Recruiting Is Marketing

Minneapolis, Minnesota. Image has been cropped.

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On November 17th I’ll be facilitating a roundtable discussion for work at HealthPartners in Minneapolis.  “Recruiting IS Marketing” is the theme for the event and I’m excited to bring the best of marketing and recruiting practices together as well as learn what other major employers in the Twin Cities are up to with their Talent Marketing efforts.

I’m planning on introducing basic concepts like consumer behavior, marketing management, etc. courtesy of my MBA coursework at St. Thomas and how each of them is vital for organizations to leverage moving into 2011 and 2012.  We are fast approaching (believe it or not) a very significant shortage of skilled talent as our economy continues a shift from an industrial base to a knowledge base. The battle lines are being drawn …

Any major marketing organization, like a big box retailer, is in the midst of final preparations for Q4 business (their version of the battle line).  They’ve spent the past 12 months (since the end of the prior Holiday season) leveraging marketing practices to understand, engage, influence, and drive consumer purchasing behaviors.  They’ve built loyal followings and preliminary engagements via social media, have a presence on search engines, have optimized their advertising channels, invigorated their websites, and prepped their operations and processes as part of their execution strategy.  So, why am I talking about retailers and marketing?

Because, recruiting IS marketing!

Talent Acquisition / Retention should be in the business of executing an organizations overall business level strategy.  It is the Human Capital of an organization in an ever increasing global knowledge based economy that enables success or leads to failure.  Recruiting organizations are far too often leveraging antiquated methodologies when it comes to acquiring talent for their companies.  Bridging the gap between their B2C or B2B marketing efforts with their recruiting efforts should be a primary goal for Talent Acquisition in preparation for the impending shortage of skilled talent. A synergy between corporate marketing and human resources creates organizational efficiencies and drives additional value (and results) for both departments.  After all, job candidates are customers and customers are job candidates.

The battle lines are being drawn and plans are being made … the decisions that are made in the coming months will determine who gets the sale (or candidate) and who doesn’t in 2011 and 2012.


Coopetition via Social Media and Personal Brand

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

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Coopetition or Co-opetition is a business term defined as cooperative competition.  It is a unique strategy where competitors unite within a specific marketplace by leveraging each others assets in an effort to gain market share, drive revenue, protect image, gain recognition, etc.

While most common in the business world (example:  Boeing and Lockheed Martin’s United Space Alliance ),  coopetition extends itself into our personal ecosystems via social media outlets like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Each of us has a personal brand that we build via social networks and that we utilize for gaining our own market share.  Our market may be friends and family, reuniting with former classmates, or even looking for job.  LinkedIn is a perfect example of coopetition … our personal and professional brands live in unison with other network connections on LinkedIn that typically have similar backgrounds or skill sets yet we  leverage the power of their connections or networks to further our own interests – whether to generate new business, get a new job, recruit a candidate, etc.

The power of social media is the opportunity to take one of the most powerful business strategies and apply it to our personal and professional lives – to cooperate and compete … for new friends, new relationships, or new jobs.

The Bucket List – 100 Things To Do

I stumbled across this site while reading another blog – what an amazing journey this person has been on.  Rather than practicing the coulda, woulda, shoulda philosophy – this guy made a list of 100 things he’d like to do in life, also known as a bucket list,  and is slowly but surely accomplishing each of them.

Taking a look at his list reminded me that not everyone takes advantage on opportunities to become self fulfilled rather than financially secure.  Granted, financial security is an important part of life (right?!) … but, if it comes at the cost of not being happy, not finding love, not being whatever – then you’ve wasted your life.  It’s as simple as that.

I made a list (not of a 100 things) that I wanted to do in 2008 and with the completion of my MBA will have completed it. I’ve been skydiving, went golfing, ran a 6:10 mile, etc.  Getting the MBA has sidetracked me from a lot of “fun” things that I wanted to do in the past 2 years (and is one the “bigger” things that I wanted to do).

Graduation is around the corner – May 2011 to be exact.  I think it’s time to create another list of things to do and get to work!

What do you want to do next?

Thin Is In The Clouds – Apple’s Market Innovation, Execution, and the MacBook Air

Steve Jobs holding a MacBook Air (at MacWorld ...

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Mark my words — The recently announced MacBook Air is going to be a game changer in ways that market analysts haven’t been speaking about.

We’ve all heard about cloud computing and the future being in the clouds, right?

Until the rise of cloud computing and resources, operating systems, utilities, etc. have been relegated to disc based delivery methods that have precluded innovation in technology hardware.  Laptop and Desktop manufacturers have been forced to restrain (or worse, refrain …) innovative prdouct development and launches because the delivery mechanism of software vendors was still in the proverbial dark ages of technology from the 1970’s.  If a manufacturer’s laptop or desktop didn’thave an optical drive then it couldn’t load software and be functional.

HP and Sony both introduced super slim, HD and SSD (solid-state drive) machines that lacked an optical drive in the early 2000’s.  (Great Article from Brooke Crothers here: ) These machines were bleeding edge technology that were expensive and lacked an install base potential market other than the early-innovators and early-adopters.  Cloud computing (whether Amazon’s Cloud or Red Hat or Rackspace, etc.) was in its infancy and software firms were wary of delivering their goods outside of traditional distribution methods like CD’s or DVD’s – thus the clund infastructure for software needed by the innovative HP and Sony hardware didn’t exist and the products were doomed for mass market failure.

