Nobody has seen this industry change like those of us who have been around for 20-plus years. Back when we typed classified advertisements on Selectric typewriters and sent them to the publication on TWX machines (that took six minutes a page), life seemed so complicated. A big decision was the color of Liquid Paper we should use on the "yellow" portion of the 6-part document. Does Canary or Buff match better?
However, looking back, it was relatively simple. There were only a few choices — the newspapers which held a geographic monopoly, or a specific trade association which could put a print advertisement in a newsletter or send out direct mail to its membership. It was a lot like throwing everything against a wall and seeing what sticks. Judgment calls were made by recruiters or solely on candidates' comments. Money spent with little return and/or no valid data was commonplace, even though the C-Suite continually asked for justification on why the bills were so high for the local newspaper.
In today's economic times, the thought of spending tens of thousands of dollars to run a full-page ad in the "careers" section of a local newspaper seems about as plausible as...well, Liquid Paper! This economic environment has pushed the HR industry to embrace these solutions and to accept that digital recruitment is much more than just a job posting or a local listing.
Within the current recruitment landscape, the focus has shifted to working through a myriad of options to understand how to allocate your precious budget to ensure maximum ROI. With the advancement of technology and the rapid acceptance of the Internet and digital space in general come incredible tools which allow us to judge outcomes and target specific audience segments prior to running any campaign program. And to prove that these programs work, we have the capability to track everything. For example, many times we can tell that "ad A resulted in a particular hire in B days from C source for exactly X dollars." It's far removed from the Sunday paper, and it's long overdue.
Decision support and prediction tools are nothing new to the HR industry. But the way in which they apply to choosing digital recruitment media is a relatively new, yet highly effective science, and one that includes statistical benchmarking. We are proud to be part of a company that has continued to push the industry forward, utilizing these methods for well over 7 years. Therefore we encourage you to work with your TMP team to look at your messaging, targeting and branding differently in these challenging times, and to sit down and analyze your results quarterly in order to optimize spending for the best results.
As you think about campaign optimization, keep in mind that tracking media involves our analytical team and comes with a minimal cost. Consider the value of an optimized fully-targeted program that's firing on all cylinders, versus an alternative shotgun approach that does not provide best exposure to the target audience nor maximum return on investment.
There will always be that friendly sales rep who calls and treats you to a fine dinner or lunch — telling you their product is the best thing since sliced bread... and that's OK. We like those reps as well. But as you sit down, keep in the back of your mind that the agency can monitor your media for you with consistent tracking and research metrics across all media. By looking at prior data and respected 3rd party measuring devices, in most cases your agency can provide information from past experiences before you commit your money. And once the buy is made, you don't have to sit back and hope for the best. Instead of trying to compare apples to oranges, your agency can ensure you are comparing apples to apples (for example, consistent definitions of a 'click,' 'view,' 'apply' and beyond). This will allow you to identify optimization areas before the campaign ends.
Everything these days can be backed up by research and metrics. The challenge is understanding how to normalize the information across several media, where to gather unbiased data, and how to optimize your budget. Take advantage of the research, planning and tracking — it's yours for the asking. And now that we've all arrived in the "media future," I'd like to ensure we introduce everyone to "Digital." Some of you are there, and some of you are ready to take the next step. Oh, and by the way, hold on — the best is definitely yet to come.
Questions? Comments? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.