Why Employees Resist Marketing: What to Do About It

As discussed in my last post, there’s no getting around the reality that all employees are marketers in the sense that they all impact the brand.

The challenge for marketers involves managing this “expanded” marketing staff when you have no authority over them. Specifically, how do you overcome resistance to marketing when, in truth, it creates extra work for employees? Here’s what I recommend.

Getting ready

Before launching any marketing initiative, you need to:

  • share the rationale behind your marketing programs, including communicating what you’re trying to do & why; i.e., no sugar-coating or BS allowed
  • align marketing efforts with the big strategic picture to send the message “we’re all in this together”
  • get employee input … and be sensitive & responsive to how their work will be affected by marketing
  • provide the appropriate training (and perhaps incentives) so staff can effectively support marketing’s efforts.

While underway

Once your marketing program is implemented, you can’t just walk away. As part of your monitoring efforts:

  • stay in touch with what employees need to keep the momentum going
  • share the program’s success and any interim fine-tuning that needs to be done (and why)
  • recognize & reinforce employee support of the program.

And when all is said and done

  • share the final results, including what worked & why … what didn’t work & why … (another reason to stay in touch with employees, as previously mentioned)
  • solicit employee feedback on ways to improve future initiatives
  • acknowledge employee efforts and their collective contribution to serving customers in support of corporate strategy, not just marketing.

It’s all about marketing to non-marketing employees – another critical aspect of internal marketing.

3 Comments

  • david tugume July 6, 2009 Reply

    Nice article here.
    let me try this out. will get abck to you in some months of implementation.hope it works.
    david,entebbe,uganda.

  • Sybil December 13, 2006 Reply

    Good question, Jill. I don’t have a specific example, however, because the appropriate incentive will depend on what you’re trying to do regarding your specific marketing goals. Although I will advocate that if a company is using small giveaways or promotional items for customers in a marketing campaign, that it also distribute them to employees. Some firms will develop special marcomm materials to involve staff (“Ask Me” buttons or ribbons) or host a fun campaign kick-off event for employees to rally the troops. Beyond any specific giveway or event, the best incentive is listening & responding – taking time to share what’s going on and getting staff input & involvement.

  • jill November 30, 2006 Reply

    Hi, Sybil,
    Thanks for this advice! Do you have examples of recognition and/or incentive programs that have worked well in gaining employee buy-in?

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