Internal marketing is a marketing approach within the company, aimed at visualizing and supporting ideas, projects and assessments that are useful to the company. The internal marketing creates an exchange system based on communications between the company and its employees to adapt an organisational environment and international relations to the operators’ needs as well as an active participation to achieve the company’s targets. Berry et al. (1976) indicates that internal marketing was firstly introduced as a solution of the problem of delivering always high service quality before twenty years ago. Nowadays, internal marketing has different approach, but still has similar characteristics.
In this paper, I will start with some definitions that been given by different authors about internal marketing and internal marketing orientation. Moreover, I will talk about the development phases of internal marketing and its steps. After that, I am going to discuss the determinants of the internal marketing orientation by viewing its relationships with some main concepts in organisations such as corporate culture and internal communication. Finally, my conclusion will explain the limitations of the internal marketing.
What is internal marketing orientation? Internal marketing was defined by Hogg (1998) as “those activities that improve internal communications and customer consciousness among employees and the link between these activities and external market place performance”. While Berry (1981) explained the internal marketing as “viewing employees as internal customers, viewing jobs as internal products that satisfy the needs and wants of these internal customers while addressing the objectives of the organisation”.
Further more, Ballantyne (2000) modified these definitions by considering internal marketing as a strategy, he defined it as “a strategy for developing relationships between staff across internal organisation boundaries. This is done so that staff autonomy and know-how may combine in opening up knowledge generating processes that challenge any internal activities that need to be changed. The purpose of this activity is to enhance quality of external marketing relationships.”
From these definitions, we can see that internal marketing is about dealing with employees as they are customers within the company. Marketing Orientation was described by Felton (1959) as “a way of thinking in doing business that is based on the integration and co-ordination of all marketing activities which, in turn, will integrate with the rest of the company activities in an effort to maximise long-term profitability”. Finally, Jobber (1998) introduced the internal marketing orientation as “the achievement of corporate goals through meeting and exceeding customer expectations better than the opposition”.
The development of internal marketing: According to Rafiq, M., and Ahmed, P., (2000), internal marketing passed on three phases, the employee motivation and satisfaction phase, the customer orientation phase and the broadening the internal marketing concept-strategy implementation and change management phase. 1. Employee motivation and satisfaction: George (1977) argued that the firm should satisfy employees in order to reach its goals and satisfy customers.
Sasser and Arbeit (1976) mentioned that mangers should consider employees as customers and their jobs as products in order to motivate them to do their jobs, just like if it was a company’s product that they want to sell. According to that, there are two factors which operate to determine if an employee will be a “motivated” employee or not. The first factor has to do with meeting needs and achieving goals. The other factor has to do with how meaningful the work is and whether the person feels they are appreciated for what they do.
2. Customer orientation: it is the satisfactory understanding of one’s target buyers and the satisfactory response to their needs, making sure that other things are equal; one continuously generates higher value for the customers. Customer orientation needs that a seller understands the customer’s complete value chain not only as it is today but also as it will change over time subject to internal and market dynamics. Seller can create value for a customer in two different ways: It can be done by increasing benefits to the customer relative to the customer’s cost or by decreasing the customer’s costs relative to the customer’s benefits. Gronroos (1985) focused on creating customer orientation instead of satisfying and motivating employees.
3. Broadening the internal marketing concept-strategy implementation and change management: in this phase, authors started to regard internal marketing as a technique for the management in order to reach the goals of the firm (Winter, 1985). This means that during this phase, internal marketing appears as an implementation method. Steps of internal marketing: In 1996, Reynoso and Moores identified six steps to apply internal marketing. and they are: 1. The creation of internal awareness. 2. The identification of internal customers and suppliers.
3. The identification of the expectations of the internal customers. 4. The communication of these expectations of the internal suppliers in order to discuss their own capability and obstacles to meeting these requirements. 5. After that, changes would be adapted by the internal suppliers to deliver the level of the required service. 6. Finally, acquiring a measure for internal service quality.