Internal Marketing (IM) Report


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Internal marketing, culture and IM @ Manchester United

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Internal Marketing (IM) Report

  1. 1. BM399 Investigative Study S0606546 What role does ‘Internal Marketing’ have to play in an Organisation Adopting The Marketing Concept? What is Internal Marketing (IM)? Organisations nowadays are operating within an increasingly competitive and complex market, so awareness, or ‘market sensing’ Day, R (1992, pg213) cited by Varey is important. Dennis (1995 pg3), is cited by Chuan as seeing the need for companies in the modern era to adopt a more ‘strategic holistic marketing approach’, but as Kotler, P, (2006, pg17) states, ‘development and design as part of broad integrated approaches must be used before any implementation can take place’. The general consensus could therefore be that internal marketing (IM) needs to look at a general holistic approach to be able to assess ‘key or core capabilities and performances’ of internal (micro) stakeholders (employees) before any external (macro) marketing can take place. Internal marketing could therefore be viewed as the overlap between marketing management and human resource management, Berry & Parasuraman (1992, pg3) was cited by Kale as "attracting, developing, motivating, and retaining qualified employees through job products that satisfy their needs"; while Chuan cites Tansuhaj et al. (1988 pg3) explaining that IM involves ‘recruitment, retention, incentives, training and communication’. Bearing this in mind, Kale cited Hales & Mecrate-Butcher’s, (1994 pg3) as stating an approach that Internal marketing’s role is seen to be more 'customer-focused as well as employee focused’, meaning there is an importance of putting IM practice into the best use to give best competitive advantage. The holistic approach to internal marketing is applicable and applied within appendix a. 1
  2. 2. BM399 Investigative Study S0606546 Are Employees as Internal Customers the Key to Success? An argument of IM’s importance could be that a competitive advantage can only be possible with better recruitment and training than competitors, along with motivated internal stakeholders who are able to provide a service or product to the best of their ability. There are some that think that if the employees at a company like the product or service that their company provides then the customers will also love it. An internal use of the marketing mix has been observed by Keller citing Rafiq & Ahmed (1993, pg4) viewing price as the cost that an employee pays for any particular knowledge gained, promotion as the knowledge or skills of the employee, process as the mechanisms that drive the employee and place as the local environment. This model constructed by Pervaiz looks at three basic levels with this internal marketing mix with the positioning stage (action) at the third level, the second level at (path) segmentation stage and the first level as the product (direction) stage. This is most probably the most definitive model in terms of constructing an argument for justifying internal marketing as it follows a clear and concise channel of information sets flowing through just three levels. A conflicting view however observed by Keller, citing Foreman & Money (1995, pg4) suggesting utilising only three factors instead that are unique to representing internal marketing efforts, which are to ‘develop employees, reward employees, and provide employees with a corporate vision’. This conflicts as it does not view the marketing process side but is more HR and ‘employee focused’. The situation with IM is such that it is something, which an employee has to adapt to because of its strategic or holistic approach. The argument made by Foreman & Money tends to provoke a more thorough view of the employee perspective, 2
  3. 3. BM399 Investigative Study S0606546 whereas Rafiq & Ahmed see the system from a more managerial perspective. The current relationship between marketing and human resources is reflected from the statement, citing Mercer (1992, 217) by Varey stating ‘the marketers role is a change agent, involving continuous training’; which is evident in any market, with unpredictability and changes involved. The linkage is made from identifying competition and adapting employee capabilities through internal training to thwart the risk of market competition. The importance of these employees is seen by Keller, citing Berry (1981, pg2) who suggests that believing the task of IM is viewing ‘jobs as products and employees as customers’ reflects the need for employees to remain motivated; whether through incentive schemes or this continuous training. Another view of the strengths of IM could be one taken by Varey, R (2002, pg 213), stating that ‘in service environments, happy customers cannot be possible with unhappy employees’. This seems an obvious statement, but measuring employee satisfaction can often vary, being a tough assignment, especially in an organisation with unstable operations and poor culture. A wheel of HR success relating culture in service marketing can be seen in appendix b. This wheel is applicable and useful for organisations that wish to improve HR practice for an improved marketing performance. There are arguments by Mudie, P (1980,pg2) who cites Arndt stating that through “technology of influence”, marketing has been conceptualised as a “one- way control process, in which sellers act and buyers react”. This suggests that IM’s approach of the metaphor of ‘customer as king’ is mainly internal, not looking enough at what the external customers really want, whereas Mudie (2000, pg2) also cites Ballantyne stating that “no agreed internal conceptual framework seems to exist’’. Bearing these points in mind, IM therefore might be viewed as being in its infancy stage, with room to develop further, and (as seen by some) there is a need for more 3
