chapter  17
28 Pages

Internal marketing

ByMichael Davidson

Prior to examining internal marketing (IM) in the hospitality and tourism industry, there is first a need to set this focus within the wider context of marketing and examine other elements of an organization’s performance that shape how IM can be used. In the hospitality and tourism business environment, the marketing function concentrates upon the external customers rather than internal customers. Marketing and advertising campaigns, for example, are constructed after considerable market research to segment and target whom the marketing message is aimed at. Companies also have large and normally well-resourced marketing and sales departments to relate to external customers. As explained elsewhere in this book, there is now a level of sophistication in marketing to external customers that is aided by the use of computer technology that allows huge amounts of data to be stored and analyzed to ensure that marketing campaigns reach the desired market effectively. An important element of this marketing effort has been the increasing use of relationship marketing that has an IM component that uses organizational culture and values as the center of operations and strategy to link the organization to the customer (Sin et al., 2006). The strategic focus of marketing is an integral part of any orga-

nization’s overall strategy and business plan. Within the marketing domain, we are seeing an ever-increasing emphasis on relationship marketing that is based upon the direct linkage between the company and the customer. The external marketing focus for hospitality and tourism organizations is to get people to buy the product or service before sampling, whereas IM is concerned with ensuring that the yield from each customer is maximized when the service interactions are taking place. The time frame for service and opportunity for IM can vary enormously depending upon the time the customer will spend engaged with an organization, e.g., from buying a meal or staying at a hotel for several days. Many hospitality and tourism organizations see marketing and sales as essentially one function with two elements (Kotler et al., 2006). This chapter uses a similar approach. Whilst, as noted above, there can often be an extended time period

for customer interaction, especially while staying at a hotel, there is little focus from the marketing department given specifically to IM. The ongoing contact between the organization and the customer becomes the domain of operations and in turn is shaped by the service and marketing orientation of the employees. To a large extent, the IM during the customer contact phase is seen as operational selling. This chapter will make the case that IM needs to be identified as a

cogent and integrated part of the overall marketing strategy and the operational and human resource strategy. Many theorists have identified IM and its importance but very few have put forward this concept as part of overall organizational performance. To develop such a

• • •

strategy requires the understanding of the interactions and perceptions of the employee, the organization, and the customer. Strong correlations have been established between employee attitudes and perceptions of service quality (Schneider and Bowen, 1995; Davidson et al., 2001). IM also refers to the employee relationship with marketing principles as it applies to the employees who provide the service for customers. An emphasis is also given to the notion of meeting the internal customers’ needs and wants, that is, being able to satisfy the internal customers (fellow employees) so that they can satisfy the external customers’ requirements (Lewis and Chambers, 2000).