Content marketing and recruitment – The recipe to success?

It’s been an interesting few months.

Five months ago I made a total industry shift. It’s been one I’ve been pretty keen to get stuck into – recruitment.

With no current marketing team, it was time to come up with a plan of action.

If I’m honest, when I set out I wasn’t sure where the industry was at when it came to content marketing in the recruitment sector. A few things became clear from the get-go.

A couple of guiding principles have been front of mind whilst considering how we should be using content:

  • The power has shifted.Gone are the days of top talent trying to get a recruiters’ attention. According to Ere.net, 83% of recruiters report that the power has shifted away from where it has been for years: the employer. In a candidate-driven marketplace, traditional recruiting approaches simply stop working.
  • Employer branding can help with recruiting efforts.56% of 4,125 global talent leaders in 31 countries surveyed for LinkedIn’s 2015 Global Recruiting Trends said they believe cultivating their employer brand is a top priority.
  • Content has a huge role to play.In order to stand out as an employer, companies will need to start posting more work culture related posts and leveraging their employees to share them. 58% of people are more likely to want to work at a company if they are using social media and over 20% are more likely to stay at their companies if they are using social media. People want to work for interesting companies and when they see interesting posts that gives them a better sense of what the company is about. The recruitment industry has a huge opportunity to take advantage, tell a story and get involved.
  • It never stops. Forbes recently reported that 86% of employees are already looking for work outside their current occupations and nearly one third of employers expert workers to job hop – there’s a continuous job search and content marketing needs to take a similar tack.

We’re quite lucky here at Salient in the profile of clients we get to work for – they’re pretty hot and they grow really fast. Naturally, they have awesome stories – but every brand does – you just have to know where to look for them.

Traditional recruitment marketing is still very short sighted – filling roles for now, which just doesn’t cut it for these guys who need to plan ahead and build pipelines of talent for next week, next month, next quarter. No more riff-raffing around scrambling to fill an ad.

These are the core areas I’m going to be focusing on over the coming months because I reckon they may just make or break content marketing in recruitment.

1. Know your pipelines

I wish I had time to write stories about all the brands we work with, touching on all the areas of the business –but I don’t.

Be focused with content efforts. Pick a couple of your key industries – in our case that’s SaaS and Digital. From there look at the job roles that are in high demand and short supply and tailor your campaigns by segmenting them in a similar way. It makes it one thousand times easier to work with Sales if you’re both working on the same funnels. It also gives you a better chance of conversion.

2. Find the right stories

Recruitment content doesn’t have to be around ‘how to build your career’. There’s a huge amount of content topics to be covered. Personally I’m really interested in telling and hearing the stories of the people that work inside a company. What were the expectations when you started? How do you feel about it 6 months on? What opportunities have you been given? What’s the stationery like!? (Ok maybe I’ll save the latter for my friends).

3. Give talent some breathing space

Top talent get calls and messages from recruiters on a daily basis. Many have become cynical about recruiters as a result. Be smart with your marketing, instead of asking if you can call back in 6 months to check in, why not ask them if they’re interested in signing up to your content and keeping up to date with the movers and shakers in their industry through some weekly stories from inside those brands? Use your smarts to pick up on any changes in behaviour, then sure it’s pretty reasonable to give have a recruiter call. They’ll be much more likely to communicate with you if you can be bang on point with the time you call. Make a guided decision.

4. Use the technology and make the experience easy

Whether you use a technology product or you have a savvy product use your technology then show it back to clients. Track all your analytics then feed them back to clients – they’ll be much more keen to do more content with you when they see it’s working.

Curated content would also fit in here. There are some pretty awesome products around, from Feedly to NewsCred (free to $3000+) – you can easily keep an eye on the content your clients are publishing themselves and re-purpose them with your own brand content to provide a nice balance of stories.