  4. 4. BM399 Investigative Study S0606546 academic substantiation to argue that IM has a place within an organisation. A point constructing this argument could be one made by Mudie citing Rafiq & Ahmed (1993, pg9) stating that ‘compelling arguments remain over the legitimacy of the employee as a customer’. To aim at dispelling any disagreement over the legitimacy over the employee’s knowledge as a customer, Rafiq & Ahmed (1993, pg10) suggest employees must have authenticity, identity, a view on aesthetics, emotions, be trust worthy, give power to the customer, be trustful and predict the external customers every move. With these views in mind, there is more of a case for internal marketing to be taken seriously within organisations. Internal Marketing’s link with Total Quality Management and Relationship Management Through every stage of IM development there always needs to be a broad approach to the level of quality from the employee’s promise of quality to the quality level of the provided product or service to the consumer. IM according to Barnes, R et al (who cites Zeithaml & Bitner, pg3) hinges on the assumption that employee and customer satisfaction is linked so to live up to the expectation of linking internal quality with service quality TQM has to be of the highest level and, as Barnes, R et al, (1990,pg3) cites Reicheld & Sasser quoting TQM ‘betters the chance of customer retention’. Quality management can derive from the level of service quality provided, and the level of understanding that the internal system has in terms of relationship management with the target market trends. Companies can never afford to lose touch with research and development as it enables an insight and knowledge into external behaviours, trends and preferences. With a high level of quality management within an organisation, there is a higher chance of retaining customers. 4
  5. 5. BM399 Investigative Study S0606546 An example of good customer retention could be at a hotel for example where a customer walks into the foyer for the first time and gathers first impressions through décor, how smartly dressed the staff are, and the level of the employees autonomy, initiative and communication levels. Intangible features are also as important therefore as the tangible features, with TQM as seen by Morris et al. (1999, pg2) (cited by Barnes, R et al) as ‘congruent with relationship marketing’ and meeting customer demands not just through product feature, but also through interacting and communicating (relating) to the customer proficiently. This is a casing point that when training staff internally in marketing, staff have to be made aware of relationship and quality management and to be able to deliver a service or product to the customer at their highest level to maximise profit potential for the organisation and viewing retention as an ‘added value’ process. An important factor to remember however is relating to the employees as customers within the IM function, meaning that it would become increasingly difficult for employees to carry out TQM and relationship management without any real rewards or incentives for their efforts. The conception of IM viewing the employees as internal customers and marketing as internal before it can be promised externally can often be dangerous, especially in companies with a large level of change, adaptation or instability. The approach taken by Gronroos (1994, pg3) cited by Barnes, R et al views companies as having to be certain when training staff in TQM and relationship management that the employees have the necessary skills, abilities, tools and motivation in order to deliver successfully. External satisfaction is not seen as being attainable before these factors within IM become highlighted and implemented. A business model implementing illustrating the linkage is shown in appendix c. 5
  6. 6. BM399 Investigative Study S0606546 Culture Culture is something, which is often seen as imperative to the success of operations, a view that is shared by Schein (1985, pg3) whom Chuan & Wen-Jung cites viewing culture as ‘the system of meaning in an organisation’. It is very much the image that the company portrays to the customer or external environment as a purchase is made, meaning it is the means to productivity within IM; which is a view shared by Sinkula et al (1994, pg7), (cited by Ballantyne, D) however, Pervaiz, A et al (2003, pg6) argues that IM must first examine the ‘relationship of employees to themselves, to other people, to the organisation and the world they live in’. Once organisations have the ability for realising and expanding upon employee capabilities, knowledge and motivation then other internal factors will benefit according to Pervaiz, A (2003, pg6), who suggests that IM is not just employee focused, it can also benefit a collectivist approach, enabling more corporate identity and more of a ‘collective mind’ within an organisation. An argument can also be made that internal marketing is not a sole feature of a holistic approach (as seen in appendix a), as there are other factors, which contribute to an improved corporate picture. If senior management appreciate IM’s role then culture will gradually follow suit, with more investment in this function, in turn, leading to higher individual creativity and organisational success. Evidence to substantiate this point could be taken from Chuan, L & Wen- Jung, C citing Gronroos (1990, pg4) suggesting that ‘internal marketing can change employees attitude and behaviours’ because of the wider range of initiative which IM enables compared to conventional marketing, which often rushes the external delivery of a product or service. This factor of having a good internal atmosphere is taken by 6
