Music and Recruitment Marketing — Creating Your ‘Sound’ Through a Variety of Tactics

From the 1960s on, the guitar has played an oversized role in our culture. One reason for this is the variety of ways the instrument can be played, the wide range of sounds that can be obtained. From finger-picking styles (Chet Atkins, Mark Knofler of Dire Straits), to the use of the vibrato arm for expression and effect (Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck), to finger tapping (Eddie Van Halen, Stanley Jordan) to ethereal chordal effects (The Edge of U2, Andy Sommers of The Police), the diversity of guitar styles seem endless. By combining these, and many other ways to produce sounds, guitarists have multiple resources to draw from to produce different effects and different overall impacts on the listener.

In all these cases above, it is particular techniques, approaches — or tactics — that allow for the diversity of sounds and for the players to succeed in developing a “brand,” and in achieving “listener attraction.” Employer branding and talent attraction also require that organizations use a variety of marketing tactics to create a well-rounded talent attraction marketing strategy — their “sound.” Like different tactics on guitar produce different effects –think of a nylon string acoustic softly comping Bossa Nova chords vs. a cranked-up Fender Strat having its strings bent and shaken almost to snapping — marketing tactics provide different ways to connect with audiences, engaging prospective employees in different ways.

Display Ads

Eddie Van Halen

A display campaign, with limited space and time in view, has to achieve maximum impact in a compressed space. This is the short opening solo where you have to play your flashiest licks to capture attention and leave the audience impressed and wanting more. You effectively have to say one thing that gets people intrigued and inspires action. In recruitment, it’s typically a clear EVP that will drive applicants — the wage/hourly rate, schedule flexibility, PTO, tuition reimbursement, etc. The right message, presented in a compelling way, will result in people taking the next step and clicking through to your website/careers page. Your click through (i.e. action) rates will tell you how effectively your opening solo resonates with the audience, driving them to want to hear more.

Email

Email is a tactic that engages in a completely different way. This is the “song,” going much further into the scope of your sound, providing more substance. Space and time are longer; emails can contain larger amounts of content than display ads and they can be saved for as long as the recipient wants to retain it. Email can be used to give a more complete picture of employment with your organization and touch on multiple EVPs — career pathing, benefits, giving back. Since you can track which links in your email people click on, you can get feedback on what part of your message people find of most interest. Much like when you are performing music live, you can often tell what parts of a song get a stronger reaction compared to other sections.

Native/Content Marketing

While display and email are the flash solo and the song, content marketing is more like your entire set list, your “show.” Like a set list that determines the big picture scope and flow of your performance — balancing the pace and mood on a song-per-song basis — content marketing (essentially an article about you) weaves a story in a similar way. This can cover not only your EVPs but your culture, vision, and mission. It can feature employees, showcase your offices or volunteer activities, or cover all of this. Not so much the “what” (your jobs and pay) but the “why” (your purpose). You can set the mood and flow for different parts of the content (big picture/vision down to specific detail) and of the content overall.

Creating Your Sound

Like the guitarist who can pivot from soft chords to soulful rhythm to blazing leads, a multitactic recruitment marketing strategy will employ a variety of tactics to reach and engage audiences in different ways. Your display ads are the quick hit, email provides a larger snapshot of who you are and what you offer, and content marketing provides a complete performance, an experience. Combing display, email, and native takes advantage of the strengths of each tactic, giving you a robust talent-acquisition marketing strategy that will yield stronger results (more applicants) than any of the tactics alone.

Diversify your recruitment marketing tactics, create your unique multi-faceted sound, and rock on!

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Jeff Perry

Jeff Perry is an advertising executive at Star Tribune Media Company in Minneapolis. Star Tribune is the largest media company in the Upper Midwest, with the fifth-largest Sunday print circulation in the U.S. and a comScore Top 1,000 website that receives 7 million unique visitors per month. He is a also a professional musician who has attended Berklee College of Music in Boston and has a B.A. in Music from the American Conservatory in Chicago. Contact jeff.perry@startribune.com.