Our look over the shoulder at the year 2000 continues. – John Sumser
(November 21, 2000) A brand is a relationship. In consumer branding, where Monster.com and HotJobs have shined in recent years, the equation is simple: paint a desirable image in the mind of the consumer that is designed to provoke purchasing behavior. Because consumer markets are huge, the game is a combination of direct marketing statistics, consistency in feel, innovation in delivery and articulation, investment in the brand itself and broad demographic targeting. Purchasing behavior in the Job Board business means buying into the idea that submitting your resume will work.
One of the most interesting features of all job boards is that, while they must be able to deliver extraordinary consumer advertising performance, revenue comes from an entirely different channel. Although consumer marketing campaigns create brand awareness in HR purchasers, the sales process involves a separate set of dynamics. Monster focuses on account style sales while HotJobs manages a phenomenal telemarketing sales force. At the income level, in other words, a brand involves a direct relationship with a human being.
Neither of these approaches is Employment Branding, however. There is at least some reason to suspect that companies with great consumer or B2B branding skills are less than likely to deliver powerful Employment Branding.
If Employment Branding were executed like consumer or B2B, there would be little discussion of the subject. With its focus on 1% behavior (1% of message recipients act on the message), consumer marketing is far too expensive and untargeted. The cost per relationship is prohibitive in B2B Marketing as well.
In the short run, this means that the Job Boards have created environments in which a Recruiter has a platform for delivering an Employment Branding campaign. To be sure, this means that their investment in interface design, branding and matching technology is an issue. The extent to which the internal rules of the game on any Job Board are clear, the playing field is level. By definition, their utility as a platform for message delivery is a function of one organization’s ability to distinguish itself from another in the messaging environment.
In other words, as a customer of job boards, you should expect a constant stream of tips and improvements that increase the effectiveness of your investment in their service. Otherwise, each new customer that they gain detracts from your effectiveness. A fair question for a Job Board is “What percentage of my fees are plowed directly back into product improvements and candidate acquisition?” A good answer is 15% for the first and 35% for the second.
Employment Branding involves much more than advertising jobs on job boards, however. Media placement is certainly an important question when developing an Employment Branding Strategy. It’s the execution end of a well honed strategy and only one component of the ultimate solution.