  7. 7. BM399 Investigative Study S0606546 Gronroos (2000, pg2), who argues strongly that ‘without well-functioning internal relationships, external relationships cannot develop successfully’. This point subsequently makes the point that IM is not only in place to create harmonisation and a better culture just within just the marketing department, but on a broader organisational scale. Culture is seen as deriving from both internal and external factors, so in an organisation suffering from a high level of competition or, as Willmott, (1993, pg5) states (cited by Kelemen, M et al), ‘emotional aspects of an organisation’ such as poor morale, a higher level of IM implementation could benefit relations. The problem could also come from an argument made by Bowel & Schneider cited by Varey, R (pg222) that management ‘often have problems of motivating employees and customers’, which could mean that for companies struggling with culture or productivity the IM process could have the answer to improvements. With a view to globalisation and the broader market where some companies operate, culture needs to be handled with great knowledge and understanding with a view that many other countries societies behave differently. In Europe with the formation of the European Union, trade barriers have been lifted and there is freedom of movement between countries and markets, enabling growth markets to expand to different countries. The view is that with a large global firm, culture becomes more complicated the larger the company because of the more varied external responses, which makes it even more of an imperative for IM departments to train employees appropriately, with attributes enabling regional, cultural awareness on top of knowledge. 7
  8. 8. BM399 Investigative Study S0606546 Internal Marketing at Manchester United Internal Marketing is already proving to be working within Manchester United football club according to Precision Marketing (2005, pg1) with the football club aiming to increase internal retention and loyalty. The campaign has launched a campaign looking at the ‘core’ missions and values of the organisation by using a ‘sticker book’ highlighting these values throughout the entire organisation with an aim to increase internal awareness of the companies stature, position, other departments and situation (both past and present). Its overall aim is to close the divide within different operations or departments of its organisation by using the slogan ‘whatever your level, we’re one big team’. Statements such as these could be examples for other companies to follow to bridge gaps between departments. Having such an informal or simplistic internal system implemented through use of a ‘sticker book’ would give employees ‘vital insider knowledge’ on the company which can only be an advantage to all features of IM, mainly culture, employee productivity and relationship management between management to employee. One conflicting view could be however that, could a whole perspective on internal culture within an organisation be expressed within just a ‘sticker book’, or would more formal meetings or increased direct interaction through employees and management benefit productivity even further. The overall view on Manchester United’s implementation of the ‘sticker book’ would be that it is a unique idea, using what would typically be given to external customers to it’s internal stakeholders (creating increased employee feelings, or sense of belonging), however this can only be seen as the starting point towards a more thorough IM awareness scheme for its employees. 8
  9. 9. BM399 Investigative Study S0606546 Internal Branding & Advertising The process of brand management and development never halts, with Papasolomou, I (2006, pg4) stating that branding is particularly important as ‘people choose the brands in the same way they choose friends’; and with competition always pushing boundaries and working on being innovative with new ideas, there is therefore a big emphasis on building reputation and trust. There are arguments that huge sporting organisational entities such as Manchester United football club are owned entirely by the Glazer family, but, as Reed, D (2006, pg 1) argues ‘it is the fans that own the club as they are the customers who own the brand’. This is true of most companies, who have to view the metaphor ‘customer as king’ as pertinent to benefiting relationship management. It is important also according to Harris & de Chernatony (2001, pg3), (cited by Berthon, P to consider how ‘employees values and behaviours can be aligned with a brand’s desired values’, so organisations have to assess employees through induction and training and development programmes, the company’s mission statement, and how the brand should be delivered to the customer. With an emphasis on external customer value always at the forefront of internal marketing, the internal customers i.e. employees have to create a process of constructive ideas, activities and performances before a service or product can be externally marketed. A typical model to relate the value process of an organisation could be Michael Porter’s Generic Value Chain (appendix d). The model is applicable internally because of its view of ‘market sensing’ R&D, defining target markets, customer relationship management while also touching on time management. It can also be related to an internal supply chain, and 9
