The Best Performing Marketing Channel That No One Ever Talks About

It all started with a tweet from Tom Wentworth, the CMO at RapidMiner. Here’s what he said that caught my attention:

In other words, if you don’t care about internal marketing, you may be missing a golden opportunity.

Internal marketing is really important at Drift, but that’s not common for most companies. In general, I find that people don’t appreciate it or think about it enough. But if you have a goal of getting people fired up internally about what you’re working on, it’ll change how you do marketing, and how it’s viewed outside of the marketing team.

But wait, you say — what exactly is internal marketing? Let me explain.

Defining Internal Marketing

One out of every few blog articles in the marketing world is about marketing & sales alignment or about how people don’t understand marketing.  Steven Pressfield even wrote a book called Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t.  

Here’s a blind spot for marketers: Not everybody gets marketing.

Or, even look at it this way: Nobody gets marketing and nobody cares about what you’re doing.

That’s why you have to make them care and demonstrate the value of what you’re doing every day.

For example, I used to work at a PR agency.

I learned early on that I always had to be merchandising my work. Our clients were really busy and we would get a 30-minute phone call maybe once per week with each one. That phone call usually was with someone who was really distracted on the other line — half checking their email and not paying attention to anything I was saying.

Our agency had to always be demonstrating our value in those 30-minute phone calls.  We had to be showing our work.  Our value always had to be at the top of our client’s mind. If not, out contracts wouldn’t get renewed.

We had to proactively be ahead of our clients.

“Hey, we saw this article and here’s how we’re responding.”

“Here’s some content on something we saw you tweet about.”

We didn’t sit on our heels.

When I first started at Drift, I was the only marketer.  It was mostly engineers and designers at the time.

We started something called “Show & Tell” where we would show the rest of the team what we were working on.  One of the first things I did was write a blog article and craft some tweets. Just saying that by itself is pretty boring and doesn’t demonstrate the value behind that content.

I could have just stated what I did and received some applause, but I instead chose to tell the story behind why I did what I did.  I showed how people do business today and it starts with engaging content. Not just, “We launched a blog,” but “Here’s why launching a blog matters.”

To this day, we still show our work each day at Drift, and at Show & Tell each week.

Amplifying Your Message

Show & Tell at Drift is even more important today with over 130 employees. The more people are here, the more we can amplify our message internally, and then externally.

The more a company grows, the more channels exist to push out the message.

But if you can’t get people bought into your mission internally, there’s no way your potential customers will buy into what you’re doing externally.

I care a lot about internal marketing. I’m always thinking about how I can get people fired up. And I use internal marketing to get the story right in house before we send out the message to our customers. With our team internally, I gut-check stuff by asking myself: if the message stayed the same as it is right now, would people care?

As marketers, if we demonstrate why we’re doing something and why it matters, we get people excited about what we’re doing.  

“Every single person’s job at Drift is marketing.” – Dave Gerhardt

Sales people will sell the product better. The product team will get excited about building more features and improving the existing product. When you market something internally first, there’s a domino effect.

And while it’s easier said than done, when you get it right, you’ll be surprised how many more marketing wins you’ll have.

One Actionable Thing

So here’s your mission for this week: try to do a better job showing your broader team what you’re doing.

A great way you can start to do that is by buying the team lunch. Take them out for a lunch and learn, or have one in your office, and show them what marketing does. Introduce the whole marketing team one by one and demonstrate what they do.

More people will be bought in than ever before. You won’t be able to give your team content fast enough to promote. They’ll be knocking down your door asking what is coming next because they’re so excited about what you’re working on.

And that’s a good problem to have.


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