Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

In what sense are employees customers too? Check out the answer to that question here… [Tuesday: Return Driven Strategy]

March 26, 2024

What do you think makes up a successful business? 

Loyal customers? 

High-quality products and services? 

Effective and efficient processes and marketing strategies? 

Oftentimes, these are the only things that come to mind when thinking about high-performing firms. However, one ought to remember that employees are at the core of businesses

Without them, organizations will lack the important assets and resources they need to fulfill customers’ otherwise unmet needs. 

Thinking of Employees as Customers 

According to Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo in the book, “Driven,” companies succeed when employees and other individuals are aligned with the organization’s goals in creating and delivering offerings that fulfill customers’ unmet needs. 

To accomplish this, these individuals within the company need to be engaged.

Just as each business has a pyramid of wealth-creation, each individual also has their own definitions of wealth and their own “pyramids.”

An example of this? 

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which states individuals’ actions are motivated by certain physiological and psychological needs that progress from basic to complex. 

Photo from Simply Psychology

These come in the form of needs for safety, love, belonging, self-esteem, self-actualization, etc. 

According to Professor Litman and Dr. Frigo, firms with the highest levels of returns also build offerings that help employees fulfill these needs. After all, employees provide their time and effort in exchange for what the firm offers them. This includes compensation, but requires more than that.

What are some ways companies engage and empower their employees, as well as fulfill their unmet needs? 

  • Clear Communication: It’s important that management fosters open and transparent communication channels with the workforce. By keeping employees informed about company goals, strategies, and any changes, managers let employees know they are trusted and encourage feedback for future improvements.
  • Opportunities for Growth: Offering training programs and professional development opportunities creates a clear career path and provides support for skills enhancement. Recognizing and rewarding employees for their achievements and progress is included here.
  • Empowerment through Autonomy: Managers should demonstrate that they trust their subordinates to make wise decisions within their areas of expertise. Doing this encourages creativity and innovation by allowing some flexibility in how tasks are approached.
  • A Positive Work Culture: Fostering a supportive and inclusive work environment encourages collaboration and teamwork. It’s also important that companies celebrate diversity as this promotes a sense of belonging within the workforce.
  • The Right Tools and Resources: Businesses must ensure that employees have the necessary tools to perform their jobs effectively, and invest in technology and infrastructure that supports workforce productivity.
  • Leadership Development: Businesses must scout for, train, and develop strong leaders within their organization, and encourage leadership at all levels, not just within managerial roles.
  • Regular Feedback: Encouraging two-way feedback makes employees feel heard and provide inputs about their experiences and suggest improvements to foster a more positive workplace.

By implementing these strategies, firms can create a workplace where employees feel valued, motivated, and empowered to contribute their best efforts.

Engaging Employees as a “Genuine Asset” 

Is this tenet placed so low in the hierarchy of the RDS pyramid because employees are less important to a company? 

Not really. 

In fact, having the right employees in the right roles is a “Genuine Asset” to a firm’s plans and implementations! This is necessary to drive high-return businesses.

However, from a planning perspective, it’s important to first determine what types of offerings will be needed and for what customers. This should then be followed by hiring the right types of employees AND engaging them in ways that promote the building of the offerings.

Take note of these tips and important insights! 

Keep in mind that a business with the best employees producing incredibly well-built products will still experience low returns if no customers buy its products. 

So, a key question may be: 

“Who are the right employees and how should we pay them?” 

According to Professor Litman and Dr. Frigo, the answer to this question comes from a thorough planning of the higher tenets of RDS.


If you’re looking to gain a better understanding of Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy, we highly recommend checking out “Driven” by Professor Litman and Dr. Frigo. 

Click here to get your copy and learn how this framework can help you in your business strategies and ultimately, in ethically maximizing wealth for your firm.

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Tuesdays: Return Driven Strategy”

In the book, “Driven,” authors Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo said that the goal of every long-term successful business strategy should incorporate the combined necessity of “making the world a better place” and “getting wealthy.” 

That is why they created Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy―frameworks that were built to help leaders and professionals plan and evaluate businesses so they can also help others achieve their organizational goals and career goals. 

The frameworks describe the plans and actions that drive returns for anyone in an organization such as independent contractors, marketers, brand managers, communicators, and other people in any field. These actions lead to the creation of wealth and value for customers, employees, shareholders, and the society. 

Every Tuesday, we’ll highlight case studies, business strategies, tips, and insights related to Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy. 

In planning, building, or managing brands and businesses, these strategies, case studies, and guidelines will help you choose what specific actions to take and when to take them. 

Hope you find this week’s topic interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s “Return Driven Strategy!”


Kyle Yu
Head of Special Projects
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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