  10. 10. BM399 Investigative Study S0606546 transformed toward a company supply chain involving deliverers and distributors in the process. Advertising often impacts employees whose views are often left out of the equation whereas Berry (1981, pg2) is cited by Berthon, P et al suggesting there should be more of a consultation with internal customers before any model for example AIDA, attention interest desire and action (which is a typical prediction model relating to external customers) can be constructed. Along with AIDA is DAGMAR (defining advertising goals for a measured advertising results). Employees are known to enjoy the ‘insider’s role’ stated within Berthon, P (1998, pg3) and usually want information before marketing communications deliver the advertisement to the external customer. Integration is mentioned as playing a ‘key role’ in holistic marketing as well as IM so making use of integrating departmental views before decisions are made could benefit a final verdict before action is taken. Even if general ‘relationship marketing’ (also part of a holistic approach) touches on the delivery to the external customer, it can still relate internally in terms of the channels used within an organisation. A breakdown or smoother flow of communication channels is often necessary, so that the emphasis on teamwork, and an improved bonding culture can be developed further. The overriding consensus from an IM perspective is to sell the brand to the employee before the external customer. There are limitations to branding and advertising internally, especially with IM being a fairly new concept within the business World, with also a lack of frameworks to substantiate a thorough argument on it place in business. Berthon, P et al cites Biel (1999, pg19) suggesting that other limitations viewed by are having cultural differences within the organisation, limiting brand development and progression. 10
  11. 11. BM399 Investigative Study S0606546 Internal Marketing Communication Communications is very much an integral part of IM and synonymous in every way with marketing by delivering the message to the end user about a product or service. It can also be seen as removing ‘control and command’ barriers put in place (to a certain extent) by senior management with an aim to becoming more democratic in terms of increasing the concept of ‘increased knowledge’ of the employees. Increasing the knowledge of employees in IM is seen as pertinent to organisational success, as it creates a greater awareness, expression of opinion while viewing the organisation according to Ackoff, (1998, pg226) cited by Varey, R as more of a ‘social system’. Employees, as stated previously could be the ‘key’ to success to an improved communication, however this depends on factors such as, for example incentives, either monetary or non-monetary or whether training or motivation is proficient. Often, employee motivation can be difficult to measure; so corporate managers have to be aware of theories such as Herzberg, F (1983), which commonly suggests that hygiene factors are factors such as working conditions, policy, salary but true motivators are really achievement, recognition and personal growth. This is important as a factor for matching rewards stated for employees to communicate better. The ultimate factor to whether communications can be improved is the management’s responsibility of making sure employees are motivated to succeed, communicating the best possible message about what the company has to offer. Organising a marketing organisation can often prove a tough task for companies, and this generally takes a lot of time to plan and implement. In some marketing organisations, as suggested by Kotler, P (2006, pg699) a Marketing Vice-President has to deal with conflicts 11
  12. 12. BM399 Investigative Study S0606546 between many functional departments below, which IM aims to dispel. Corporate entities should look more often at quelling disagreements by using some form of IM to adjoin any departments wherever possible, leading to increased harmonisation and improved communication with a flatter structure to work from. Internal Marketing’s Role within the Wider Organisation Many companies in the modern era are seeing the need for a shift towards market orientated integration of departments within an organisation as opposed to a mainly sales and product driven one. For this to be possible there would have to be a changed attitude towards putting external customers first, who should be at the forefront of organisational thinking through emphasising the need for the internal workforce to become stakeholders, so a better level of service quality can be delivered. With all departments seeing the value to an IM approach there might be more progress made with satisfying the external customers needs. This differentiates IM from standardised marketing, which doesn’t spend as much time focusing within the organisation and viewing the employees as internal customers. This could be a constructive argument for other departments and senior management to take notice of the importance of IM’s constructive capabilities within the organisation. Evidence of disharmony with standard marketing as input by Piercy, N citing Webster (1997, pg 15) as the ‘relationship between sales and marketing functions that has persisted as one of the major sources of organisational conflict”, however Piercy, N also cites Rouzies et al. (2005, pg16) stating ‘sales and marketing integration remains a high priority on the management agenda’. Process leaders have already been identified as part of IM and beneficial to decreasing barriers to communication breakdowns through departmental 12
