E-mail, Online Referrals, SEO, RSS – these are but a few of the interactive tools that recruitment marketers continue to research, implement, and continually optimize in a effort to produce truly accelerated results. While today some of these methods are still “controversial” and on the edge, I have no doubt that these and others will not only produce results, but they will continue to gain steam and eventually become a steamroller, flattening traditional forms of recruitment advertising – but maybe I just love interactive marketing and I am being dramatic.
During my usual scanning of general interactive marketing sites, I came across Friday’s OnlineSpin. MediaPost Publications’ OnlineSpin is a daily column with insightful commentary from online advertising gurus. Friday’s piece was by Mark Naples, Managing Partner at WIT Strategy, Just One Prediction For 2006: E-mail Will Flourish. I encourage you to read his thoughts. I should qualify that Naples’ focus is on general brand marketing and e-commerce, not recruitment. I subscribe to this type of content though, as I believe more and more that attracting top talent is increasingly dependent on developing a strong employer brand, and leveraging the power of E-mail to do this just isn’t that different from the power of a branded, well-executed shopping e-mail campaign. I do believe however that this brand needs to be built on truth, not on what a company is aspiring to be – but that is a topic for another post.
Naples so accurately describes in his article the power that e-mail has over a user’s undivided, self-selected attention – what other form of interactive marketing has this? I started my career in SEO and banner advertising, and the traffic producing results are undeniable. But, after a company draws a potential candidate to their corporate site through a search engine, banner, or contextual ad – the real question to me is how do they continually engage a passive candidate that needs to be kept aware of a company until the time is right for them to make a move? E-mail.
When a potential candidate opens an E-mail, when it is done right, they are immediately able to experience the employer brand – and their attention is undivided, they are not there to read the news or RSS feeds. Joel Cheesman in his blog post on email discusses using RSS for recruitment. He is right that RSS will no doubt gain in popularity as times goes on, but I think that focusing on an RSS strategy over the power of E-mail may be a little before its time. I don’t think that there are many other marketing vehicles that have the ability to create the type of exclusive, VIP feel that you get from receiving a personal invitation from a company that is interested in you. Have you received a Jobster E-mail? It hard to just delete that without feeling good that someone that knows you thought you might be someone great for company A. When the message comes from someone that knows you and the content is targeted and relevant, E-mail can be the most powerful interactive tool that we have today. It is no shock that these types of E-mails are driving huge response. Combine this with the matching and profiling capabilities of dating software and here is where I think that companies like Mkt10 have really hit upon something – but again, a topic for another post (you can read the Business Week article about it here if you want to skip ahead of me).
While the problem of undelivered E-mails and spam filters are REAL, this type of marketing continues to mature, and authentication may help solve some of these issues. “The benefit of authentication is that it ensures your messages don’t get blocked once the major ISPs start mandating authenticated e-mail. It already makes a difference at two of the biggest consumer ISPs– Yahoo! and Hotmail,” said Josh Baer, CEO of SKYLIST and co-chair of the E-mail Service Sender and Provider Coalition (ESPC) technology committee. “While it is not a complete solution, it is the necessary first step toward creating a framework for combating spam and phishing.”
According to Naples, Microsoft, Yahoo!, America Online, the ESPC, the Direct Marketing Association, the Internet Advertising Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission have all urged the e-mail marketing industry to adopt authentication standards. The ESPC and Direct Marketing Association (DMA) actually require members to implement an authentication standard.
For employers, executing E-mail the right way is an unparalleled way to brand their company and cultivate potential candidates. This will only get better as the industry grows and matures. While no one would argue that E-mail is the be all and end all, and it should absolutely be executed as part of an overall branding campaign, sourcing strategy, and candidate marketing tool. E-mail has yet to reach its full potential and will absolutely continue to flourish in 2006 and beyond.