Internal and External Markets

Learning Objectives Covered

  • LO 02.01 – Define digital media and electronic marketing and recognize their increasing importance in strategic planning.

Career Relevancy

Getting potential customers to buy into a new product or service is important. But it’s also important to get internal stakeholders, like employees, to buy in as well. This strengthens branding and motivates employees to produce and sell that product or service. This understanding is crucial to go from simply surviving to thriving.

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Imagine you’re a new employee at Apple. What would your reaction be if you walked into work on your first day and employees were using a mixture of Apple, Microsoft, and Google products? You’d probably wonder if you’d wandered into the right office.

This scenario would never happen, and we’ll get to the why. It would demonstrate a lack of an internal marketing strategy. If you spend one day walking around a city like Manhattan, flipping through a major newspaper or magazine, or browsing the Internet, you can clearly see Apple’s external marketing efforts.

External marketing is when a company advertises its products and services to potential clients and customers outside of the organization. Internal marketing is when a company inspires buy-in from employees and stakeholders which are involved in the internal functions of the company (Pretorius, 2016).

Apple is known for many positive aspects: sleek design, innovation, powerful software and hardware, entertainment solutions, and more. They also have a reputation for being elitist. No doubt Apple enthusiasts would argue they have the goods to back up that attitude.

This image, this reputation, this branding is a result of Apple’s external marketing efforts. But Apple also cares about its internal marketing efforts. The Apple company still stands strong despite having to face the strong PC world.

Digital Marketing—Internally and Externally

Digital marketing casts a broad umbrella. Sheltered beneath it, you’ll find tactics like content marketing, social media, and website design. These tactics exist to realize the organization’s strategy.

Let’s get back to imagining you work for Apple. Pretend the company is about to launch a new product—a ring that produces a holographic screen so the user can compute like Tony Stark in the Iron Man and Avengers movies, like in this montage (2:34 min):

You might want to start by internally marketing this new product. You can send out a memo to employees explaining what the product does, who might buy it, and how it fits into Apple’s brand image. In true Apple style, you might even release a keynote with early internal access to start to build support from employees. You might offer to let employees test out the product or purchase it at a discount.

All of these are efforts to internally market this new product.

When it comes to external marketing, that’s where you’ll use marketing tactics to reach outside customers. But internal marketing should happen before external marketing, or at least simultaneously. Attempting to market internally after marketing externally can seem disingenuous.

Resources and References

Mitchell, C. (2002, January). Selling the brand inside. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from (Links to an external site.)

Pretorius, F. (2016, August 12). Internal vs external marketing. LinkedIn. Retrieved from (Links to an external site.)

Sass, K. (2012, July 3). Iron man 2: Amazing interfaces and holograms. Retrieved from YouTube: (Links to an external site.)


Assume that your company is new to content marketing and using social media. Explain why the company would want to consider using both of these tactics for communicating with internal and external audiences.

In response to your peers, choose either content marketing or social media marketing, and describe how the company might leverage your chosen marketing tactic either internally or externally.

For your citation, consider case studies on internal marketing, external marketing, content marketing, and/or social media marketing. You might also look at articles written by industry professionals about internal and external marketing, and/or digital marketing.

Your initial and reply posts should work to develop a group understanding of this topic. Challenge each other. Build on each other. Always be respectful but discuss this and figure it out together.

Reply Requirements

You must submit:

  • 1 main post of 550+ words with 1 in-text citation and reference (follow the Institution Writing Guidelines)

Responses can be addressed to both your initial thread and other threads but must be:

  • Your own words (no copy and paste)
    1. Extend the conversation deeper,
    2. Challenge the post being responded to, or
    3. Take the conversation in a career-relevant tangent

Remember that part of the discussion grade is submitting on time and using proper grammar, spelling, etc. You’re training to be a professional—write like it.

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