I was approached by a group of investors to provide marketing consulting services for their new job site venture. They have plans to develop an online portal in which job seekers and employers connect for mutual benefit, targeting a niche industry in a limitless marketplace. The website intends on generating revenue by charging employers an access fee.
1. Spending marketing dollars efficiently to drive job seekers to the website and post their profile
2. Differentiating the job site from competing job boards and employment career sites
3. Gaining traction and momentum to reach critical mass
4. Providing consistent on-brand messaging for all marketing communications touch points throughout the organization, including customer-facing communication
Key Business and Marketing Drivers:
The job site’s business model works on the premise that there is sufficient marketing investment (and efficiency of that spend) to drive up the number of qualified candidates in the database, and sales investment in getting the most employers possible to access the job site. Some of the key marketing and business drivers include:
1. Critical mass of qualified restaurant candidates and of relevant employers to drive up the number of ‘employer and job seeker connections’
2. Quantity and quality of candidates and employers, cost of acquisition, conversion and retention rates
3. Consistent messaging and economically viable client value proposition
Until the job site has critical mass it will be economically inefficient. Critical mass is when you have enough employers in any given market area (job type, location) that when candidates post their profile, they get some reasonable response from employers, and when employers who are looking for staff get a reasonable pool of qualified candidates to choose from.
Without this critical mass, neither party is likely to return to the website; and therefore however clever your marketing message and tactics to drive traffic to the site, visitor expectations will not be met, and they will not return, which is an inefficient use of marketing dollars.
The most imminent business success driver is reaching critical mass quickly in order to secure top spot in this niche. Candidates will frequent the website with the most relevant employers to them in their local area, and employers want access to their target candidates in their geographical space.
A critical component to overall success is for the sales and marketing teams to work in tandem, building on the same employer/candidate profile with a unified message. This will:
(a) instill confidence in the sales team that the candidate resumes posted are a potential match for their employer’s vacancies
(b) fulfill candidate expectations that they will be contacted by employers for their specific position profile in their location
(c) provide employers with the most qualified candidates that meet their criteria
Based on the key marketing and business drivers, the focus of a solid marketing and sales strategy should be on building the employer client base and candidate profile. The types of employers accessing the website drives candidates to post their resume, which in turn makes employer acquisition easier; employers and candidates must grow in parallel.
Marketing Strategy & Tactics:
The marketing investment and tactics used to drive candidates to post their resume are endless. One could spend thousands of dollars on hundreds of different tactics. While further research and planning would be necessary to develop a sound marketing plan, I will provide some preliminary comment in this area.
1. Use an integrated sales and marketing communications approach – clear and concise key messaging should be aligned and integrated across all customer-facing touch points.
Reinforce the job site’s message through all customer touch points including: sales collateral, website content, customer service communication, advertising and promotional messages etc. Disjointed messaging causes confusion in the marketplace, which doesn’t help drive sales. All of your marketing communications should live and breath the same message – consistently.
Practicing message consistency will cause people to respond to you just as you’d like them, so that when they hear the business name mentioned they make positive associations.
2. Build value in the offering and deliver on the brand promise. Developing a unique value proposition to deliver on is key.
A unique value proposition should be boiled down to short, concise benefit statements that the target customer can easily grasp. They should focus closely on what the candidate and employer really want and value AND what the job site can realistically deliver on.
Distinguish yourself from others who do similar work, affirm your true identity, highlight your unique value proposition and establish your reputation in the marketplace. Eventually a trusted brand earns customer loyalty.
3. Deliver the key message through a variety of channels based on the target market profile. Balance efforts to promote efficiency of investment.
Knowing your target market is as important as knowing what you’ve got to sell. Job seekers have a broad selection of tools in their job seeker toolkit and they will keep adding to their toolkit to increase their likelihood of finding a job they want. The job site should be positioned as one such tool – not the only tool.
Put the business in the target market’s line of site. Because of the nature of this particular market, online and digital marketing tactics are a natural fit. These channels could include but are not limited to: search engine results (through website optimization and search engine advertising), online advertising, interaction on social networks (Facebook, Twitter), promotional emails, word of mouth referral program, blogs or discussion forums.
Marketing tactics such as Twitter and Facebook provide a good communication platform for engaging in conversations with people and providing something of value to the conversation. In terms of converting time and money spent into revenue and profit social media is valuable but it’s much more a long game than a well-placed email and an efficient search engine optimization/advertising campaign.
The key to success is developing the right marketing mix for the job site, balancing the marketing investment in tactics that (i) promote brand awareness and build credibility, (ii) drive website traffic, and (iii) promote/advertise the unique value proposition.
4. Create an emotional connection with the target market (both employers and candidates) and make it easy for them to share their experiences. Empowering brand champions who will sell the brand on your behalf is the basis of successful viral marketing campaigns.
If the business can build value into their offering, provide the candidate (and employer) with what they want and value, to deliver on the brand promise, they not only increase the likelihood of gaining a customer, but also in gaining a potential brand champion. Brand champions will do the sales and marketing work for you, if they care enough about your brand and are provided with the appropriate tools to share their positive experience with others, easily and conveniently.
You can also empower and harness brand champions to increase the efficiency of your marketing spend (thereby decreasing your cost of acquisition). By providing the right mix of social media tools and providing an appropriate platform for sharing information, brand champions have the ability to communicate to a mass market – one to one to many. It’s a snowball effect of exponential communication. The acquisition cost of each candidate shrinks over time because you don’t have to spend top dollar acquiring each candidate one by one, because of the ‘one to many’ approach.