Why talent marketing fails to deliver? [podcast #27]

Why talent marketing fails to deliver?

Does this sound familiar: your company does a lot of talent marketing activities, but you are still struggling with getting more applications from better matching candidates?

Talent marketing – I also use the term HR marketing – consists of three primary activities, when done right, deliver different outcomes. I blogged about this here where I explained how modern HR marketing is so much more than recruitment marketing activities.

I’ve been working in talent marketing for about 18 years now. I saw going from doing nearly nothing, because it was never seen important enough to invest into being able to literally build brands with your own little hands without any help whatsoever.

I often describe this like we are Alice in the Wonderland looking at a whole new world with exciting and inspiring opportunities. it is no wonder, we can get a bit ahead of ourselves and forget about few pretty fundamental aspects of successful marketing.

Reasons why talent marketing fails to deliver

#1 Entertaining and amusing ourselves

Don’t be offended, but this is really common. What it looks like is us doing little things here and there that seem like fun to us. Or choosing media we love without really finding out if our talent audiences are using it as well.

This is the most common reason why talent marketing fails. I know this probably hurts, but I also understand why this is so common. Talent marketing is so much fun! It’s just that if our decision making is based on what seems like fun and nice to me, I’m literally trying to influence myself, and maybe people like me.

#2 Not having objectives or goals at all

Most talent marketing I see is based on random acts of marketing. These are also known as ad hoc ideas and actions. Someone sees something, becomes inspired and suggests you do the same.

Pam Moore from Marketing Nuts has identified four (4) signs your marketing is purely based on random acts:

  1. The activity or activities are not funded. There is no budget to actually do something meaningful.
  2. The action is not in the plan. What happens then is that what is actually in the plan gets the priority. An activity is unlikely to succeed if it gets pushed aside due to lack of time or not being a priority.
  3. The activity is not integrated into other activities you do. Your audience doesn’t understand how it linked to your other actions and messages. It is rather likely to confuse than add value.
  4. Because there is no plan, there are no defined metrics for success. You literally have no idea whether your activity was successful. How can you? You may assume it was, but the question is: All the time and effort that was put into this activity, should it have delivered more? You don’t know.

#3 Confusing your audiences with too many messages and media sexy terms

Imagine each message your company sends out there to be an arrow. Message 1 is a red arrow, message 2 is a yellow arrow and so on. The ideal scenario is that your company is shooting not more than five different color arrows, ever. Most companies shoot hundreds of different color arrows constantly.

Most companies confuse their audiences with too many messages. If you turn this around and think about yourself as a member of an audience to a business, any business. How many companies can you name that you can describe what they do in one sentence?

Another similar mistake is to use media sexy words and terms that everyone uses. How can you differentiate your message and company if you sound exactly like 500 other companies? You cannot.

If your employer branding collateral uses more than five adjectives or attributes to describe who you are and what you represent as a place of work, you confuse your audiences. And what happens when people receive confusing messages? They stop paying attention. And you lost them. This is how our brain works. The only way to go around it is to go the less is more -route.

#4 Failing to invite your talent audiences into a journey with your company

Imagine yourself going for a walk. You have this favourite route you like to take. You go past your grandma’s house, then past the flower park where you take a turn to left and walk all the way up to the traffic lights. After the traffic lights you go right and enter the walking pave across a beautiful forest. You walk through the forest and end up back to your home street. This is called a journey.

How companies mostly do talent marketing is that they either believe the talents are already on your home street. But if they don’t even know who you are, how could they know where you live? And if they don’t know where you live, how could you expect them to be on your home street waiting for you to open your front door and let them in?

Another common mistake how companies do talent marketing is they keep repeating that one leg go the journey like it was a broken record. It looks like you walking past your grandma’s house on a repeat. Do you ever get home? Nope.

Check out this Candidate Journey of the Information Era©️. We need to visualize our talent marketing like it was a journey. The talents we want to become aware of us, start to like us and eventually decide to choose us as their next place of work need to enter this journey with your company.

If you never got their attention, they are not going to convert. If they never knew the compelling truth about your company, they are unlikely to become fond of you and select you.

Talent Marketing fails to deliver when we fail to understand human behavior.

Candidate journey of the information era - Modern employer branding

#5 Talking about jobs and career opportunities to passive job seekers

Another hugely common mistake is to use career talk to members of your talent audience who are literally not interested in career talk.

If you have no desire to change your car or buy a new house – because changing jobs is as huge and as personal decision and investment as something like buying a new car or a house – all attempts to get your attention with marketing messages selling new cars and houses will go past your radar.

Most talent marketing fails because talent marketing messages are all about careers and job opportunities.

Check out 5 more reasons from this complementary episode of Building a Modern Employer Brand -podcast

#27 - 5 common reasons why talent marketing fails - Building a Modern Employer Brand Podcast with Susanna Rantanen

In this episode of Building a Modern Employer Brand, I share what seems to be the five (5) most common reasons for talent marketing to fail to deliver.

Episode length: 28:40 min

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