Don't treat me like I'm a stranger, or I'll become one

Do you talk to customers as though they are strangers? Do you get annoyed when strangers talk to you as though you are a friend?


Most business leaders I meet aren't aware of the two sides of marketing: internal and external. Instead, everything they do is usually lumped together. And that might be one of the biggest strategic mistakes made today.

Try this:  take an imaginary piece of chalk and draw a circle around yourself – about five or ten feet away. Now ask yourself: of all the people connected with my business, who is inside the chalk circle – and who's outside?

Now let's talk about each part. First, who's inside the circle.

InMarketing (short for Internal Marketing), is everything you do directed at those already inside the chalk circle that you use to define the stakeholder groups that already have a connection with you, such as your employees, stockholders, customers, suppliers, and so on.

These people are already on the inside. And your marketing to them needs to fit the relationship you want to have – friendly, personal, appreciative, encouraging, motivational, and so on... you get the picture. Definitely NOT as strangers, but as friends, family, and people who have a stake in your future.

Next, let's look at outside the circle.

ExMarketing (or External Marketing), on the other hand, is all you do that is focused on those outside the chalk line:  prospects, the press, your community and neighbors, Wall Street, and others who have (as of now) no direct relationship or connection with you.

For these people, the language, tone, and messages you employ need to be more formal, more solicitous, and more respectful of their outside status.

When you distinguish between these two vastly different groups – which require very different thinking, planning, and approaches – you suddenly have a much clearer approach to each of them.

Does your current marketing planning take into account these two very different constituencies? 

Probably not. Perhaps it's time they did.

Carl Francis

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