

The Wrap

Did I miss something?  Is my sentence structure awful?  Send me an email: russell@rggraham.me.