internal marketing

Unlocking the Power of Internal Marketing with Stacey Danheiser, Shake Marketing

To be an effective health care technology marketer, you must be well-versed in crafting compelling campaigns, engaging with external audiences, and driving growth for your organization. However, have you ever considered the importance of internal marketing?

In this episode of the Health Tech Marketing Show, guest Stacey Danheiser, founder of Shake Marketing, shared valuable insights on how marketing leaders can elevate their influence and credibility within their organizations through effective internal marketing strategies.

Before founding Shake Marketing Group, Stacey held leadership roles in marketing at Fortune 500 companies. Stacey also leads the Ascend B2B marketing leadership accelerator, an immersive 8-week mentorship program designed to empower B2B marketers to build credibility with the C-suite.  She is the best-selling author of “Look Inside: The Real Reason You’re Not Winning the Marketing Game” and a co-author of “Value-ology” and “Stand Out Marketing.”

So, What is Internal Marketing?

Internal marketing is the process of treating your internal stakeholders as customers who need to be educated and marketed to. This includes everyone from the C-suite to sales, product, and customer success teams. By engaging in internal marketing, you can ensure that your organization understands the value of marketing and its role in driving business success.

Internal Marketing is Even More Important in B2B

One of the key differences between B2C and B2B marketing is the level of investment and understanding of marketing’s value. B2C companies often have larger marketing budgets and a better grasp of how marketing contributes to the bottom line. In contrast, many B2B companies view marketing as a support function rather than a strategic driver of growth. This is especially true in health tech.  As a B2B marketing leader, it’s crucial to educate your organization on the importance of marketing and demonstrate how it can directly impact revenue and customer acquisition.

So, how do you master internal marketing? First, start with you. What are the key things you need to be good at?

Three Foundational Competencies for Marketing Leaders

According to Stacey, to be an effective marketing leader. There are three foundational competencies you must develop. On the surface, they seem pretty obvious, but it’s easy to lose track of these in a world where the urgent crowds out the important, where a million requests bombard you.

If you have been in a more tactical role and you are now in a more strategic role with influence over the C-Suite, mastering these competencies will position you to succeed.

1. Understanding the Role and Perception of Marketing

The first fundamental is understanding how your organization perceives marketing and its role. This can vary greatly from company to company. Some may view marketing as a strategic function that sets the direction for the business, while others may see it as a purely tactical support role. To gain clarity, consider conducting an anonymous survey or having one-on-one conversations with key stakeholders. Ask questions like, “What do you believe the primary role of marketing is within our organization?” and “On a scale of 1-10, how well do you think our marketing team is executing against this role?” By gathering this feedback, you can identify gaps in understanding and begin to shape your company’s marketing perception.

These are awkward questions to ask, but if you don’t feel you have a handle on this how do you know if what you are doing is what’s expected?

2. Knowing Your Customers Through Research and Insights

The second competency is deeply understanding your customers through research and insights. In B2B marketing, it’s common to rely solely on the sales team for customer knowledge. However, this can be problematic as salespeople are focused on short-term goals and closing deals, not necessarily on gathering deep customer insights. As a marketing leader, it’s essential to be seen as the expert in this.

Do you have a budget for conducting your own customer research? If not, please try to put one in for next year. More on this below.

By becoming the expert on your customers, you will create more effective marketing strategies and be seen as the “go-to” person with your internal stakeholders.

3. Knowing the Business

The third competency is having a deep understanding of your business. This includes knowing your company’s revenue targets, profit margins, competitive landscape, and industry trends. To develop this knowledge, start by building relationships with your finance team. Ask them to explain key metrics and what drives the business. Attend industry conferences and read trade publications to stay informed about market trends and competitor activities. By demonstrating a strong grasp of the business, you’ll be better equipped to make strategic marketing decisions and communicate the value of marketing to your organization.

Customer Insights Build Credibility and Influence

Building credibility and influence within your organization is crucial to your success as a marketing leader. One of the most effective ways to do this is by becoming the go-to expert on customer insights. When your colleagues see you as a person who deeply understands the customer and can provide valuable guidance on how to serve them better, your influence grows.

Regularly share customer insights and success stories with your organization to build credibility. Highlight how marketing initiatives directly impact customer acquisition, retention, and satisfaction. Collaborate with other departments, such as product and sales, to ensure that customer insights are informing their strategies and decision-making.

