Zappos: Why marketing to your employees is most important

Branding guy Bill Green had a chance to meet Zappos chief exec Tony Hsieh on the recent Plaid van tour and discovered the inner workings of the online shoe/clothing company revolve around employee brand culture.

Zappos is thinking big, targeting $1 billion in sales in 2008, more product expansions, potentially an airlines in the future. And it has grown by pushing brand values more to employees on the inside than to customers on the outside.

– Many new employees must take four weeks of customer loyalty training
– New employees are given $1,000 cash incentives to quit — to weed out slackers
– The company communicates constantly with employees, including a blog by the CEO and a Zappos company culture book
– Result: 75% of sales are from prior customers

It reminds us of a client we served recently who was focused on driving down marketing costs per acquisition. We pointed out the people at the call center could create a huge lift in performance, if only better training and incentives were provided. Why spend so much on advertising media and ignore the people who actually sign up, and grow, the customers?

Read Bill’s complete inside take here.

Update: The current Zappos web site is a bit cluttered and confusing, one weak point in the sales armor. Zappos has a new, improved web site coming soon, you can see the beta here.

Photo: MicheKerr

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