The Workplace

GuyWhy are business cards still used, and why does this outdated form of marketing still exist, along with branded tea mugs? This confuses me.

When I trademarked my approach to workplace engagement, it was because of my strong belief that for our people to succeed, they need four things: the promise of professional development; a choice of benefits and rewards; an engaging working environment; and, most importantly, the tools to be able to do a great job.

While people are excited by the idea of rewards, promotions and having fun, what is still being sidelined is giving our people the tools to succeed. The latest software, state-of-the-art IT infrastructure, the newest phone systems, contractor care teams, a client-facing finance director – nobody can deny their necessity, yet as an industry we’re inconsistent in our emotional and financial investment in making them happen.

As for marketing, it’s something we often still don’t attach enough importance to. This is surprising, when the modern workplace demands a significant investment in our brand, both from a client-candidate perspective and in our employer brand to attract talent.

Whereas once marketing was the black sheep in the recruitment family, with the rise of social media strategies and the increasing difficulties of differentiation, a fully invested marketing team is now integral to the infrastructure we provide our people.

As it becomes an extension to sales, there’s a real need for marketing to influence sales – not the other way around. I was once told that you should spend 2% of your net fee income on marketing, and that one person can look after it all. Clearly, this is no longer the case.

Companies that have taken full advantage of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have thrived in the modern market. Just look at Innocent, which made just being seen with their product as important as the juice itself when it curated tailored content for all platforms. Or Dogs Trust, whose ‘Dogs at Polling Stations’ hashtag was trending higher on general election voting day than the political parties themselves.

And look at the innovation shown by engineering recruitment company Fircroft, which won this year’s Marketing Team of the Year at the Recruiter Awards – there’s a business that recognises the importance of its approach, as indeed do the major players.

LinkedIn as a platform has revolutionised the way recruiters work, with our employees coming to understand the benefits of creating their own personal brand – something they can do only with the help of a support team. Allowing more interaction with our customers, marketers can feed us information on their likes, dislikes, views and behaviours, so we can avoid sending potential candidates and clients irritating emails about banking when they’re actually in retail.

We know the power of building an employer brand and the impact it has on attracting talent and building our businesses – although who really sees this through?

The story that research tells us time and time again is that to be successful, marketing should be 80% original content – not possible without the help of our marketing wizards. The days of searching through random applicable articles to post should be gone.

Sophistication in using a brand to support our people and influence what they do should be an essential ingredient in building a successful sales operation.

So with new companies such as Brighter Box and Recruiting Social tapping into the younger generation’s use of social media, it’s time to innovate and fully embrace the power of marketing.

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