The Internal Goal of Marketing


John Fraim

For too many years, the profession of marketing has concerned itself with external rather than internal goals. By this we mean that it always made a distinction between the business and the outside world. Competitors were in the outside world and marketing was all about positioning against this outside world whether it was from Bruce Henderson and the Boston Consulting Group’s matrixes or Harvard’s Michael Porter and his diagrams of industries.

The marketing profession is pulled along like all professions today of smaller and smaller pieces of information into more and more specialized areas.

What if it might be started from a reverse mirror image of its external perspective and adopted an internal one? For example, rather than having a distinction between the internal and external world of business, marketing only concerns itself with the internal world. The world of an organization. A particular community at a particular time.

Marketing is made to current members of the organization in various attempts. Increase in participation is the key activity desired by the leading internal marketing organizations. It can be done through various channels in the modern business environment. Employees, associates, partners are the real market out there for one’s product.

One thinks of the modern Silicon Valley giants as easy-going organizations. Yet they are all organizations that know more about their employees than any other organizations in history.

But just because I suggest an internal (rather than external) goal of marketing, don’t think I’ve given up ideas like competitors. They are no longer in the outside world of the company. In brands hundreds, thousands of miles away. They are within the organization itself. Competition is always nearby. Only the businesses successful and savvy know competition is nearby. Within a community rather than without one.

All power is within one’s community.

As well as all threats.

The president of an organization (or nation) is the chief internal marketing person of a particular community. There are criteria and ways to score the president’s effectiveness. One way might be by increase of internal communication within the organization. Measured in various ways. Another way might be employee turnover in the organization. Or even community.

I think an interesting study would be comparing a “loyalty” or “turnover” ratios of staffs within the White House and its various administrations over history. From this, a rating for Presidents as good or bad internal marketers to their community. What presidents had the greatest turnover in their staffs might be an indication of internal marketing the White House by past Presidents. There are various ways of measurement.

Just as modern marketing as specified ways to measure the success of external marketing, there are methods to measure the success of internal marketing. A business theory, company, marketing strategy, book, short story, screenplay based around this idea would be interesting.

Not necessarily creating something. But rather finding (discovering) something already in vibrant operation.

As Orson Welles once said, we return you to your regular broadcasting.


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