A quick story… early on in my career, we worked with a client on an exciting new product introduction. The product was new and exciting. The messaging was on target, the product was fantastic and there was a buzz in the air.

Our client was very protective of the idea ever since a larger competitor got wind of an earlier project and countered it with a product introduction of their own. To prevent this, we would surprise everyone… customers, the competition, and even the client’s own team. The surprise was going to make everybody excited and pull together.

So, we successfully kept everything under wraps. The tension was palpable. Launch day came and the buzz turned into pffft. The introduction was flat, sales were nonexistent, and the product was soon pulled.

What happened? How could something so right go so wrong?

The answer was right there in front of us, staring at us the whole time.

An often-overlooked step in marketing is hiding in plain sight – the most important target market of your company, of your products, of your brand… are your own people.

Your people are your brand. On a daily basis, the people on your team interact with your customers, your vendor and your partners. They are the flesh and blood difference between you and your competition. They are the heartbeat, the pulse of your brand.

Why exclude them?

Why would you expect your team to execute the how if they don’t know their why?

Make your team not only aware of upcoming marketing initiatives – make them a part of everything by giving them the inside scoop. Share what you have planned, what’s coming up and why. Make sure they know everything they need to know to effectively communicate and activate your brand promise and how they can be a part of it all.

Be honest – let them know that you know they are the difference between success and failure of what’s about to happen. That is the power they hold in their hands, their headsets and their hearts. Engage them and they will help you with your potential clients and customers.

Think about it… whenever something comes from the inside, it’s stronger. If you don’t believe me, then answer me this – what’s stronger – intrinsic or extrinsic motivation?

It’s what’s the inside that counts. Make sure your team is on the inside with you.

I took the lumps – you can just take the lesson.

Want to know more about internal marketing? Contact me, Jack Henke, at jhenke@henkeinc.com.