  13. 13. BM399 Investigative Study S0606546 decisions, so the wider organisation could view IM as a function rather than as just a decision-making department. Any integration of the marketing and sale would surely improve an overall culture in an organisation, moving away from any current or potential organisational conflict over decisions. Benefits have been seen at companies that employ a flatter, Japanese style organisational structure, as opportunity for conflict is reduced with less channels or departments to go through in the decision making process. Merging these into cross-functional partnering departments would take time, but might reduce conflict. In many organisations according to Lane & Piercy (2004, pg21) there has been more of an emphasis on an increased “strategic customer management” by senior management and other departments. Linking in with culture, IM is seen by Kotler (1991, pg1) and cited by Barnes, R et al as making employees more motivated and committed to the organisational cause through a higher level of involvement. So his argument is based around the fact that ‘management satisfying the needs of the internal customers will in turn- lead to the external customers being well-served’. These employees therefore (internal customers) who are efficient with their jobs and contribute to the corporate progress of a firm are seen by Christopher et al (1991, pg1) (cited by Barnes, R et al) as being ‘vital resources’. Internal marketing has an important role to play in general corporate management according to Varey, R (2002, pg215) who suggests it is usually viewed as a short-lived campaign to boost attention to customers and states ‘it should act as a positive service attitude within the corporate organisation as a whole’. Where this point looks at IM as a positive feature to general organisational reward, there are many that think that IM is confusing in its practical implementation. 13
  14. 14. BM399 Investigative Study S0606546 Problems and Arguments against the Internal Marketing Concept There are many that argue that IM is an adaptation of conceptual marketing, without having been fully developed first. Internal Marketing is only seen to be working in organisations with a flourishing TQM policy, with Varey, R & Lewis, B citing Rafiq & Ahmed (1993, pg2, 3) explaining that there is often more willingness to absorb a concept with an already established good culture within an organisation. Within many other organisations however the same theorists suggest that high cost factors of having satisfied employees and sometimes the true lack of extent to the knowledge of internal customers can also substantiate an argument away from IM. There are arguments by Gronroos (1985, pg3) cited by Pervaiz, A & Rafiq, M that the term ‘employee as customer’ can be incorrect, posing a threat to what the external customer really wants. He views that the internal marketing function should use more of a basis of conceptual marketing approaches and techniques internally instead of complicating the process. He also states ‘employee commitment’ and ‘customer orientation’ should be the true meanings of marketing, with the commitment stemming from basic culture and customer orientation external rather than internal. Although Rafiq & Ahmed have put IM to question, they reinforce however that IM, if used correctly can be advantageous as a departmental ploy to gaining more corporate support, reducing resistance to ideas through viewing marketing as more holistic or all encompassing. The overall view from most theorists is that there should therefore be a move away from the term ‘employee as customer’ to save confusion on the desired goal of what the external customer really wants, and to use IM as a function without complication. 14
  15. 15. BM399 Investigative Study S0606546 Service as a Determinant of External Success Hwang, I cites Greene (1994, pg1) as making the argument that IM is the key factor in core competency and competitive advantage because of its direct dealings and emphasis put on customer service and creating customer loyalty. This view is echoed and shared by Doyle (1994, pg2) cited by Lings, I who suggests that ‘service level is the determinant in creating a long running market share and profitability’. It can be suggested then, that service is a necessity in creating external attention, and as Lovelock (1992, p2) states, services deal with ‘processes rather than things, with performances more than physical objects’, expressing a faith that the service system needs three management functions to work well together, being the ‘marketing, operations and HR functions’. Internal Marketing is seen as the integral part of modern day services according to many theorists because of its internal and external dealings. Internal Marketing factors and relationships are highlighted by Benoy, J citing Heskett’s (1994, pg6) use of the service profit chain, explaining the value of services produced by employees (shown in appendix e). The service profit chain, linking different functions together in the process from internal to external has a linkage to internal marketing as IM aims to be aware and take action within the three main functions of marketing, operations and HR to aid a better overall corporate productivity. 15
  16. 16. BM399 Investigative Study S0606546 Summary of Internal Marketing Senior Management or Corporate decision-making can often overlook the role of marketing. Marketing is suggested however by Kotler, P, (2006 pg 20) as being pervasive and more of a function than department. Internal marketing is an extension of standard marketing and looks at keeping the internal stakeholders more satisfied and motivated to provide external customer satisfaction; as Varey, R cites Gronroos (1990, pg 221) stating ‘internal marketing as unifying inter-functional departments and activities within an organisations framework are all aiming at a common objective’. This objective is the to increase competitive advantage by taking an extra step to improve core- competencies by focusing from the ‘employee as customer’ perspective. A company would be much more likely to adopt a marketing approach with the holistic view expanding upon internal marketing as there is more of a construction