Target audiences in HR marketing are essential to recognise and summarise for effective marketing and results.
In today’s episode of the Building a Modern Employer Brand podcast, we talk about how to work with target audiences in talent marketing or HR marketing, if you prefer using that term.
Targeting your marketing, especially for employer branding, continues to be somewhat troublesome for many HR and employer branding professionals.
Who should be included in your target audiences?
Why being specific is the key to success?
These are the two key questions I will answer in today’s episode.
My name is Susanna Rantanen, and I coach and consult branding, marketing and communications for HR Industry professionals and growth companies!
Welcome to the Building a Modern Employer Brand podcast! Let’s get started with today’s episode!
Working with target audiences in HR marketing
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Who are our talent target audiences in HR?
HR has multiple target audiences.
Obviously, we target our current, former and future employees. But we also have stakeholders to target some of our messaging and communication.
Examples of key stakeholder when working with target audiences in HR marketing are:
- top management
- hiring managers
- recruitment agency partners
- local employment office
- universities and colleges educating our target audiences
However, working with a wider audience such as “current, former and future employees” will turn your HR marketing efforts null, as in nothing.
The problem is, when you try to target everyone with your message, your message must be overly general. And when your message is overly general, it isn’t relevant to anyone.
Which turns your talent marketing and communication efforts into a failed operation.
That is why you need to be specific about your target audiences in talent marketing.
The only way for you to successfully convince and convert your intended target audiences is to be very specific about whom you want to reach.
How to become more specific about talent target audiences
Do you know what makes social and digital marketing so wonderful for us?
The ability to target to use our marketing resources wisely.
But you cannot make the most of social and digital marketing unless you put some effort into specifying who makes your ideal target audience.
Instead of referring to your target audiences as current, former and future employees, segment your in further detail.
Segmenting your current employees for HR marketing purposes
Segment your current employees in the following manner the way it best applies in your organisation:
- Full-time, part-time and temporary employees
- Juniors and seniors, based on their years of work experience
- Newcomers (< 6 months in the company) and long-term employees (for they see your organisation through very different lenses)
- Hiring managers
- Recognised opinion leaders
It’s vital to understand that within your “current employees”, there are many individuals with very different motivations, needs, desires, expectations and wants from your communication and your organisation.
When you know what segments you have, targeting your messages will be much easier and make more impact on your audience.
But not just that.
Knowing your target audience in more detail lets you collaborate with them when you want to target their counterparts outside your organisation.
Segmenting your former employees
Do you ever think about your former employees when you need to hire or when building your company’s employer brand?
The bigger the organisation, the more extensive value can be received from your former employees.
Not only are they an excellent target audience for talent acquisition already know your organisation and probably many of your people, making the onboarding faster.
They have also built professional networks and relationships and collected experience outside your organisation.
When they return, those [experiences and networks] may be extremely valuable for you, and apply these for your business’s benefit.
Segmenting all your former employees may be too big of a job.
Invite each team manager to segment with you like this:
- Those who your company wants back. You want to start rekindling your relationship with these people.
- Those who you should proactively continue to be connected with. Make plans to regularly keep in touch with them.
You should also make this part of the exit process with the hiring manager.
Discuss how the team manager sees the future of this person. Do we want them back, and should we pursue a connection with them or not?
Segmenting your future employees for talent marketing
This segment needs your special attention.
First of all, you know very well that you will not hire everyone.
Start by categorising the key skills, qualifications, personality traits and values of those talents who match your company mission, values and most significant cultural expectations.
Cultural expectations refer to how we work here. The norms of your internal workplace society.
You also need to segment your future employees into those your business needs now and whom your business will likely need over the next 2-3 years.
Businesses go through so much change these days that whom you hire today may not be whom you need to hire in the coming years.
Segmenting these target audiences separately reminds you of the importance of planning and implementing how to grow their awareness of your future recruitment needs.
Recruitment audiences vs employer branding audience
Those who are needed now are your recruitment audience.
Those who are needed in the coming 2-3 years must be included in your strategic employer branding audiences.
When working with future employees, there are always characteristics that make a person a desirable candidate for you, regardless of the position you are considering.
What are those characteristics? Write them down. Those are essential ingredients when working with employer branding.
The applicants you reject
For employer branding purposes, you may want to create another segment for talent acquisition specifically.
These are those applicants you decline. How do you ensure they still get a great experience with your company despite being rejected?
That needs to be part of your talent acquisition strategy, as their candidate experiences directly impact your reputation and how they talk about you to their peers. Who may well be talents you do want to impress and hire.
Segmenting other HR stakeholders
Finally, your company has other stakeholders important to be kept informed and aware of what’s going on in your company.
Categorise these audiences into segments you need to need to regularly maintain contact with and those who you don’t.
When you see whom you need to communicate and about what, you can plan those activities into your overall HR marketing and communications plan.
All in all, when you become more specific about your talent target audiences, you will notice how much information they give us about their likes and dislikes and their needs and desires.
And that’s exactly what will make your talent marketing job easier.
What is the key benefit of becoming more specific about your target audiences?
The key benefit of becoming more specific about your target audiences is the impact you gain.
Your marketing messages will be much more effective when they speak to your audience’s needs, pains and desires.
When you use their language and refer to topics they find familiar, relevant and exciting, your messages make more sense to them.
Making sense is essential if you want that recipient to do something with your message. And you do. You want your recruitment audiences to apply for your vacancies.
And you want your employer brand audiences to start following your employer branding communication and marketing to become better aware of why they need to consider you and, eventually, want a job in your company.
If you are not specific about who needs to listen to your talent marketing messages, your marketing has zero impact. It fails.
Let me turn this around.
What do you lose if you are not specific about your target audiences?
What if you are not specific about your target audiences?
Do you miss out on something?
What do you lose?
- You have no proper idea of where to find your target audiences.
- What channels and media to use will become a question. You may be trying to reach your target people in the wrong places!
- You don’t know what is on their minds and which topics are relevant. You won’t get their attention if you are not addressing the right topics. And without attention, they are not in your audience. They are in some other company’s audience.
Do you understand how essential it is to be more specific about your target audience?
When you know what types of people should belong in your target audience, you have the tools to do more research in locating them and finding out how to address them to get their attention and start a conversation.
So much of your recruitment marketing and employer branding budgets may go to total waste if you are not specific about who needs to hear your message.
Who you need to convince and eventually convert to whatever marketing goals are supporting your attempt to reach your HR marketing goals?
Let me ask you something?
Do you find segmenting your target audiences difficult?
What makes it tricky? Help me to understand.
I could do another episode going deeper into this matter!
Ok, that’s all for this week, my friends!
My name is Susanna Rantanen, and I teach, coach and consult employer branding, marketing and communications for the HR Industry professionals who want to build a successful career and get the life you deserve!
I’m looking for new coaching clients, and if you are looking for a coach to help you to build your personal brand as a talent acquisition or employer branding professional or as a coach in the HR industry, contact me to set up a free discovery call to see if I might be the perfect coach for you!
Thanks for listening! Until next week!