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What’s good and bad in recruitment marketing in 2021 so far?

We’ve crossed into the autumnal part of 2021 (we aren’t sure how that happened either!) The world is opening up and it feels like we’re in a very different place from where we started this year. So how has the situation changed for recruitment marketing in 2021? What are the struggles, the potentials and the dreams for us recruitment marketers?

Challenges in recruitment marketing

For many of us one of the biggest challenges we still face is budgets. Business is rebuilding and heading back to March 2020 levels but with organisational changes and cutbacks that have had to happen it does seem that marketing has taken a back seat. There’s still the drive to change the world but as ever the financing behind those grand plans is questionable. This is particularly the case for big ticket items such as tech or new hires, both essential to pushing things forward but both on the backburner for now.

Marketers need to demand marketing budgets and educate businesses not to see them as a cost pit but as a tool to drive accountability and ROI.

Opportunites in recruitment marketing

Within the community the biggest opportunities right now centres around headcount. Building up marketing teams to either bring them back to full strength or to recruit extra support. Increasingly we’re hearing about teams bringing in apprentices or interns to help with offering a baseline level of support and dealing with some of the reactive tasks, freeing up other members of the team to be more strategic. 

If apprentices are something you might be thinking about, take a listen to The Lonely Marketer podcast episode where we cover just that!

Maybe this is the time when we learn how to manage the dynamic between reactive requests and proactive work. The constant battle between what others see as urgent and strategic work is ongoing but there’s the possibility that with more support in the team now’s the time to find the answer. 

If anyone finds the magic pill to that problem then let us know!

Dreams for the future

This is the part that we like. What does the future hold for recruitment marketing? As always technology features heavily. We all know that there are gaps within tech in the recruitment marketing sector, nothing does quite what we want it to so it’s about finding the right solution for you and exactly what you need to do. Often our tech dreams cover packages that are being used by consultants and other areas of the business so there’s work to be done building the business case and getting buy-in from all areas. 

Email marketing is having another moment too. We expect to see more experimenting with segmenting audiences, what messages resonate and finding out if, and how, email marketing can add to a wider engagement strategy.  Email marketing is not dead, many of us have just not been doing it right for a while

In our bones we also feel like strategy is going to be even more important in the next 6-months. The past 18-months have acted in some ways like a reset button and there’s more energy and drive to get going, to get sh*t done. But as we all know the best way to do that is with a strategy.

We need to get closer to understanding what recruitment businesses are training to achieve. What are their targets? Are new locations or verticals on the horizon? How will marketing play a role in that?

Over to you. Here’s to the rest of 2021, 2022 and beyond!

This article was created off the back of a Lonely Marketers huddle with some of the most senior recruitment marketers in the industry representing £100m’s worth of turnover and established around the globe.

This is a regular feature of The Lonely Marketers community which TwoEnds is proud to power as we aim to complete our mission of building the best recruitment marketing teams there possibly can be. You can more recruitment marketing ramblings here.

Tackling marketing automation in recruitment.

The number of automation tools on the market is increasing, seemingly, by the day. It’s easy to be slightly overwhelmed when you’re trying to work out what best suits your recruitment business, your team setup and your objectives. Not only that but what should your approach be when it comes to implementing them? 

What marketing automation tools are out there?

The marketing automation tools available to you comes down to your budget. You’ve got the heavy hitters like HubSpot and CandidateID and then more budget-friendly options such as Force24. In between, you’ve got options like ActiveCampaign, SendinBlue and Mailchimp and you could possibly shoehorn HereFish into this category too depending on what you’re looking to do. Then you’ve got more focused tools along the lines of SourceWhale that helps to create sequential email campaigns.

There are so many options that if you’re considering a tool to help automate your recruitment marketing it’s worth drilling down into exactly what you want to automate, your priorities and your approach so you select the right tool for you.

What should we be automating?

If we had a penny for every time we’d been asked this question…well, we’d have around 39p. 

