Imagine you’re the owner of a trendy downtown restaurant that caters to the vegan crowd. Your head chef creates mouth-watering dishes that attract a full house at every lunch and dinner service. You’ve just launched a complementary catering service for corporate customers in the downtown core, and have commissioned g[squared] to update your website and create some flashy new marketing materials that are guaranteed to keep the catering staff busy for months to come.

Within hours of the official launch, the first potential catering customer calls the restaurant and speaks with Mary – a charming hostess working her first shift since returning from vacation. “No, sir,” she says in reply to the caller’s inquiry about catering a 500-person lunch. “We don’t do catering.”

Poor Mary. She didn’t get the memo because Paolo, the restaurant owner, didn’t realize the importance of keeping his employees in the loop. Even worse, he assumed that Mary already knew.

Uh-oh.

We all know assumptions make an ass out of…well, you get the picture. And this is obviously a hypothetical situation. But any g[squared] client will tell you that our marketing solutions always incorporate internal communications strategies. Why?

1. Employees are one of the most effective ways to market your business or spread your message.

Usually, they are the ones your customers interact with first (and the most). And how they engage with customers could be the deciding factor in whether or not your business succeeds.

Front line employees like Mary should be the ambassadors for your business, but they can’t be unless they are communicated with in a regular, meaningful way.

2. Internal communication keeps everyone informed.

It’s easy to push staff meetings or other internal matters to the side for more demanding priorities like filling customer orders, acquiring new business or yes, having g[squared] build you an awesome new website.

In Paolo’s case, maintaining a simple staff bulletin board in the back kitchen may have alerted Mary to the fact that catering was a new service offering. An even smarter choice would have been to personally connect with her and every other team member to ensure everyone was fully educated on the company’s changes. That small error made him miss out on a hefty cheque from a new catering client.

3. The better the internal communications, the higher the employee engagement.

Make every effort to educate, update, inform and inspire your team. You don’t want someone working for you who is “just punching the clock.” You want employees who have a vested interest in the success of the business.

Employees who are engaged are less likely to underperform, take sick days or quit—all of which lead to loss of productivity and additional hard costs like employee recruitment and overtime.

4. You’ll generate free advertising for your business or organization.

Engaged employees are generally happier, which boosts company morale and can have a positive impact on the customer’s experience when they come through the door. And we all know what happens when a customer receives exceptional service: They share their thoughts through tweets, posts and reviews on social media, and through word of mouth to friends, family and other acquaintances. In turn, this leads to more sales and more opportunities for exceptional customer interactions.

We’re not saying internal communications will solve all of your problems. But it is a critical piece of the marketing puzzle that is often overlooked as some “fuzzy wuzzy HR thing”. A small investment in an internal communications system that is properly scaled for your business or organization can have a significant positive affect on your bottom line.

And since g[squared] loves happy endings, we’ll let you know that once Mary realized her mistake, she quickly reviewed the catering information and all of the marketing materials, called the potential customer back (thank goodness for call display), and secured the restaurant’s first paying catering gig. As for Paolo, he also realized that not keeping his employees informed could have resulted in the death of his new product offering. He installed a bulletin board and started having daily staff meetings at the beginning of every shift to share information.