5. Play the long game

Starting a new career path is not the same as buying a television – there’s often anything from 1 month to 3 years between thinking about another job and actually leaving for one. But if you’ve been nurtured for months, reading stories and really buying into the values of a brand – chances are you’re more likely to go there.

I’m looking forward to checking back in a few months to see how the results are working in practice. If you’re working in recruitment, I’d love to hear about your plans..

Is this the hottest brand hitting Australia right now?

There aren’t many growth stories quite like Qualtrics.

In January 2010 they had 37 employees, by December 2013 there were 260 employees and now (Oct 2014) there are over 550 employees. They’re going through hyper-growth and there are no plans to slow down.

The Utah-based start-up, which produces cloud-based survey software, recently secured $150 million in venture capital. The new stream of funding has been allocated to product development and overseas expansion.

In addition to the HQ in Utah, last year saw expansion to Dublin; the office grew from 3 to 50 employees in a year – next year the aim is to be around the 100 mark.

They’re now about to take on the same mission is Sydney.

Bill McMurray is the man tasked with the job.

Starting out as just a team of just three renting out office space in the Sydney CBD.

However, that’s all going to change pretty quickly.

“I’m currently in the process of securing 8,000 sq ft of office space in Sydney. We’re unlike most organisations that taper at around the $100 million mark – Qualtrics is still going through rapid growth.

“We’re aiming to be over 50 employees in Australia within 12 months and then we’ll start building out local operations in key APJ countries.” Explained Bill.

But the team aren’t starting from scratch, deployment has been years in the making and they already have an impressive 250 active customers here in the region.

Bill explained how people have been at the core of the organisation’s success and are consistently provided opportunity at the same rate as business growth:

“It’s the people that have really driven this business. They’ve been tapping away and built up a great base before we even arrived. Opportunities are passed down to the people in the organisation, I’m a firm believer in promotion from within.”

Tim’s story

The man behind the mission…. And it’s not who you’d expect.

Tim Pales was a man with a plan. It started back when he had one year left of his course studying Chinese and Business at BYU. Like most students Tim took a part time job.

It was 2008 when Tim joined Qualtrics – as employee number 29. He’d be at school all day and on the phones all night. The night calling was a very deliberate decision for Tim “My interest was always APAC. I had lived and studied in Asia and coupling that experience with my focus on business in school it seemed like a good fit. Seeing how rapidly the economies in Asia were growing, I knew there would be good opportunities there.”

“We first focused on academics and we successfully managed to land pretty much all of the major universities in Australia and New Zealand.”

The last three years have been spent managing his own sales team whilst building business in Australia, without so much as an office space here.

With continued success year on year, it wasn’t long till Tim became a senior manager. The mission never faltered “The goal has always been to create a problem so we had to come here. It got to a point where (after pushing it for three years) there was enough of a customer base in APAC. The appetite was there, the time was now – it was time to go.”

Whilst excelling quota for both him and his team members, Tim and John developed a full business plan for launch here in Australia. Part of that plan – hire an exec: “Qualtrics needed executive leadership on the ground in Australia. I have been fortunate to manage teams but I wasn’t the guy to strategically launch Qualtrics here. I found myself in the unique position of helping our executive team hire my new boss.”

Sitting with the team of three in their temporary rented office in Sydney, you wouldn’t be mistaken for thinking you were chatting to a group of guys about to start their own business. Bill McMurray jokes “We see this as we’ve just started private school and have our parents financing – we’re all so interested in this region, it’s exciting to lead the launch here.”

Coming soon…. John’s story

This was John’s first role out of university. Like most he started in entry level sales 3 and a half years ago.

Over the course of the last 21 months he’s had 4 promotions.

How? The company has a really clear development path, it’s not based on politics or people leaving – it’s based purely on performance.

Every quarter you’re given a quota. Hit the quota of the level above you for 2 quarters, you get promoted. It’s that simple.

John played a big role in developing the business plan and now as part of the landing team, is a big part of leading the roll out in the region.