The main activities that can be automated are:

  • Email campaigns
  • Content distribution
  • Contact tracking and management
  • Cold outreach
  • Webinars
  • Lead qualifying

There’s a temptation to run before you can walk when you start tackling marketing automation processes. In our experience, all that means is that you’re left with lots of half established processes and nothing is working quite how you want it to. Take HubSpot, the capabilities are huge and it’s easy to get caught up in the possibilities. This is where you need to focus and get the basics done right and ticking over before you move onto the next shiny thing.

What are the important things to consider when looking to automate your marketing?

There are always wider things to think about so here are our top 3:

  • Staffing resource – who is going to take charge of the system and automations? It might be to start with this can sit with an existing member of your staff but as the automations grow the workload will grow. If staffing is an issue then now might not be the time to get stuck into this new project.
  • More automation = more content – it’s always going to be challenging keeping up with the content demands when you begin automating. Now is the time to think about how you’re going to resource it. It may be worth building your bank of content now or you might have someone in your team whose responsibility is to create content anyway.
  • Contact management – it’s likely that even if you have an all singing all dancing marketing automation system at some point you’ll need to pass over MQLs to whatever system your consultants are using e.g. Bullhorn. But how do you hand over those contacts and then make sure that that contact isn’t receiving double the amount of communication? Can you ensure that or is it a risk that you’re happy to take for now? Recruitment marketing is so uniquely set up, particularly in terms of systems, that this is an issue that needs thinking about before you crack on.

Sales vs. marketing automation

As we’ve just touched on, there’s a difference between sales automation and marketing automation. But should there be? Surely sales automation is focused on communication and, arguably, marketing might be better placed to do that. 

Does marketing automation allow us to dip our toe into the, potentially frosty, waters of sales automation – providing templates, collateral and content for aftercare and follow-ups? 

Maybe that’s a bigger can of worms that needs saving for a different day.

The holy grail of integration

With the tech stacks available in recruitment marketing right now it’s very unlikely that you’ll have 100% integration between your marketing automation system and your recruitment CRM. That seems like something we all have to accept for now. The question we want to leave you with today is, if we do accept that then what’s the minimum we want, or need, to be able to do?

This article was created off the back of a Lonely Marketers huddle with some of the most senior recruitment marketers in the industry representing £100m’s worth of turnover and established around the globe.

This is a regular feature of The Lonely Marketers community which TwoEnds is proud to power as we aim to complete our mission of building the best recruitment marketing teams there possibly can be. You can more recruitment marketing ramblings here.

Navigating the world of recruitment tech.

Over the years recruitment tech has become marketing’s best friend. Or has it? The opportunities and efficiencies it can provide make it essential for our day-to-day jobs. The possibilities afforded by tech are only hampered by how much, or little, time we have! 

Technology can be a great way to bring sales and marketing together. That might be through platforms to share resources, it might be through lead tracking or it might be levelling up consultant comms with candidates and clients.

What tech and recruitment tech are we using?

There’s an app for that. Literally. There are so many software programs, plugins and apps that it can sometimes be overwhelming. We’ve done a quick round-robin of some of the community and this is the common tech that recruitment marketers are currently using.

Messaging

Project management

Content creation and planning

Video production

There’s always a worry with bringing in new platforms and recruitment tech. After all, unless the people who need to buy in and start using it fully the tech will be redundant no matter how diligently you plug everything into it! One approach is to do a pilot with a smaller group of consultants or senior leadership. Work with them to show them what’s in it for them, explain the value it brings and really break down why they need to bother. Once you’ve then ironed out the kinks and they’re won over, roll it out to the next group.

What are the limitations for recruitment tech for marketers?

For all its benefits there are definitely limitations when it comes to technology in the recruitment marketing sector. Technology divides itself into a CRM system with all the quirks and functionality needed for day-to-day recruitment, and a marketing system. Never the two shall mix, and never the two shall talk. That means there’s a whole bunch of manual work still to do if you want to attribute leads, look at conversion rates or pull together a report on marketing’s ROI.