process towards an external customer delivery. To substantiate the argument, there are many factors, which encompass holistic marketing, with one being IM (appendix a). A company also has to view the difference between a sales team and a marketing team and analyse whether a shift towards IM will resolve any dispute between these separate marketing departments through integrating to improve communication and culture. This point is emphasised within the report, relating to process leaders and the role that they play in the team building of the employees. The key to IM working or not is whether an organisation is willing to develop its culture, and whether there is a willingness for management to focus on employee T&D. Employees were stated by Berthon, P, citing Gilly & Wolfinbarger (1998, pg3) as enjoying the ‘insiders role’ earlier in the report, which expresses the need of aiming towards providing necessary satisfiers for employees to become more pro-active and 16
  17. 17. BM399 Investigative Study S0606546 productive within the IM function. With this Internal Marketing function not only focusing on direct marketing, but also on employee relations, its link with HR to creating a better marketing comprehension is something seen as an argument towards a corporate inclusion of IM. Often with standard marketing there can often be mistakes made with taking more of a macro approach, trying to best please the target market without taking into account internal factors delivering the service. This can often be overlooking the current organisational climate in terms of culture and employee’s T&D in terms of their overall product or service knowledge and other missing dynamics of employee capabilities. The emphasis therefore is for management to relate to models such as in appendix b or by looking at other motivational theories such as Herzberg’s. Employees and service are therefore seen as the ‘focal point’ to internal marketing, with employee’s performances being the determining factor on the level of service that they relate to the external customer. Although everything points towards internal marketing as being the next big business initiative, there are many arguments, which are corroborative with suggestions that IM is confusing and lacks fundamental frameworks for success. The lack of frameworks (as from Mudie, P) citing Ballantyne (2000, pg2) highlight that IM is only in its infancy stage as a business development, with a total focus on increasing employee’s knowledge becoming a high financial risk. Arguments are also from Pervaiz, A & Rafiq, M, citing Gronroos (1985, pg3) as suggesting if R&D in other marketing departments isn’t at a peak, employees are often assuming or predicting what the external customer wants without having the true facts. This effects advertising, emphasises a lack of relationship management, internal communication, while putting a company brand/image at risk. There are also arguments that IM 17
  18. 18. BM399 Investigative Study S0606546 doesn’t focus or operate on the basic marketing principles of having the external customer as the target market and the employee as being committed. This argument is directed predominately towards the confusion of the metaphor ‘employee as customer’, whereas companies should view the metaphor of external ‘customer as king’ with more relevance. With a summary of both the benefits and disadvantages to having IM as a role in the marketing concept an assessment can be drawn on which argument has the most substance for or against adoption by corporate managers. Recommendations With modern day organisations operating more strategically, looking towards a more holistic approach, there could be a willingness to approach IM, especially in organisations struggling with culture, breakdowns of communications, branding or advertising, or output of products and services. In organisations with an already flourishing culture, relationship and TQM management there is less of a need for IM as employee’s satisfaction is already producing a good output of services or products. This doesn’t mean to say that IM can still play a valuable role, and there still might be consideration for adaptation of Porters Generic Value Chain (appendix d) internally, to integrate sales and marketing departments while integrating these with HR (of which issues IM covers implicitly). This would probably not be advised however as it is unique to its current purpose, so Appendix e sums up the strongest case towards the process of internal marketing as it passes through the service profit chain. If IM was still to be looked at with the term ‘employee as customer’, this model can then be transformed to benefit this claim on an internal basis. The main argument however is that this term causes confusion, and with proper TQM first and foremost within a 18
  19. 19. BM399 Investigative Study S0606546 company, there is more of a chance that internal marketing can develop efficiently, especially when a company doesn’t lose sight of its main objective (providing the external customer with the product or service desired). This point is one substantiated earlier in the report by Hales & Mecrate-Butcher, (1994 pg3) stating that organisations need to stay 'customer-focused as well as employee focused’. For any company struggling to improve these factors, as well as their general service ethic, relations should be drawn between IM and HR to benefit employee performance in the delivery to external customers. The overall benefit of IM is of its holistic strategic approach, which is the shift that corporate organisations are moving towards (especially in crowded competitive markets), so gaining every perspective and angle of marketing could only benefit, but maybe to some financial cost depending on an organisations financial situation. 19