Far too often businesses of all sizes leave the official job of marketing to, well, the marketing department, which can also be known as the owner of the business or top sales person turned into the marketing person. But, here’s a little flash – anyone associated with your business that comes into contact with a prospect or customer is performing a marketing function. So the question is – are they prepared to carry out that function well?

I believe that one of the smartest things any business can do is create and perform official marketing training for everyone in the business. This goes for delivery people, administrative people and finance related people (especially finance related people)

Here’s an example of a marketing training program:

Once a quarter at a minimum (and with every new hire) conduct an all hands brand meeting.

This internal seminar can and should include training and examples on things like

  • Why you named your company what we did – attach this to your personal story
  • What colors, images, fonts are official and why – create a simple style manual of standards
  • Your core marketing message – and why – help everyone connect their position to the message
  • The way you want the brand to be thought of in the market – your goal, your one word of association
  • Benefits of your products and services – demo them and present them just like you would to a customer
  • Description of your ideal customer – use photos and success stories of real customers
  • Your current lead generation activities – show off ads, run radio spots – sell them on the campaign
  • Your lead conversion process – everyone should know the next step when a prospect calls
  • Key marketing metrics – sales generated, leads generated, referrals generated, PR generated
  • Your marketing calendar – show everyone you have a plan for the future

In addition, I would help everyone write or rewrite some aspect of their position to include a direct relationship to the marketing function they perform. An administrative person who primarily answers the phone might have the directive to answer the phone and route calls to the proper person, but in a marketing world that person’s directive is to answer the phone and act as the very first impression and representation of the brand. Now, could that change that person’s role in a powerful way, I’ve seen it happen.

Then take it up a notch and create marketing scorecards for everyone. Simply list all the marketing related ways that every position in your organization can score marketing points throughout the day and turn it into a game. ie – asking for and getting a referral, turning a customer complaint into a win, writing a blog post, participating in a social network, sending a hand-written thank you note, giving a referral, making a contact at a Chamber event. Challenge everyone to score X amount of marketing points each week and create an award program as part of your marketing workshops.

Getting marketing understanding and buy in from your entire team makes them feel more empowered to act on behalf of the brand and better ambassadors wherever they encounter prospects and customers.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • Thanks John – this message can’t be said enough. I recently blogged about an experience with a local cable company, where the technicians in the field did poor marketing. And while he failed, I blame management for not creating an environment where even onsite technicians could make command decisions to better serve the customer. Thanks for the message!


  • Great points. I have been recommending that clients not cut back on their marketing endeauvors, but rather to find ways to expand thier marketing efforts. Being able to incoroprate marketing into your company’s core values just makes good sense. Being able to do so without significantly increasing your costs – or reducing your costs, is even better.


  • John Jantsch

    @Rick – great add-on – I didn’t even touch on the cost savings element of this strategy but it’s absolutely there. Particularly when you factor in that firms that get this idea experience far lower customer and employee turnover.

  • Great point John. I worked with a company launching a new product; they took the launch into a very different direction (for them) and their staff didn’t ‘get it’. So the internal buzz grew somewhat negative until the marketing director overhead some of it, and quickly worked to communicate (the what, when, where, why, how and who) and involve all staff in the new product launch. The launch was highly successful and from then on the marketing director made marketing part of everyone’s responsibility (the company eventually re-wrote all job descriptions to include aspects of marketing and selling).

  • Involving employees in marketing is so important and yet most organizations don’t do it. I think involving employees in marketing can make them feel like they are making a valuable contribution to the success of the business, which can be very empowering and rewarding.

  • John,

    Another great post. It hit me the same time I saw a post on B2B’s web site saying that nearly 50% of a company’s marketing budget was spent online. Internal communications/training like what you’ve described above didn’t even make the list.

    That didn’t surprise me, though. The research was done by a trade pub. I’m sure they didn’t even look or ask.

    So, why shouldn’t trade pubs put together a program to re-purpose their editorial and research resources to help add to the “all hands” sessions like you’ve described above? That’s the question I asked in this blog post at Brand Central Station.

    Thanks again for a great thought-starter of a post.

    Mike Bawden
    Brand Central Station

  • John,

    I could not agree with you more. My company actually has a technology answer to your statement that ‘marketing is everyone’s job.” We ‘wrap’ every external email from every employee with the corporate letterhead/marketing collateral – basically, elements of the web site. This interactive letterhead is embedded in the email and linked back to the site, all clicks are trackable.

    The point is, the email is going to be sent anyway. We have tracked sales for clients back to people that are not in the marketing/sales department. Sorry for the heavy plug.

    Dave Kustin

  • I cannot agree with you more. And as you said measure, because people perfrom on how they are measured. Just having a scorecard and an “X” in box will make a difference.

    But often wonder why more people in the organization are not included in the marketing function. Focus groups should include other departments and customers. I always was amazed at how individuals in an organization responded to a customer needs after meeting them. They took so much more interest in the job. And even mentioning the customer by name.

    It is interesting that how important the customer becomes in tough times.

  • John, great reminder to all businesses here. When I first broke into marketing, the company I worked for went over almost this exact process every week at our meetings. The reason? If marketing wasn’t at the core of everyone’s job function, then we risked losing business. Employees loved it because they all felt more important as a vital cog in the growth of the business.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  • Great post because you offer some practical steps about implementing a part of branding / marketing (employees as a core part of a brand) that is not easy at all.

  • An informed and engaged employee does more WOM good in casual contact than can be measured. Besides the marketing gain, the engaged employee performs better regardless of his assignment.

  • If more companies did this then all marketing people would get a better reputation. I coach small businesses about the difference between internal and external marketing efforts and many times the internal marketing are much more critical. If everyone is not on-board with the business marketing message, branding, and goals then an infinite budget on external promotional campaigns can’t overcome it.


  • The idea of every employees taking ownership for the success of the business they choose to work for is critical for the long term sustained prosperity of it. With all the job cuts and layoffs going on right now we all should be thankful we have a place to work for.

  • Good ideas for marketing. All the employees should bear marketing responsibilities in varying magnitudes. The post is much relevant to business executives.

  • Very, very pertinent post John! This is especially true for for small to medium sized enterprises, where every penny and every lead is worth gold, especially in todays economic atmosphere.

    Issuing all staff members with quality business cards is something I feel is very important, and then to incentivise people to market and promote the business when out and about.

    A thank you gift voucher or cash incentive is something that people will always appreciate, and it will inspire them to be ambassadors for your enterprise.

  • I am in a technical position at my job, but my company encourages everybody to constantly try to win work for us. We are always trying to earn new work and positively market even though it is not our official job title.

  • Too often companies overlook the most obvious. In my work I encourage clients to put their own, internal audience in the center of the target audience. If they can’t get the message, no one will.

    btw, I blogged about this post: