To rev up internal engagement, think like a marketer

Applying tactics that range from launching an intranet campaign to reorganizing the newsletter, Ellie Mae boosted internal engagement.

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Think like a marketer

“Run your internal comms like a marketer” is a rallying cry seldom heard across the land.

Yet Sara Karam Holtz, director of internal communications at Ellie Mae, is doing just that—drawing on her background as a marketer to better reach her internal audience.

Holtz previously ran a marketing department for a credit union in the San Francisco Bay Area, a job that required a two-hour commute each way.

Fed up with spending so many hours behind the wheel, she landed a job at Ellie Mae, a cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage industry.

She began applying the skills and experience of her previous role to the new job: starting with an objective, studying the big picture, setting up a strategy, establishing and executing tactics, measuring results, and adjusting based on the metrics.

“I now recognize that’s a unique way to operate from an internal communications function,” Holtz says. “Because I approached it like that, everything we did fit into that pattern. … We were able to measure what worked and what didn’t.”

Holtz came aboard at Ellie Mae in 2015, at a time of change. The company had experienced exponential growth over the previous five years, yet it didn’t have an intranet. One of her first tasks was to lead that effort.

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