We hear about the frustration of needing more insights but struggling to extract those. 

There’s a gap in the market that needs to be filled.

What’s the dream tech stack for recruitment marketers?

The dream, the panacea for recruitment marketing teams feels quite simple. It’s to have a collaborative sales and marketing system – recruitment tech that works in harmony while delivering the functionality needed for both consultants and marketing. The reason this feels simple is that in the world outside of recruitment you can get systems that integrate. But they haven’t conquered the recruitment marketing sector. There are solutions that come close, but they aren’t there…yet. 

Until they make the developments or a new product enters the market, we’ll have to keep tinkering and joining the dots ourselves while dreaming of the perfect system. We’d love to hear what you’d look for in a dream recruitment marketing tech stack and how close you are to achieving it!

Have you got any tips for successfully introducing recruitment tech that we could share with our community? Anything that you’re using that other recruitment marketers will benefit from?

This article was created off the back of a Lonely Marketers huddle with some of the most senior recruitment marketers in the industry representing £100m’s worth of turnover and established around the globe.

This is a regular feature of The Lonely Marketers community which TwoEnds is proud to power as we aim to complete our mission of building the best recruitment marketing teams there possibly can be. You can more recruitment marketing ramblings here.

The challenge of making your recruitment marketing ideas a reality

Frustrations are always there for recruitment marketers. We often sit there with the best ideas in our head, on our notepad or in a draft email that we fear nobody is going to pay attention to. But how do we do better? How do we show that recruitment marketing is more than what many think it is? We can all appreciate that there are immediate business needs that need attention now and again but a marketing strategy can pay dividends and really elevate all of our roles to the next level.

Reactive vs. Proactive

As with all recruitment marketing teams, being pulled into reactive activity takes time away from more strategic recruitment marketing planning. 

This happens more when there are fewer marketing heads in a team. How do we get the balance right?

One way to combat the ‘reactive activity’ is through empowering your consultants to self-serve with pre-prepared centralised toolkits. This central bank of resources can include presentations, case studies, Canva templates and so much more. By providing branded resources you’re controlling the materials being sent out without tying you to creating the documents from scratch every time somebody asks you for them. 

Freeing your team up from reactive activity also allows you to look at the split of time between different brands, teams or locations. It’s so easy to gravitate towards a particular team if they’re being helpful, responsive and have bought into the impact marketing can have. The danger with this is that some teams become overlooked and under-resourced from a marketing perspective. This is when looking at the business’ goals comes into play as you can use that to decide the balance of marketing resources. Ensuring that there’s a conscious split that will support the overarching business objectives (and ultimately boost your standing within the business).

Let technology take the doubt out of the process. And save you time.

Technology should be a key part of your marketing function now. Making you more efficient, more automated and giving you back more time. With so many options available you’re only really limited by your budget. We’ve all heard of Herefish, Paiger, Hubspot and many others and the difference they can make is huge. 

While marketing teams love technology to drive automation and setting up workflows, there is still a challenge around getting consultants to buy into using it fully. This could be that they feel less in control of an automated email sequence or maybe they’ve seen success with their methods and are reluctant to change. A block to new recruitment marketing ideas can simply be getting the buy-in they need from across the business, whether that’s from consultants or leadership. That needs to change. By either focusing on a single team to prove concept or if you’re the more assertive type, by brute force!

Show me the money!

Many of us will know that marketing teams don’t tend to hold a budget of their own, or if they do there will undoubtedly be a few things in it that you disagree with! That means that every new spend more than likely requires sign off. If you’re lucky the leadership of your business will be aligned with marketing’s goals and support new ideas and initiatives. Otherwise, you face the exhausting challenge of justifying and creating a business case every time. A clear budget demonstrates the commitment to marketing and allows more creativity when it comes to recruitment marketing ideas, without the fear that if something doesn’t work it will jeopardise future budget requests. 

