When it comes to marketing, many businesses think they’re unique. They talk about differentiation and what makes them better than their competitors above and beyond the standard service/product. If I’m honest, I’m never really convinced because (a) it’s hard to quantify and (b) feedback like that should come from external sources to have any credibility.

The thing is, nine times out of ten it’s the people within a business that makes the difference. So, why do so many companies still miss a huge trick by not engaging their own people in the first instance?

We’re all in marketing

I’ve employed a fair few people in my time and I get that for 80% of your team it’s just a job and you’ll never penetrate a taciturn response – in fact, it can be incredibly demoralising. (There’s nothing worse than seeing that same un-engaged person in your organisation posting a Richard Branson quote about the difference between leaders and managers on LinkedIn when you struggle to get a grunt out of them most days.)

But, the fact of the matter is, your staff hold the key. In this world where we are all on show – being judged with likes and retweets – it’s essential for any small business to harness the opportunities that teams can offer.

Time and time again I go into businesses where the people are doing some really cool stuff… which they never talk about. (Please read this sentence a few times.)

It’s a trick missed. At a very basic level, we’re talking content. A quick video, case study or social media post in the right place creates engagement. It offers you a chance to talk about your business and industry in a proactive way.

Why would you not maximise the opportunity afforded by being able to talk to existing customers and impress potentials with ACTUAL stuff you’re doing?

So here’s the million dollar question for you if you have a team…

When is the last time you engaged with your staff? I’m not talking about getting the marketing person to force the team into a photo for the press or website. I’m talking really engaged.

If you are really sincere about the differentiation your organisation has to offer, can you bet with any certainty that your staff clearly knows what it is? Do they know what your brand stands for? Do they even understand what the plans of the business are or which type of clients you want to talk to?

If not, really, why should they give a damn?

Or to spin it… What could happen if they did know?