Article published on behalf of Salient Group, we connect great talent to fast growth brands. If you’re interesting in hearing more about brands like Qualtrics sign up here.

Facebook on a quest to revolutionize financial services marketing

With 12 million users in Australia, Facebook has developed into a core marketing platform to help organisations achieve their business objectives.

The organisation has been through a bit of a transformation of late, with the initial focus being the social networking customer experience – adding features to revolutionise the way we communicate and share with each other. Now though, the spotlight is well and truly on the business world, to leverage the wealth of information Facebook holds to drive efficiency and experience for financial services.

Here in Australia, Paul McCroy joined the Facebook team 12 months ago and his role as Head of Travel and Finance tasked him with the objective to build a team that can work closely with financial services to use Facebook. Paul explains: “It started with the team we created. We’ve hired a group of people to really understand the problems industry is faced with; we have people who worked in finance now working for us. It’s a constant focus to understand the problems faced by industry and build our Facebook platform to solve those problems. From there we want to work closely with financial services here in Australia to help them use Facebook in the best way possible.”

Whilst some of the big four were initially sceptical about the potential threat of Facebook in the financial services arena, the social networking giant has insisted they want to grow new users and enhance experience, rather than create banking services of its own.

Mobile

There’s a huge focus on mobile and it’s clear to see why. Digital advertising overtook traditional advertising for the first time last year, drive mainly by the onset of mobile. With 10 million active daily users and 85 per cent accessing via mobile devices – it’s easy to see where the potential lies for many a marketing team. Paul explains:

“Digital has overtaken television and mobile is the new upstart. Facebook became a mobile first business two years ago, transforming from desktop. Here in Australia, there’s a higher mobile percentage than any other developed country. Facebook represents an opportunity to take advantage of the fact that more people are consuming media on mobile phones.”

It’s this drive to mobile that’s seen a surge in app development over recent years, with the finance industry among the top performers for app engagement, providing customers with ease of access like never before. But with many banks allocating huge resources to develop their own assets, is there really any need to tap into the Facebook pool? Paul explained where the potential lies:

“One of the immediate benefits is the opportunity to capitalise on the trend. Mobile Banking was developed to service the customers where they are. It is also the most cost efficient way to service customers and has been quoted by Mckinsey as 1/8 the cost of servicing via the call centre.

“One in every five minutes on a mobile phone is spent on Facebook properties. When you want to speak to people who are on a phone, Facebook is where you should go. Our biggest growth area is banks taking their apps to our platform and promoting their advert in front of their customers. Customers then go and install that app unit. In terms of results, we’re the most cost effective for getting apps installed – 30 to 40 per cent of app installs come from Facebook.”

“Phase two is where the banks have people with the app installed, but they’re not necessarily engaged. We have developed a tool that helps with app engagement. Essentially, once it’s installed, you continuously re-engage them so that they use it as a utility. By them frequently engaging on the app, it takes the pressure off the contact centre and service channels, so the overall experience has been a success.”

Easing data concerns

There are some real alarm bells that often get triggered thanks to some serious spotlight on large data companies like Facebook and Google. Naturally an integrated banking service would lead to some data concerns, an area Paul insists is at the core of that they do:

“We don’t give anybody data. We have 12 million Australian users who do a lot of things on our platform. What we do is provide a targeting interface to enable advertisements to people that fit their interest behaviour. That data is never given back to an advertiser, it stays with us. Our primary goal is privacy. We’re one of the largest data companies the world has and will ever see. Everything we do is about keeping our site secure. It works well with banks, as it’s exactly the same as what they do. Whilst some people see data as a problem, we see it as a really nice fit.”

 Driving experience and efficiency

The team at Facebook are already seeing results creating unique experiences by targeting the right people, with the right content, on the right platform.

“When it’s done well, the conversions are huge. There are key challenges facing industry right now – efficiency, scalability and profitability.