Influencing those types of decisions from leadership can be a big jump if you’ve never had those responsibilities before. Taking time to establish your authority and knowledge relies on you shouting that little bit louder, and it doesn’t hurt to be armed with a list of examples of your wins! 

Your ideas for content and other marketing activity in recruitment gets caught up in so many other things. If you’re forever dealing with reactive requests you won’t have time. If you don’t have any budget you don’t have the money to try new things. If you don’t have the influence you won’t get sign-off from the top. Having the time, resources and creativity to create killer content and ideas relies on having the infrastructure around you – so the real question is how can you create that infrastructure? How can you build that strategy? Of course we’re going to say this, “we can help.”

This article was created off the back of a Lonely Marketers huddle with some of the most senior recruitment marketers in the industry representing £100m’s worth of turnover and established around the globe.

This is a regular feature of The Lonely Marketers community which TwoEnds is proud to power as we aim to complete our mission of building the best recruitment marketing teams there possibly can be.

What makes great recruitment marketing teams?

The age-old question, what makes great recruitment marketing teams? It’s a question that so many of us try to answer to justify our teams, our growth plans and as a goal to aim for. But can you ever achieve ‘greatness’ or is it a moveable goalpost that shifts backwards every time you edge a step closer?

What defines great marketing teams in recruitment?

There are different ways to define great. For some, it’s probably clearer than for others. Benchmarking against other marketing teams and their performance is maybe the most logical approach. When you look at the top 20% of marketing teams what they have in common is that all the basics are there. They’re activity focused, competently run and have fixed their data black holes. When you push to the top 5% of teams it’s clear that they’ve started to focus on building a community, establishing their business as a specialist and they’ve got tracking ROI nailed (as much as you possible can anyway). 

Recruitment marketing teams vs. Consultants

But is there a paradox between how marketing defines success vs. how leadership in your recruitment business judges it? Often it’s a challenge to get the board to understand why certain things are being done, or not being done. That feeds into putting significance on tracking and measuring success, with it often seen as vanity metrics rather than essential feedback. 

That tension can also be seen when trying to define what is a marketing lead and what’s a sales lead. Let’s be honest, often it’s a mixture of the two – with a candidate coming off the back of a marketing managed platform or piece of content and then sales sealing the deal. But, systems and consultants don’t always want to take that joined-up approach. Systems and manual processes can be a time drain for many marketing teams. Many of us spend extra time double-checking leads and manually updated source tags to try and gather accurate data. It seems that there isn’t the perfect tech solution that marries together the sales requirements with full marketing capabilities. Maybe that’s another reason why it’s difficult to quantify what a great recruitment marketing function looks like?

“If only we had…”

One of the other challenges of defining what a great team looks like is the constant battle between resources and what we can do. At some point there needs to be a conscious decision about what we’re not going to do, usual suspects are internal comms or maybe PR. Drawing that line in the sand helps focus us on what we need to be doing to support business growth and with being realistic about our capacity. The trouble with that is everything else is always there niggling away in the background. If you know you aren’t doing everything surely you aren’t a great marketing function? 

Focus on you. Not others.

Perhaps our view of a great team shouldn’t be graded on an external perception of other teams. Is it instead of looking at what your team can achieve with your resources? If that’s the case then having automations and processes in place that maximise your productivity should be key to being a great marketing function. Automations should cut out repetitive, unnecessary thinking time allowing your team to be more productive and effective, in other words enabling them to get more work done. Isn’t that what a great function is all about?

We’re really interested to hear from you about what you think makes a great marketing function and any examples of that in practice. For us, it feels like we can’t define it. At this point, there are so many external limiting factors – tech, resources, business structure, culture, that no matter how well we’re doing we can see how much more we could do. How we could improve results and streamline processes if only we had more. Instead of creating a catch-all definition of great, it’s about looking at the structure of your business and creating a vision for what great looks like for you and your team and then using that as inspiration to move forwards.

