2016: The Year of Intentional [Recruitment] Marketing

Holland Dombeck McCue Driving Productivity, Good HR, Holland Dombeck, HR, HR & Marketing, in the news, Metrics, Recruitment Marketing

I’m officially approaching fan girl status when it comes to the #ChooseATL campaign. Rather than me rehashing the details, you can read my blog post here and listen to the follow-up podcast here.

Today I got to hear Kate Atwood, VP of Marketing for the Metro Atlanta Chamber, speak about how they are moving from a campaign to a movement. And as you may have guessed from the title of this post, their golden ticket is intentional marketing.

When you market intentionally, your marketing activities are executed with targeted and measurable intentions, ultimately leading to greater return, or a stronger foundation for you to build off of.

Intentional marketing is a nonnegotiable in 2016.

  • There’s a lot of noise out there. (You’ve also read about this in 2016, 2015, 2014…)
  • It’s a candidate’s market. (Which is creating more noise…)
  • Companies seeking to hire dedicated employer branding/recruitment marketing resources is on the rise. (Marketing, while amazing partners, are not specialized in recruiting.)

Get started:

Know your market(s) – Invest in or conduct your own market research. Dig in and understand who your competitors are for talent–by industry and key functions–what benefits they offer, what their facilities look like, compensation, CSR activities, etc. Anything you can get your hands on to help define and highlight your differentiators in that particular geography. If you have the budget, hire a consultant to do this for you. If you don’t, consider CareerBuilder’s Supply and Demand tool, Glassdoor data with a job seeker account, and good ‘ole Google. If good candidates can get the scoop, you can, too.

Know your cycle(s) – Review your company’s attrition data and look for patterns. There will always be outliers, but there will also be spikes in turnover across certain functions, especially in high-volume. Leverage this data to understand how to back in your campaign so you have the pipeline to support backfilling these openings. Also perform research to understand job seeking cycles of the talent you are trying to reach. Ex: Looking to pick some people out of the Big Four? Plan for ad placement that runs Jan-March and highlight how rough busy season is and how your company offers work-life balance.

Build your plan – Step one of building your plan is determining your scope. The wider the audience, the more time (and potentially money) you’ll need to invest. Next, plan your baseline strategy. Based on the markets you’re targeting and hiring cycles/needs, determine who you need to target and when you need to target them. Last, identify your media channels and develop any collateral needed to support your tactics.

Set your budget – Budget and planning follow a chicken-or-egg story line. I like to look at the plan in full and scale back/prioritize if there is not budget to support all needs. You may take a different approach. But media costs money, and you’ll need to determine what dollar amount you can spend—and whether or not that amount is competitive enough to produce results.

Determine what success looks like – I prefer to define what success looks like before implementing any plan. Set minimum standards for success for your initial campaign and refine this over time.  For example, initially success may be increased application flow, but as you refine and become more intentional, this success metric will evolve to include quality, or, even more refined, how hires from your efforts are impacting your organization.

Adapt and implement – The distribution channels you use will vary by the markets and people you are trying to reach—especially if you are marketing to talent internationally.  Local values, customs, and language may impact your tactics. Adjust your messaging accordingly before taking it to market; e.g. don’t take a one size fits all approach… be intentional.

Measure it, and if didn’t work as planned, fix it – Compile the data, analyze it and determine your continued direction. Track your progress over time—what worked, what didn’t, timing, etc.—this archive will be invaluable as you continue to market with intent.

While it may seem obvious that you should be intentional with your recruitment marketing and before going to market, many shops often react based on an idea they read or immediate hiring need vs. playing the long game. Intentional marketing may not get you into the chocolate factory right from the jump, but it will help you get closer to the gate. Don’t post and pray in 2016; market your careers intentionally.