As marketers, we are taught early on in our marketing careers to clearly identify our target audience in order to offer the most effective message. For example, what are the demographics of details about the group we are trying to reach? Psychographics? Personas? Ability to pay? Are there conditions that may predict future needs for related services? Sometimes, it feels as though we can identify an endless array of external audiences.
But there’s another audience that’s critical to remember – your internal audience. The fellow employees of your healthcare system may be your most important target market.
Why is Your Internal Audience So Important?
Before externally launching any marketing campaign, there are a few reasons to make sure your internal audience sees the message first.
- Knowledge is Power
Let’s say big plans were being made within your family, like an outing to a Brewer game. But you hear about the plans from an acquaintance at the grocery store. You may be annoyed that your family members didn’t share the news with you first. It may not be exactly the same, but when employees hear big news about your healthcare system when they are out around town, and not at work, it can be disheartening. Give your fellow employees the inside scoop! Give them the power to say, “My workplace is doing great things.”
- Employees are Ambassadors
Members of your internal audience are built-in word-of-mouth ambassadors for your healthcare system. When your fellow employees have the low-down on the new goings-on, they are empowered to spread the word. How many times are we asked in conversation, “What’s new at work?” Now they have something to share with friends and family.
Another way employees can spread the word is through sharing of social medial posts. Shares are a great way to spread your message, so be sure to encourage fellow employees to like your social media channels and share often.
- Employees are Potential Patients
Not only are your fellow employees built in ambassadors, they’re also built in patients. Informing your internal audience of new providers and services, or reminding them of existing ones, is a great way to let them know about care they may need.
Spreading the Word
- Leverage Your Marketing Plan
Build you internal audience into the discipline of creating each and every marketing plan, right from the start. When you include this target audience, timing and message channel right in your plan, you surely won’t forget.
- Communication Channels
The specific strategy might vary from plan to plan, but there are some common channels that can be considered to communicate with fellow employees in your system. And almost without fail, they are free!
- Articles or interviews on an employee intranet
- Employee newsletter
- Regular system-wide employee meetings (perhaps monthly or quarterly)
- Manager or Administration meetings
- All-staff email messages
- Managers share at department meetings or huddles
- Postings in internal break rooms
Give it a try. You might find that engagement with (and from) your fellow employees is one of your most effective underutilized asset.
Board Member, Wisconsin Healthcare Public Relations & Marketing Society
Manager, Marketing & Public Relations, Vernon Memorial Healthcare