Own Customer Research

Investing in customer research is one of the most effective ways to elevate your marketing and gain influence within your organization. In B2B, it’s not uncommon for marketing budgets to lack dedicated funds for research. However, by advocating for and conducting regular customer research, you can uncover valuable insights that inform not just marketing but also product development, sales, and customer success strategies.

When conducting customer research, consider using a third-party firm to ensure objectivity and expertise in crafting questions and analyzing results. Share your findings with key stakeholders across the organization, highlighting how the insights can be applied to improve customer experiences and drive business growth. By owning customer research, you position marketing as a strategic function that deeply understands the market and can guide the company’s direction.

Create an Internal Marketing Plan

To effectively engage in internal marketing, create a formal plan that outlines your goals, activities, and progress. This plan should include regular communications with your organization, such as weekly email updates, monthly presentations to the leadership team, and quarterly all-hands meetings.

In your communications, showcase how marketing contributes to the organization’s goals. Share metrics that demonstrate the impact of your campaigns on lead generation, customer acquisition, and revenue growth. Celebrate successes and openly discuss challenges, positioning marketing as a transparent and accountable function.

Align Marketing to the Customer Lifecycle

So you have mastered these fundamentals, now what?

To take it to the next level, focus on aligning your team’s structure and metrics to the full customer lifecycle, not just awareness and demand generation. This means having dedicated resources for onboarding, retention, upselling, and advocacy.

Consider assigning team members to specific stages of the customer journey and setting metrics that reflect the desired outcomes for each stage. For example, in the onboarding phase, track how quickly new customers are getting up and running with your product and the percentage who complete key milestones. Monitor customer satisfaction scores and churn rates for retention and develop targeted campaigns to keep customers engaged and successful.

By aligning marketing to the full customer lifecycle, you demonstrate the function’s value beyond just top-of-funnel activities and position your team as a critical driver of customer success and long-term growth.

Invest in Personal Growth

Finally, as a marketing leader, it’s essential to invest in your own growth and development. This means proactively building your business acumen and customer insight skills. Attend industry conferences, read business books and publications, and seek mentorship from experienced leaders within your organization or network.

Consider setting aside dedicated time each week for learning and development activities. This could include taking an online course, attending a webinar, or meeting with a colleague in another department to gain insights into their role and challenges.

By continuously expanding your knowledge and skills, you’ll be better equipped to lead your team, make strategic decisions, and communicate the value of marketing to your organization.

Elevate Your Influence and Credibility

Internal marketing is a powerful tool for health care technology marketing leaders looking to elevate their influence and credibility within their organizations. By developing the three foundational competencies of understanding marketing’s role, knowing your customers, and knowing your business, you can position marketing as a strategic function that drives growth and success.

Investing in customer research, building credibility through insight sharing, creating an internal marketing plan, aligning your team to the customer lifecycle, and investing in your growth are all key strategies for effective internal marketing.

By implementing these strategies, you can unlock the full potential of your marketing team and demonstrate the critical role marketing plays in driving business success. As you embark on your internal marketing journey, remember that it’s an ongoing process that requires dedication, communication, and a willingness to continuously learn and adapt.

With a strong internal marketing approach, you’ll be well-positioned to lead your team and organization to new heights and make a lasting impact in the health care technology industry.

And finally

See how you stack-up with Stacey’s scorecard.

internal marketing scorecard

Check it out. And here’s a link to Stacey’s website

Posted by Adam Turinas
Posted in Healthtech Marketing Show on March 19, 2024

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About the Author Adam Turinas

Hi, I am Adam Turinas, Health Launchpad's founder. I am passionate about helping healthtech firms succeed through better sales and marketing. I have hard-earned experience in healthcare technolgy as I started two healthcare businesses in the US, the first with zero healthcare experience. We sold the second business to a strategic buyer seven years later. Over 9 years building a healhtech businesses, I have learned how to sell and market effectively to healthcare organizations. Prior to this, I spent two decades in digital marketing across healthcare and other consumer industries where I sold over $100 million in products and services to corporations and healthcare orgs. I would love to talk with you. You can book a call with me on the right hand side. Best Adam (This is page 0 of many)Enter your text here...