This article was created off the back of a Lonely Marketers huddle with a number of the most senior recruitment marketers in the industry representing £100m’s worth of turnover and established around the globe.

This is a regular feature of The Lonely Marketers community which TwoEnds is proud to power as we aim to complete our mission of building the best recruitment marketing teams there possibly can be.

Recruitment marketing specialist skills in 2021. What do you need?

The past twelve months have been a challenge for every industry and for those working in recruitment marketing it has been no different. Now that the world is slowly returning to some semblance of normal we are looking at how our recruitment marketing teams and their growth plans have shifted since early 2020 and what the makeup of a team could/should look like when it comes to blended skillsets. 

Pre-March 2020, many teams were looking to bring in marketing specialists in certain disciplines. Roles and opportunities were being created for highly trained/focussed people with a particular skill, usually video or content. But has there been a shift?

A pandemic-led shift in required marketing skills?

With furlough and redundancies having an impact on staffing levels, the need for generalists has once again come to the fore it seems as marketing teams in recruitment look to scale their activity rapidly.

Many marketing functions need individuals who can pick up any task at any point. The pandemic shifted the focus within recruitment businesses and in some cases marketing became more important than ever to maintain visibility throughout a time when actual recruitment activity plateaued in many sectors. 

Certain questions started to be asked. What needed prioritising? How could we strip marketing back to its essential function and outsource where needed? 

But now, as we get back into the swing of things, what is the future for recruitment marketing specialists? Not only that but what’s the progression for those in specialist roles and how can you keep them for longer?

There’s limited career progression for someone like a videographer in a recruitment marketing team, it’s unlikely that specialists like this will have a true ‘career’ in a recruitment firm unless there is a laser focus in that area from the company. But that doesn’t mean there are not career opportunities if they really want it and are maybe willing to pivot a little (sorry, that phrase is still about).

How do you grow a recruitment marketing team?

The ability to grow a marketing function in recruitment rests on the success of the business as a whole, making it difficult to commit to certainties around opportunities and projects for specialists. You can however offer wider training to some so they can develop as a generalist (if they want to of course). Generally though, there is an acceptance that after 18 months – two years somebody with a very specific skillset will likely be looking to move on. 

Another reason for moving away from a team of recruitment marketing specialists with specific skills can be around succession planning. For those that head up a team of marketers, they can struggle with succession planning for their own roles. Fellow team members may not have the breadth of knowledge that would empower them to step up if needed when they are focused on a specific marketing discipline. Keeping generalists in the team, and offering training or projects to keep them interested creates a clearer career path when growth allows. 

What about the wider team structure though, such as junior staff members? Could you hire marketing apprentices to fill a need? But then how do you approach training them, in particular, how much of your own time do you invest in them? There are mixed views on apprentices with some having brilliant experiences and others not so much. But when it comes to training new starters the advice is to use your other team members. Not only will it be a great experience for those without direct management responsibility but it removes some of the burden on a single person in the team.

Do you need experience in recruitment marketing?

Finally, is experience in recruitment needed for new hires in our marketing teams? If you’re bringing somebody in without any recruitment marketing experience, particularly a generalist, then it’s a steep learning curve. One that will involve a lot of your time and some hand-holding. It’s a topic that divides opinion so we’d love to hear your thoughts.

If you’re looking to bring someone into your team do you specifically look for recruitment experience or do wider credentials and personality come first? Does it depend if you’re looking for a recruitment marketing specialist or generalist?

It’s a cop out answer, but it depends.

This article was created off the back of a Lonely Marketers huddle with some of the most senior recruitment marketers in the industry representing £100m’s worth of turnover and established around the globe.

This is a regular feature of The Lonely Marketers community which TwoEnds is proud to power as we aim to complete our mission of building the best recruitment marketing teams there possibly can be.

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