Internal marketing is often the cornerstone of building awareness and usage of a company’s competitive intelligence portal. Often times, the lack of active and bold internal marketing from the intelligence function is the single biggest obstacle to increasing user activity on a company’s competitive intelligence portal. People simply cannot use things that they are not aware of.
With strong branding as well as active communications about the competitive intelligence software, internal stakeholders will gradually develop an understanding of and appreciation for the intelligence portal.
1. Give it a catchy name and a logo
Don’t hesitate to brand your competitive intelligence portal, once you are able to cross the hurdle of getting internal approval to do so. Branding the intelligence program, such as using names, symbols and slogans, to express the quality of content of the intelligence deliverables helps to increase the internal marketing possibilities. Brainstorm on names that remind people of the benefits and that tie in your company name.
2. Bring in the professionals to help with an internal marketing campaign
Ask for help from your marketing communications department to create a full fledged marketing campaign for your competitive intelligence portal. When a US-based financial services company decided to adopt a software tool to serve as the focal point of their intelligence program for example, they took its internal marketing seriously from the very beginning and hired an agency to help them with it. Various brochures, T-shirts, mugs, pens, mouse pads and other promotional items were produced and distributed to make sure that everyone would know something about the company’s competitive intelligence portal and how to access it. While the promotional campaign only lasted a couple of months, it provided a significant boost to the company’s intelligence function
3. Measure and market user benefits to support adoption
Such internal marketing efforts alone will not yield sustainable results if the business impact of the intelligence portal is not tangible, so make sure you set up key performance indicators (KPI’s) for usage and engagement and monitor them. Collect success stories and actively promote them via available channels and make sure you praise those individuals who share insights actively.
4. Develop an elevator pitch
Once you have measured the benefits users of the competitive intelligence portal enjoy, prepare an internal marketing elevator pitch for recruiting enthusiastic contributors to the intelligence program. Make sure it explains the purpose, target groups and deliverables of the competitive intelligence software, and point out the personal benefits for the potential network members. This helps you build a network of “ambassadors” at your company.
5. Develop your ambassador network
Host regular face-to-face meetings with your “ambassadors” once a month or once a quarter to gather feedback and ideas. This is important in generating ideas to market the portal and drive continued adoption and use.
6. Set up a reward system
Reward users of the CI portal for their participation in the intelligence program. You can set targets and measure progress using the company’s normal performance steering and evaluation systems. For example, you can initiate a campaign in which you give out prizes to the persons who share most insights during the period of one month.
In successful cases, we have seen that the morning ‘over coffee’ business talks started to included phrases like ‘ have you put this on Plaza yet?’. In cases where top management is carrying the torch for the platform, this should also be leveraged. People will be more inclined to respond to the CEO’s request of ‘what do we know about competitor X’s future plans?’ if it is getting pushed straight from the CI portal.
Increased usage can be achieved by triggering people’s interest with premium content and insights. Engagement however will typically need a change in people’s behavior. Even though this won’t happen overnight, equipped with the right tools and the right action-plan, this can be achieved in any company.