Delivering Brand Promise Increases Customer Spend 22.7%

December 19, 2013

By Michelle M. Smith CPIM, CRP

Marketers are dedicated to delivering compelling value to empowered customers, to fostering lasting connections with those customers and to measuring the value of their efforts.

However the unending stream of marketing content often leaves customers and prospects confused and overwhelmed. Marketers must consistently deliver on their brand promise and also improve customer spend.

Even as marketing tools continue to evolve, it’s important to recall and leverage one of an organization’s most powerful assets—employees. Employees don’t just represent your brand. To customers, they become the brand.

BMA’s new research partner, The FORUM, found a connection between employee attitudes and customer spending in their study “Testing the Internal Marketing Model: An Empirical Analysis of the Relationship between Employee Attitudes, Customer Attitudes and Customer Spending.”

The research combined results from employee and customer surveys at an international hotel chain with customer spending patterns. These findings can be applied to any industry. 

  • Customer perceptions that aligned with employee behavior had a positive impact on customer spending. Engaged employees created customers that purchased more.
  • A 10% increase in the extent to which employees tried to satisfy customers translated into a 22.7% increase in total customer spending. It also led to 20.3% greater spend per visit. 
  • Employee engagement could be linked to customer satisfaction and financial performance, even when employees didn’t have direct customer contact.
  • Employees’ perceptions of brand value lacked uniformity across hotel locations. That inconsistency translated into different customer experiences and spending patterns.

The link between employee engagement and customer spend offers marketing leaders a powerful means for impacting growth and brand integrity. A consistent, integrated, internal marketing campaign that incorporates employee engagement is needed.

Here are a few examples of ways to leverage your employee audience:

  • Involve employees in the design of internal and external marketing initiatives. Just as important as the Voice of Customer, leverage the Voice of Employee. Gather employee feedback, especially in service industries.
  • Look for opportunities to enhance internal communications. Clear, consistent messaging provides the foundation for aligned customer expectations. It also is a key antecedent of employee engagement.
  • Recognize and reward employee behaviors that directly and positively impact the customer experience. Customers respond favorably when their expectations align with the brand promise.
  • Partner with your human resource leaders to understand and influence the design of employee incentive programs. Consider devoting a portion of your budget to initiatives that link internal and external brand advocacy.
  • Improve employee engagement across the company, or risk squandering growth opportunities. Even employees who aren’t customer-facing can drive profitability.
  • Enhance employees’ efforts to try to satisfy customers. This allows you to take advantage of the revenue upside of that effort.  

This research reminds us that our employees are our best source of competitive advantage. When you align employees behind your brand strategy, employees become partners and assets. Your customers and your company will benefit from the connection between employee engagement, customer loyalty and profitability.

BMA's new VP-research has been named one of the most influential women in the incentive marketing industry. Michelle M. Smith, CPIM, CRP, is an accomplished international author and speaker, past president of the FORUM at Northwestern University, president emeritus of the Incentive Marketing Association, and vice president of business development for O.C. Tanner. Michelle can be reached at


"Delivering Brand Promise Increases Customer Spend 22.7%." Michelle M. Smith, Vice President of Research at BMA. BMA Buzz. 12/19/13.