Marketing from the Inside Out: How HR and Marketing Can Align for Success

by Trisha Gallagher | March 9, 2023

It’s a competitive world out there, especially when it comes to hiring and retaining the talent your B2B company needs to grow and thrive. While some industries are cutting staff, others are in full-on expansion mode. And they know they can only attract and keep top talent if they build and sustain a strong culture.

What does this have to do with marketing? Plenty!

Your culture doesn’t just impact your hiring and retention; it has a significant effect on your marketing. That’s why it’s vital for your HR and marketing teams to align their efforts and create cohesive messaging that communicates your values and culture in a way that resonates just as well with buyers as it does with employees and job candidates.

The Power of Advocates 

When your employees feel valued, respected, and engaged, they naturally become ambassadors for the company. They’re more likely to share their positive experiences—on social media and in conversations with colleagues, friends, and family. This kind of organic, word-of-mouth marketing can be incredibly powerful in attracting new buyers to your revenue funnel. 

On the flip side, if your employees are disengaged or don’t feel valued, they’re just as likely to make it known publicly. We’ve all seen how quickly negative word-of-mouth can spread—and how incredibly damaging it can be to a company’s reputation. It creates the kind of environment that makes it very difficult to attract and retain customers.

A positive internal culture sets the stage for a positive external dialogue about your company, across all the stakeholders your organization touches, including prospective customers. To create a culture that supports and enhances your marketing, you need your HR and marketing teams working together to create messaging that’s fully aligned, consistent, and resonates with buyers.  

What HR and Marketing Alignment Looks Like 

For starters, HR needs to be involved when marketing is developing campaigns, and marketing needs to be involved when HR is developing initiatives to drive greater employee engagement and retention.

Let’s say your company is looking to position itself as a leader in sustainability. Of course, HR will take the lead on ensuring that everything the company does to recruit, engage, and retain employees demonstrates your commitment to sustainability and the actions that back it up. 

But marketing can play just as important a role in this initiative, especially with so many businesses demonstrating a strong preference to work with companies that share their values. By aligning with HR, your marketing team can ensure the sustainability message is woven into the right marketing activities and channels—so prospective buyers see that your company is a good environmental steward and corporate citizen.

Aligning on messaging is a great start, but it’s not the only way to get HR and marketing working together to achieve better results. These critical functions can also join forces to develop employee engagement and retention initiatives that simultaneously support the company’s marketing efforts. 

For example, if you want to position your business as an innovator, HR should create opportunities for employees to showcase their creativity, like hackathons and idea-generation workshops. Then marketing should leverage those initiatives to demonstrate to buyers that the organization is committed to continually innovating to bring the best products and services to market. 

10 Ways HR and Marketing Can Work Together

To be as effective as it can be in attracting new buyers and driving growth, marketing should never operate in a vacuum. There’s no shortage of content on how the sales and marketing functions can work together better. But not so much on how to get marketing and HR aligned.

To get you started, here are 11 ways your HR and marketing teams should be joining forces to achieve better results.

  1. Regular Meetings: Get your HR and marketing teams meeting on a regular cadence to talk about current and upcoming initiatives, review performance metrics (see #2!), and identify ways they can work toward common goals.
  2. Shared Metrics and Goals: Both teams should have a clear understanding of the metrics and goals that are important to the organization and how they can partner to support these shared outcomes. 
  3. Collaboration on Recruitment: HR can provide marketing with insights on the type of candidates the company is seeking and attracting, while marketing can equip HR with recruitment messaging that promotes your values and culture.
  4. Training and Development: HR and marketing can collaborate to create training programs that help employees understand how the company’s core values translate into actions. For example, many B2B service companies tout that they’re “committed to delivering high quality.” Of course, that’s very subjective and vague. Together, HR and marketing can develop training that defines core values like these concretely, providing examples and key performance indicators (KPIs) that help employees recognize when they are (or aren’t) delivering on a corporate promise. 
  5. Employee Engagement and Retention: HR and marketing can work together to create employee engagement and retention initiatives that align with the company’s values and culture or help employees understand how they can support marketing efforts. The Marketri team recently did just that for a client’s 10th anniversary—developing internal and external campaigns with a celebratory theme, making employees and customers feel they’re part of something big and exciting. A series of special events and commemorative videos brought this concept to life vividly. 
  6. Employee Marketing Beyond “Communications.” Internal communication historically involved tasks like notifying employees of policy updates or organizational changes. Now, businesses that recognize the value of employee engagement are getting HR and marketing working together to embark on true employee marketing—using modern marketing techniques to inspire and motivate employees to do their best and bring the company’s values to life.  
  7. Brand Guidelines: Marketing isn’t the only function that should follow your brand guidelines. HR needs to be committed to reflecting your brand in all its communication—internally with employees and externally with candidates. Rather than throw your branding documents over the wall, get HR and Marketing talking about them for 100% alignment and buy-in.
  8. Social Media: Both buyers and job candidates can glean a lot about your company from your social media presence. To maximize this channel as a way to engage with prospective customers and employees, get HR and marketing working together to create a social media strategy that communicates and celebrates your culture.
  9. Employee Advocacy: Put the power of word-of-mouth marketing to work by jointly developing an advocacy program that encourages your employees to spread the good word about your company and your culture across their own professional and personal networks. 
  10. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Buyers and job candidates seek companies with a strong CSR commitment. Working together, your HR and marketing teams can develop messaging and initiatives that communicate this commitment in a way that connects with both audiences. 
  11. Cross-functional Efforts: When you harness the synergy and diversity of different functions across the company, great things happen! HR and Marketing can lead the charge to create cross-functional teams that enable employees to lend their voices to new initiatives for recruiting and retaining talent and attracting and retaining customers. 

When B2B companies are ready to align their marketing with the many other functions that can drive revenue growth, they turn to the experienced fractional Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) at Marketri. Schedule a call with our founder Deb Andrews to learn how we can develop a strategic marketing plan that gets your organization fully aligned and thriving!