5 years later …

Apple’s introduction of the Mac Air re-introduces the innovation to the marketplace and is priced for early-adopters and innovators once again.  Apple’s entry into this portion of the market fast tracks software manufacturers into the cloud (example:  Microsoft’s Office 2010 is available for download as the preferred method of sale and delivery) and sets the stage for deeper market penetration as the cloud infrastructure grows and a new service delivery model is adopted by leading software firms.  The fact that SaaS (Software as a Service) has been infiltrating the B2B market for well over a decade as a precursor solidifies the market adoption notion and readiness in the B2C or Consumer market.

Apple is not the innovator in this market.

In my opinion, Apple is the hands down, strategic execution leader in this market.  Apple let other manufacturer’s foot the R&D costs for this type of technology platform (via HP and Sony), waited for a B2C SaaS marketplace to exist (and created one virtually with the iPod and iTunes), and for economies of scale in manufacturing to lower SSD pricing to a level that would allow for mass market penetration. The iPad (entertainment and no keyboard) set the stage for B2C SaaS computing and the MacBook Air delivers the full experience (with keyboard).  Other manufacturers, including the market innovators like HP and Sony in 2004, are going to be in catch up mode for the next two years.

While Apple has superior innovation ability, the past decade has seen the company transition into a superior marketing execution strategy that was missing in the 1990’s.  It learned the hard way and nearly landed in bankruptcy by playing the innovation superiority card in the 1990’s and has found itself the darling of Wall Street and the envy of Fortune 500 Boardrooms and CEO’s by developing an execution strategy that had been delivered (near) flawlessly in the past decade.

QR Code Branding and Marketing – Say What?

Enabling consumers or candidates to actively engage with marketing collateral or messaging is the execution piece that many organizations completely miss.  A lot of time and money is spent developing social media strategy, marketing messages, and establishing or maintaining brand presence and awareness without thought to the opportunities to enable the sought after engagements!  Did you know that by 2012 or 2013, more mobile devices (phones, gaming devices, netbooks, ipads, etc.) will be sold than traditional PC’s?

While candidates and consumers will still be leveraging the Internet and will have access to marketing collateral on Search Engines, Facebook, Twitter, SEM, and PPC campaigns … the PLATFORM for engagement has fundamentally CHANGED.  Thus, the question … how are you executing your marketing strategy and enabling access to your content easily?  The secret is QR Codes.  QR codes galore!

Consumers and candidates can simply scan your QR code with their mobile devices and be taken to landing pages, social media sites, etc. – wherever your marketing campaigns or collateral resides.  And get this – you can track and measure everything.  What more could a marketer ask for?

Think of the possibilties from a personal branding perspective as well!  Rather than shooting resumes around via email or pointing people at specific URL’s like a LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, Blog site, etc. – you can centrally store all of your contact points, information, and background (or CV) collateral in a central location like Gravatar  and allow people to choose which channel they’d prefer to leverage to interact with you.  And all they have to do is scan your personal QR code.  Nifty, huh?

I’m Going To Tell You A Personal Branding Secret

“No matter what you did.  No matter who you are.  No matter where you’ve come from … You can always change … Become a better version of yourself.”   – Madonna

Change is a very difficult concept to practice effectively.  While organizational change in our professional lives is an almost constant occurrence, personal change continues to be astonishingly difficult to embrace in practice.

Change is more than switching things up “a bit”.  Change is more than being different from the norm.  Change is an ability to reflect upon the past …  right now … as an opportunity to influence your future.

I’ve been influenced professionally and personally via conversations and interactions in the past few years that would never have occurred without technology like social media.  Our paths are bound together as the distances that have separated all of us in the past become shorter and shorter through social media interactions on a global perspective. For example, personal branding is a global initiative because of Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Google, etc. Your reputation and influence extend further than IRL (in real life) because of technology.

Change is globalization – at both an organizational and a personal level.  We need to think much further than outside the box in order for change to be effective – what’s beyond the box?

The secret is quite simply – knowing that what we were is no longer what we are and taking advantage of the global opportunities that now exist to re-create ourselves …  as a professional organization, as a local networking group, or as an individual.

Cebu Pacific Airlines Does The Safety Dance

Cebu Pacific Airlines is getting a lot of attention via viral videos featuring their pre-flight safety presentations from crew members dancing along to Lady GaGa, Katy Perry and Men Without Hats.

The amount of marketing exposure as news channels, blogs, Facebook friends liking, and Twitter users retweeting is immeasurable.  Out of nowhere, a relatively unknown air carrier from SE Asia has gained brand awareness in markets (like the U.S.) that it doesn’t currently service.  They have instantly gained attention in an overcrowded advertising space that is too often full of “me too” spots focused on price points.

I don’t know about you – but an advertiser that focuses on an interesting and unique value proposition (like setting the tone for a fun flight experience via Cebu Pacific’s ads) instantly garners not only my attention – but the attention of an audience that is willing to try a new product or service based solely on differentiation of the experience associated with the brand. Cebu Pacific could expand into routes outside of the Philippines, China, etc. based solely on social media viral ads like this and be successful. Seriously!

Bonus Point #1: The fact that this attention is coming ahead of an IPO?  You can see the dollar signs getting ready to add up.

Bonus Point #2: The passengers are engaged for the entire safety presentation.  That doesn’t happen in the U.S. – ever.

If a U.S. airline embraced something DIFFERENT like this system wide it would be a game changer in the industry.  I’d love to see Delta Airlines or United Airlines or Southwest Airlines start having some fun again.  Check out the video:

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