Choosing the right route to market

The good, the bad and the ugly

You have the perfect product. You have a crack team of employees ready to deliver it. You have decades of experience and a passion to move your company to the next level. But, with so much focus given over to selling, how do you discover the best route to market?

The same principles apply to the world of recruitment. Caught between the traditional tried and trusted practices of print advertising, event marketing, job boards and online content marketing, the variety of available options each comes with its own list of pros and cons.

Taking in the good, bad, and the plain old ugly, we sift through the merits and weaknesses of four routes to market with the help of four authorities in recruitment marketing. What are the best marketing practices? Is there still a place for traditional marketing? And what does the future hold for the industry?

Matt Colley is Digital Marketing Manager at PRS and is a strong advocate of the reach of job boards and their accompanying flaws, but is the ‘post-and-pray’ model sustainable?  

“PRS use job boards because of the reach they have. There are companies spending millions of pounds every month on marketing and we can’t match their spend, but what we can do is tap into the candidates that would be good for our jobs.

“However, job boards predominantly have been “post and pray”. And, the problem with this model is that there’s no guarantee on what you’re going to get back. If they have a bad month, then you have a bad month. If they don’t go after your target market of candidates then that makes your target market smaller. They take up a lot of real estate, so when you’re trying to compete on job aggregation it’s quite hard. Having said that, the positives still outweigh the negatives.

“Increasingly, job boards are moving to a performance-related model. Why would you want to pay £100 for a listing when you can pay an average application of £2 to £3 and know that you’re going to get 30 or 40 applications, rather than not being 100% certain on your return?

“Job boards predominantly have been 'post-and-pray'. And, the problem with the post and pray model is that there’s no guarantee on what you’re going to get back ”

“Job boards have to adapt to a programme model. A lot of the big job boards are of the opinion that they’ll be fine and, to be honest with you, they will be as they’ve got such a big CV database and traffic reach. But, when you have sites such as Indeed and Jobrapido using cost-per-click models and more aggregators coming into direct employer recruitment and programmatic platforms coming onto the market, then the recruitment industry has to change.”

David Morel is CEO and founder of Tiger Recruitment and a firm believer in the power of print marketing when it comes to standing out from an increasingly-competitive crowd.

“We always try to be a bit different at Tiger. Most recruitment agencies advertise online and that’s all that they rely on. We advertise on job boards too but, by advertising in print, we stand out from the crowd because nobody else does it!

While most candidates are sourced through online job boards, there are a number of print publications that target specific areas; these will generate a better response than online – and in some cases, will even generate client enquiries.

“When looking at print advertising options, we review the readership volumes, the target market and the price point and, if it all lines up, I find that we can get a great ROI. I’ve had clients contact me directly to say they’ve spotted an ad in a printed publication, which proves to me that our brand is visible in the right places.

“We also see a great deal of benefit in print campaigns and quality printed marketing collateral; it’s critical to constantly evaluate, test and record what works vs. what doesn’t.

“Most recruitment agencies advertise online and that’s all that they rely on, but by advertising in print, we stand out from the crowd because nobody else does it! ”

“To make sure we get the right prices, we generally negotiate for the year ahead. We’ve had some of our supplier relationships for years, which obviously helps with our negotiation leverage.

“At the end of the day, it all comes down to ROI.”

Charlie Culverhouse is a Marketing Coordinator for creative, media, digital and tech recruitment agency Source and she’s a firm believer in thought-leadership content that isn’t, “everything for everyone in an attempt to have the loudest voice”.

“Thought-leadership content not only means we’re adding value to our audience’s newsfeed or inbox, but it positions us as market leaders that are knowledgeable and trustworthy. Simply telling people they should work with us is not going to convert and establish relationships. Offering insight, advice, industry news and tips is the best place to start.

“It’s also important to understand that everything has already been done and said. To stand out, we ensure our content is of the highest standard with contributors that are at the top of their game. We make sure we stick to what we know and specialise in and try not to be everything for everyone in an attempt to have the loudest voice.

“Always ask yourself why you are producing this content. If it’s for yourself then chances are it won’t do well. If you’ve created value that is solely for your target audience then you’re on course for a successful thought-leadership article. On top of that, ensure you are consistent with your tone of voice and that everything you’re producing aligns with your brand.

“Thought-leadership content not only means we’re adding value to our audience’s newsfeed or inbox, but it positions us as market leaders that are knowledgeable and trustworthy ”

“The near-permanent challenge in the face of this is getting it heard and seen, which will get harder as more noise is generated. It’s important to remember that success doesn’t come overnight; keep producing consistent content but be prepared to listen to feedback and hone your messaging to what your audiences want.”

Luis Rolim is Group Marketing Director at Phaidon International and is a strong advocate for the inclusion of events within an integrated marketing plan.

“People are core to how professional service firms operate and, as such, are integral to our marketing mix. We look at events to support both candidate and client acquisition through the marketing funnel.

“At the very top are larger industry or trade events, which help drive brand awareness with our target audiences. We then nurture contacts via middle-of-the-funnel events, such as webinars which are volume-driven and good for reach, driving contacts from awareness to interest and desire to work with us.

“We also believe in building in-depth relationships with our key clients and, as such, we carry out exclusive client events, such as networking events, round tables and dinners. These allow us to have quality conversations so that we can provide a consultative value to our key accounts globally.

“Events allow us to keep a finger in the pulse of what’s happening in the industries we serve, and ensure we are knowledgeable to our clients and partners ”

“Operationally, events give us a stake in the ground in terms of timelines and activities supporting it, bringing in cross-functional collaboration during planning and set up, through to direct and measurable leads to track ROI. They also allow us to keep a finger in the pulse of what’s happening in the industries we serve, and ensure we are knowledgeable to our clients and partners.

“It’s not uncommon for us to receive leads directly from event invitations – long before the event even happens.”