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Posts Tagged ‘marketing strategy’


How to Apply Marketing Strategies to Attract the Best and Brightest When You’re Hiring

November 10th, 2010 :: Monika Jansen

Though I currently have two superb interns, I know that eventually I will have to write a job description and craft an ad to hire my first employee.  Because I’m a marketing person, why not apply some marketing strategies to attract only top quality applicants?  Why not indeed!  Finding great candidates for a job opening is basically lead generation.  You need to define your target market, position the job and your company in a way that is most attractive to your target market, and promote it through select channels.

Here is how to apply marketing and lead generation strategies to attract the best and brightest candidates when you are hiring:

Define your target market

Write a profile of your ideal candidate, and make it as detailed as possible.  Include:

  • All job experience, education, and certification requirements
  • How much supervision they will need
  • Traits they’ll need to thrive: motivation and energy levels; creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving skills; familiarity with specific technology, tools, and methods; sales and business development skills, etc.

Sell that job!

Write an energetic, attractive, and clear one-page description of the job that lists all responsiblities and expectations.  Action verbs, adverbs, and adjectives are your friends!  Be sure to specify what, if any, job requirements are non-negotiable.

Include a request for a cover letter and portfolio of work, if applicable.  If the job is a creative one and/or requires a great deal of critical thinking or problem solving, create a hypothetical situation and ask all candidates to describe (within a specified number of words) how they would address the situation/solve the problem.

Position your company as a great place to work

If your company is growing; the job is challenging; there is a great opportunity to learn new skills, lead projects, and grow with the company; the work environment is casual; employees can bring their dogs; telecommuting is allowed…mention it!

List all aspects of the company that make it especially attractive.   Start with your location and include information on your office building, qualities of the neighborhood, access to public transportation, and convenience to restaurants and shops.  Discuss salary and benefits in as much detail as you’re comfortable sharing.

Promote the job

Skip the large online job boards.  Post the ad on your website, relevant professional interest listservs, niche job boards, your Facebook page, and industry-specific LinkedIn groups.  (I would avoid Twitter unless you have a very industry-specific following.)  E-mail the ad to clients, business partners, and professional associations; include a note requesting that it be forwarded appropriately.

Image by Flickr user HiredMYWay (Creative Commons)

Women in Business: Marketing Strategy For Everyone! Part 2

July 26th, 2010 :: Monika Jansen

Emily RichardsBecause my friend Emily Richards of Drew Consulting, a full-service marketing consulting firm based in Falls Church, VA, had so much to say about marketing strategy and small businesses, I divided my interview with her into two parts.  You can read Part 1 here

Care to share a couple of success stories?

My client’s success is my success. I was brought in last summer to make recommendation on a project in Boston, MA for a residential construction client. The investors were ready to finalize the deal (and it goes without saying my client was as well). After we conducted our market research, the deal didn’t pencil. Our recommendation, while not popular, was to not pursue the deal. They reviewed our research and recommendation and killed the deal. It was a success for us in that while we didn’t provide our client with the information they were hoping to obtain, we contributed to ensuring they maintained a solid portfolio and didn’t compromise on a bad development decision.

Another was a strategy session for a start up client. They brought us in to conduct a session with their employees to ensure that everyone understood the purpose and direction of the company. At the time, the team was only about 10 people. As the session was conducted, you could see individuals making the connection of the business’s passion, their own individual purpose and how the two ‘fit together’. While this certainly didn’t have quantifiable results, the company has continued to grow successfully and is an incredibly close knit organization.

I’m always curious as to how other small business owners market their business. So, how do you market your’s?

Often, I find myself so entrenched in marketing other companies that I neglect the marketing of my own company. Most clients come by way of referral and word of mouth. We have begun branching out in traditional methods of marketing including, eblasts, social media campaigns and direct mail to companies in the area that are identified as growing/expanding companies that could potentially be in need of our services.

If you could give 3 pieces of advice to a small business owner putting together a marketing plan, what would they be?

1)      Don’t neglect the exercise

I’ve seen start up businesses and established businesses, alike, fail to place importance on creating a formal business plan and strategy. It is difficult to express your vision and purpose if you haven’t taken the time to sit down and think through high level goals and objectives for your business. In my opinion, it could make or break your entire vision. These goals and objectives are the premise upon which we build strategies.

2)      Be flexible (to the change and evolution of your original plan)

I had a client come to me last week and apologize. He wanted to make significant changes to a strategy he previously approved. While I certainly don’t encourage serial modifiers, you must be realistic that the strategy may (and will) change dependent on a myriad of factors within and out your of your control.

3)      Be thoughtful (both in current objectives and long term goals)

Don’t haphazardly select strategy initiatives. Just because your largest competitor launched a twitter contest, it doesn’t mean you should (necessarily) go out and implement the same. If you were to replicate their campaign, what outcome would you wish to achieve? If you say ‘just because my competitor has a twitter campaign’ is rarely sufficient to jump in head first without thoughtfully contemplating your desired outcome and overall results.

Women in Business: Marketing Strategy For Everyone! Part 1

July 22nd, 2010 :: Monika Jansen

Emily RichardsEmily Richards is the smart, funny, and energetic owner of Drew Consulting, a full-service marketing consulting firm based in Falls Church, VA. We were introduced at a BNI meeting (neither of us belongs) by a mutual business associate last winter.  When we finally got together for lunch in May, we had such a good time that I realized I’d found not only a new partner and referral source (and vice versa), but a friend.  Nice when that happens.

