Carlson Unveils Employee Marketing Service

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Customer relationship marketing company Carlson Marketing Group, Minneapolis, has introduced a new employee marketing practice designed to help businesses value employees' relationship to customers and the impact of communication on the company's overall growth.

The agency said the new offering "aims to maximize relationships between companies and employees through research and analysis, communication, training, recognition, performance measurement and evaluation."

Jim Ryan, president/CEO of Carlson Marketing Group, said new research indicates that engaged employees are twice as important as any other facet of business when it comes to keeping loyal customers. But he said that in North America, more than $100 billion is spent annually on employee engagement initiatives with little measurable return on investment to show for it.

"Intuitively, [we] know that satisfied, productive employees are crucial to the overall health of a business," Ryan said. "But we also know that these same leaders are spending tens of thousands of dollars on disparate programs that are never tied to the business's mission or objectives. They have no idea if the dollars spent had any impact on productivity or bottom-line profitability."

Ryan said employees are the brand in the eyes of consumers. "If they deliver lousy service or substandard products, it's your brand that's perceived as lousy and substandard," he said.

Carlson Marketing cited four key roadblocks that prevent companies from developing better brands and stronger relations with customers:

• Alignment. How do you foster an environment in which employees are able to see how their responsibilities make a difference or align with overall business objectives?

• Individualization. How do you reach out to people as individuals with different backgrounds, likes, dislikes, skill sets and personalities, rather than treat them like a mass market called 'employees'?

• Speed. How do you accomplish desired results in a time frame acceptable to employees as well as senior management?

• Measurement. How do you know when you have moved the needle and have realized a return on investment?

The agency said the idea that satisfied employees provide good customer service has been around for a long time, but that achieving that business objective is more difficult than it sounds.

Carlson Marketing Group's new employee marketing practice encompasses more than 40 staff members in Minneapolis, Toronto, Chicago, Montreal and New Jersey.

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