Why Is Toothpaste Sold at Eye Level?

Aug 13, 2002

Why is toothpaste sold at eye level? It’s obvious right? You’re grocery shopping, and when you turn down the household goods aisle and, boom, there it is…that toothpaste at eye level. You grab it and head for the milk section. There is an analogy to recruiting in our scenario. But before we connect the dots, it’s important to consider what happened before and after the toothpaste purchase at the store. On our way to the store you noticed a billboard while waiting in traffic. Beautiful people, great teeth and a tagline that created a desire to look the same. The billboard ad may have reminded your subconscious about a commercial you had seen for “that” toothpaste and its extra-fluoride cavity-fighting formula. Over time, you had been branded not just by commercials but more importantly by emotional desire – you want great looking teeth. So when you walked down that aisle and saw that brand at eye level, you made a quick decision to act. And your action was primarily, if not completely, driven by emotion. Note: You may have been sent and directed to purchase that specific brand. The emotional driver may have been your spouse’s but the branding analogy is the same. Post purchase, the toothpaste is opened and used. And what falls out of the package? Two coupons: one to purchase more of the same brand and another to buy the kid’s version of “that” toothpaste, along with a strong emotional message about parents protecting their kids from cavities and bad teeth. This is not just a marketing ploy to persuade you to buy more. It’s an attempt to build a toothpaste relationship with you family. It may work. I haven’t forgotten about recruiting…but first the future. My neighborhood grocery store has done a good job persuading me to use their store discount card every time I visit and purchase an item. When I check out, the card is scanned; I get the discount; and they learn all about my purchasing habits. I can see a time in the near future when the store bundles a specialty discount opportunity for my family with the suppliers of the goods we typically purchase. I would receive an email that reads, Hank, We would like to thank the Stringer family for visiting and shopping at our store. To show our appreciation, we would like to give you a 20% discount on any of the following purchased for the next 10 days. And since you are such a valued customer we have prepared a grocery sack of your family’s favorite meal. Please either call or visit our website at to set a time to pick it up or have it delivered. Thanks! Farfetched? I don’t think so. I don’t mind my neighborhood grocery store understanding my buying habits and using that information to retain me as a client by providing me what I want at a discount and occasionally giving my family a good deal. They are, in essence, using technology to do what the old neighborhood grocer used to do: know me, cater to me, and maybe even call me by name. Tough to do today with the number of people shopping, but through technology the grocer can understand and scale personal meaningful relationships. Do You Recruit at Eye Level? Do you have a strategy in place to brand your candidate experience? Do you have compelling messages that make people want to join your company? Do you make these messages available to prospective candidates whether you’re currently hiring or not? Maybe you do, most don’t. The talent market is perceived as abundant, and though a national unemployment rate of 5.8% would indicate otherwise, companies appear to be approaching talent with the traditional, tactical mindset:

  • Careers are not that important, so we won’t make an effort to allow applicants to find career information on out website easily.
  • Send us a resume or your personal data, or send nothing at all.
  • We only want to see information on people who think they match our current openings.
  • If you don’t match you’ll never hear from us, though we send you an email telling you “we’ll be in touch.”

Is this indicative of your company? If it is, know that this is not strategic recruiting. And let’s just imagine for a moment that the market comes back (it will) and unemployment dips below 5.5%, possibly down closer to 4%. The Department of Labor predicts 151 million jobs and 141 million workers in 2005, which is just around the corner. Will your company be ready to compete for talent when the market gets competitive? Is it important to present and brand a positive experience for prospective candidates at your website today? Is it important to build relationships now so you can be aware of quality talent and they can be aware of your company when you have talent needs? Is it important to recruit at eye level? Of course it is, and the question we all should ask is why we are not doing it. Here are a few pointers on how to recruit at eye level:

  • Brand “Careers” at your website. Make it easy for prospective candidates to find.
  • Let the visitor tell you what they want to do quickly, and anonymously, if they choose. Remember, this is the beginning of a long-term relationship: all you need is an email address and the permission to market compelling information tailored to the prospective candidate.
  • Build the relationship by giving the prospective candidate what they want and need. Information, career opportunities, networking opportunities…you might even consider incorporating your products and services if in your space a prospective candidate is your consumer, or vice versa.
  • Brand your company and career site through honest emotional appeals. Compelling information that represents your culture and that you can deliver on. Companies competing for talent will have to be what they say they are, period.

It has been said over and over, but can never be said enough: talent is everything. Preparing now to compete for talent is imperative. Make sure you’re incorporating a strategic recruiting relationship experience for all visitors to your website today. The chances are great that these relationships could well be your competitive talent asset tomorrow, or the next day or the next. And what about the future of recruiting? Hold on, the strategic value of managing your company’s talent assets has just begun. We are at the dawn of new technologies, new leadership roles, new recruitment services and new models to provide all. This is the beginning of a golden era in Talent Management. Congratulations! Get on board. In the meantime, great recruiting!

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