Because of Emily’s deep experience in marketing, I thought she’d have some useful information on marketing strategy to pass along to all of us small business owners.  She had so much to say, I’m dividing this blog post into two. Enjoy!

Why did you decide to go into business for yourself?  How long have you been in business?

Owning my own business has always been my dream. I began consulting on a freelance basis while still in corporate America. It was something I enjoyed and decided to pursue full time. I’ve consulted for 4 years.

What areas of marketing strategy do you specialize in/most enjoy?

I specialize in the actual development of marketing strategies; business development strategies (companies either in start up phase or expansion of an existing company); and market research. Typically all of the above mentioned areas go hand in hand. In order to develop new business, a business strategy, marketing strategy and market research are all necessary components. Market Research provides quantifiable data that supports my recommendations for marketing strategies. Marketing strategies are a driver in the success in new business development and ultimately, positive impact to the bottom line.  These specialties are also what I enjoy most. It’s a nice perk in small business ownership to align your specialties with what you most enjoy.

What are the biggest marketing challenges your clients face?  How do you help them overcome those challenges?

The biggest challenges my clients face are depressed economic conditions and a rapidly changing marketing landscape. While these are cliché challenges, they present obstacles I have to overcome on a daily basis. In a recessive economy, it takes more time and creativity to achieve the same results that came much easier in a thriving economy. My clients don’t necessarily have the allocation in their budget for the additional time and efforts. They spent less and earned more in past years. It’s a difficult concept for them to overcome. Secondly, technology is evolving at lightning speed. There are times when I simply do not have the answer as to the impact of a rising social media or interactive trend. I don’t enjoy not having the answer any more than they do. The positive spin to both of these challenges is the benefits of our global communication. There are many opportunities to create a strategy with grassroots focus at a minimal cost thanks to existing social media platforms.

Proving the ROI of marketing is not always easy.  How do you help your clients quantify the effectiveness of their marketing programs?

As I mentioned before, I feel proving the ROI of many marketing efforts today are significantly more difficult to quantify. I am very adamant [with clients] that there be some form of capture method to measure the impact of our efforts. It helps tremendously when there is a database that can capture leads, lead sources and sales. But there are many creative metrics [apart from databases] to capture this information ranging from analyzing Google analytics (to determine if a marketing material with a unique URL generated traffic to a site) to analyzing the click-through of an e-blast to monitoring the number of fans to your facebook (before and after a month long posting campaign). I like to measure leads, number of sales and the lead conversion ratio. It provides us the ability to determine how many targeted leads we need to obtain in order to reach the desired lead conversion rate and ultimately revenue goals.

Read Part 2 here.

Your Marketing Needs to Have a Target…

December 8th, 2009 :: Michael Dougherty

I wanted to call this post “Does Your Audience Have a Target on Their Back”, but I didn’t want to get people concerned that I wanted you to cause pain to your intended audience. Today’s piece of Marketing Knowledge Goodness is about the pretty simple, yet often overlooked, concept when you are creating your marketing piece(s)/strategy, the Target Market (Audience).

To get a definition out of the way, Wikipedia defines Target Market as:

A ‘target market or target Audience is the market segment which a particular product is marketed to. It is often defined by age, gender and/or socio-economic grouping. Market Targeting is the process in which intended actual markets are defined, analyzed and evaluated before the final decision to enter is made.

It’s a little wordy in saying this, but basically when you create a piece or strategy you should be thinking about who you want to receive and use/buy your product or service. Unless you are buying your own products…you should be the last person you want to draw the attention of. While you may think it’s cool, interesting, pretty, or a laundry list of other things…your intended target, or audience, may not. And at the end of the day, the customer who’s listening, using, and purchasing ultimately matters more than what you think. Harsh to say it, but it’s true.

Now this can be as generic as “I want to reach plumbers in the [insert your city here] area” or as specific as “I want to reach all the housewives between the ages of 24-35 with black hair that have two children between the ages of 1-6 who like lumpy oatmeal for lunch”. Either way, you are defining who the intended target, or audience, is and going to plan your content and design around appealing to that audience. Yes you are going to miss out on a larger number of people who don’t fit that definition, but are they really the people you want? Do you really want to just be able to say, “We printed 5,000 brochures and passed them all out?” Who are you trying to impress and what are you gaining by that? Or, would you rather say, “We printed 500 brochures to [insert specific target audience] and got a greater return on our investment”.

The next thing you need to determine, after you figure out your target audience, is what return on your investment you are satisfied with and how you plan to reach that. But that, dear reader, is a post for another time.

I’ll leave you with this, I was told by a client I was consulting for that you should “ignore coming up with who your target is because if you cast the widest net you’ll catch the most fish”. While the logic in that is kind of sound, sort of, let me ask you this, do you want to catch the most fish or the best quality fish?

For me, even if that means my numbers don’t look so hot on paper, I want the best possible value for my efforts. My rule of thumb is quality over quantity.

As always, you can also reach me on Twitter by sending a message to @wickedjava, or on Facebook at facebook.com/mcdougherty.

If you have been reading this far, thank you and stay wicked.