Alberta Newspaper Group


Biz Chamber

EVERY FEW MONTHS, I have been teaching a program on Understanding Markets and Your Competitive Space as part of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Boots to Business program. In addition, I have been taking university courses on marketing myself to improve my own skills. During both of those classes, I often wish I could share all I’m learning and teaching with the Chamber members and Yuma business community. While I can’t share everything covered in these classes, one thing I felt it was important to share is a very highly regarded “new P” of Marketing. Anyone who has been in sales or marketing long enough has heard of the old 4 Ps of marketing – Price, Product, Promotion, and Place. With the advent of new types of advertising and more social and service awareness by consumers, however, those guidelines are missing one very important component – PEOPLE. People are the very cornerstone of all your marketing efforts. I’m sure you’re already considering your customers or potential customers in your marketing efforts, but when was the last time you paid attention to your internal marketing? All the advertising in the world isn’t going to have a major impact unless your employees feel connected to your company and your product or service. Some of the most successful businessmen agree employees are key to success. Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, states, “Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group, has been quoted as saying, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” Unfortunately, most employees in the U.S. don’t feel that important company connection. A recent Gallup poll showed that employee engagement dropped in the U.S. for the first time in a decade in 2021. According to that poll, only 34% of American workers are actively engaged with their company and 16% are actually actively disengaged. This could be having an impact on your marketing efforts and your bottom line. If your employees feel passionate about or connected to your business and if they feel valued by management, that will show in their interactions with your customers likely earning you repeat business and referrals. Southwest Airlines is a great example. They are consistently listed as a company with exceptional customer service. What is the advice of their Co-Founder and Former CEO Herb Kelleher? “Your employees come first. And if you treat your employees right, guess what? Your customers come back.” Employees who don’t feel engaged are likely to have the opposite effect, however. In fact, there are worse things for your business than employee turnover; it’s an employee who doesn’t care – one who is doing just enough to not get fired, but not enough to retain customers. I have witnessed both types of employees in local businesses. I’ve had interactions with employees that have made me want to visit that business over and over. They just made me feel like I was important to them. Unfortunately, I’ve also had interactions where I could tell the employee didn’t care about me, my transaction, or the business they were in. At the risk of sounding like the former teacher I am, I’m ending this article with a homework assignment for all of our local business owners and managers. Make employee engagement within your company a priority. Your customers and your bottom line will thank you for it.