Four Things HR Can Learn From Marketing

With the consistent growth of concepts like “Employer Brand” and “Recruitment Marketing,” HR departments everywhere are adding another role to their already burgeoning workload: marketing. And while some elements of marketing were already there for some HR and recruiting pros, the level of expertise required has grown exponentially. So if you are finding yourself marketing without ever having cracked a textbook in that territory, here are some things to learn from marketing.

Be Consistent with Messaging. Frankly, don’t be all over the place. Whether you are conveying information on open enrollment, a workplace wellness program or open positions, be clear and consistent across all platforms. Don’t have a different job description on your website than on a job board and don’t have three variations of the workplace wellness program. Treat each campaign like a true campaign, with some up-front decisions about the language, the look-and-feel and the appropriate channels to use.

Massage the Message. What action do you want people to take? Make your call to action palatable, encouraging and appealing. Forceful, jargon-heavy or boring language can be a main reason for slow conversion rates. Depending on your culture, make it hip and playful or strategic and savvy. Words matter. Ask any copywriter about the power of words and you may open the floodgates.

Sell the idea. If you need or want to sell a concept, sell it. Don’t just tell people the boring who, what, when, where and why; persuade them. You can use the old 5Ws format to start (remember the tip about clarity) but throw is some attention-grabbing language that makes it compelling. Answer the So What? Or Whats In It For Me? right away.

And this is absolutely critical when it comes to recruiting. If you aren’t already up to speed on Employer Branding and how to entice and engage candidates, hit the books. Make sure you know what to say and where to say it.

Change Messages to Audiences Based on Needs. You may have similar needs from a wide variety of audiences, from potential candidates to internal departments, but it’s key to also know their differences and pain points. Just as if you were forming a strategy to market to teenagers versus retirees, think about what will resonate with vastly different groups. This doesn’t need to negate the point of being consistent, but maybe think about the best ways to reach them. Is it through an App? Social media? Or is a poster more appropriate? Take the time to think about what will reach and influence them and make a plan that aligns with those realities.

HR and marketing really do have a lot in common. When it comes to reaching humans with needs, the leaders in these two industries know what’s up. So, my HR friends, as you consider rolling out a campaign to your internal audiences or are focusing on external outreach to potential candidates (Recruitment Marketing), put on some Mad Men and have some fun.

This post is sponsored by SmashFly. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For more content like this, follow SmashFly on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and SlideShare.


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