An Exploratory Study of the Application of Internal Marketing in Professional Service Organizations

Snell, Lan ORCID: and White, Lesley (2009) An Exploratory Study of the Application of Internal Marketing in Professional Service Organizations. Services Marketing Quarterly, 30 (3). pp. 195-211. ISSN 1533-2969


The proposition that organizations depend on employees to deliver quality services to compete and grow has been widely recognized in the services marketing literature (Gronroos, 1990; Boshoff Tait, 1996; Zeithaml, Berry, Parasuraman, 1996). Internal marketing (IM) refers to the way in which an organization motivates and educates its employees to behave in a customer-conscious or market-oriented manner through the application of marketing-like processes. IM is believed to contribute towards achieving organizational goals (Gilmore, 2003). The aim of the research was to conduct an exploratory investigation into the application of IM within the professional services industry. The research was conducted using multiple cases with seven organisations representing management consulting, accounting, law, and financial services. Nineteen in-depth interviews were conducted with eight internal users (client-facing personnel) and 11 enabling (marketing and human resources) practitioners. The findings indicate that IM is practised, albeit with varying degrees of sophistication, in order to execute wide ranging projects related to marketing and human resources (HR). This exploratory study provides some empirical evidence that suggests management needs to provide some overall guidelines on how the organisation perceives IM, why it is important to achieving the firm's goals, and who should be involved in implementing it. Possible directions of future research could include longitudinal studies that examine IM's application across different industries, exploration of particular variables that impact IM's application, and examination of client perspectives. This study contributes to the understanding of what IM is and how and why it is practiced within professional services.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2022 04:05
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2022 04:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: Financial services; Internal marketing; Professional services
Fields of Research (2008): 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1505 Marketing > 150503 Marketing Management (incl. Strategy and Customer Relations)
Fields of Research (2020): 35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3506 Marketing > 350611 Service marketing
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