We know certain media channels are becoming more expensive, every company in the world wants to achieve their goals in a more efficient manner. Where in the world is there more scale and engagement than Facebook? Our users are very engaged and it’s a huge opportunity to reach your customers and prospects at scale.”

Paul will be speaking at Digital Financial Services 2014: “I want to impart some of that knowledge to the audience and provide real life examples. A big thing we want to bring is what we see trending and how we can work with you to capitalise on some of those trends. We’ll also take a look at what we’re developing in the future.”

Visit www.digitalfinancialservices.com.au or follow @digifinance for more information on the event.

View the full interview with Paul here: http://youtu.be/t196-WP4_8U

Employee engagement: One simple idea… One mighty impact.

Customer Experience is a term that’s become very familiar to me recently. Pretty much all of the events I work across have a customer element to them, so I was interested to see what Customer Experience Management 2014 was going to offer up.

We’re part way through day one, and it’s pretty exciting down here. When I first got down here, I was expecting to hear a whole heap of the usual buzzwords; centricity, digital, journey and so on.

There’s always been one element of CX which stood out as a challenge, and that’s change. With the world we’re in now, it’s inevitable. As one of our speakers said earlier: ‘It’s not about what we did last year anymore, it’s not even last month – change is a daily constant’. For that reason, the spotlight is well and truly on employee engagement. After all, they are the ones driving change within any business.

Without making any sweeping statements, and probably unfair ones, there’s a lot of ‘same-same’ CX talk around the web these days. But today I was stopped in my same-same thinking tracks by a simple idea that lit up the entire room.

And it’s called A Personal Board.

So what is it? Quite simply, the notion that every single employee, upon recruitment, builds their own personal board of directors across the business. It’s an idea that comes from eBay, where every member of staff is tasked with the challenge of looking across the business – all levels and in all countries – to find a role they’d be interested in knowing about. They then pick up the phone and ask the person to be involved in their informal board. This helps with a few things:

  • Keeps employees engaged
  • Breaks down silos within the organisation
  • Drives innovation
  • Builds a network
  • Encourages communication
  • Helps drive change

So what does it take?

The smart thing that eBay has done is demonstrate the importance of the project to every single employee. People have a job to teach, but there’s no reason why you can’t start to do the same. It’s an informal process and only takes one person to drive it. Begin with your new starters and watch it spread.

I don’t know about you, but I love the thought of checking in with a few people across the business worldwide to get their thoughts or hear about their priorities.

P.S – if you haven’t been down to CEM 2014…. you should. They have mini-golf and everything.

Low cost marketing innovation – 4 essentials to success

It’s tough to be a marketer. It’s hard to allocate cash for innovation, but at the same time rapid consumer behaviour changes and increased competition make it a bit tricky to stand out.

All is not lost. We can once again get our creative juices flowing without breaking the bank (sorry…). I recently took a look at the world of Financial Services and it’s safe to say a few obstacles need to be overcome; the allure of the non-banks and a heck of a lot of expectation from the customer.

With that in mind I recently caught up with Simon Clarke, Head of Online Banking Suncorp.

Simon and the team have a clear focus: “We’re delivering our new core banking capability. It is a major strategic initiative for us and will enable a new generation of customer experience through our simpler and more agile platform.”

“At more of a group level, we are constantly looking at ways we can improve the customer experience across our key areas of banking, life and insurance. We want to ensure that customers have a consistent experience no matter what product they have and touch point they engage us from.”

The team have a smaller budget than the major banks, encouraging (sometimes forcing) Suncorp to think outside the box to build and optimise customer experience. This approach can often far outweigh consultation and reading through insight all day.

So how exactly are they doing this? Here’s Simon’s recipe to success:

Sweat the small stuff

“Post GFC, innovation has been always associated with research and development. But in more recent times, people and customers have come to realise that innovation isn’t always about the newest technology or gadget. It’s often just tapping away to remove a step or part of a process.

“We often find in banking that we build, design, rebuild and redesign technologies very quickly due to tech improvements and resilience. But we often neglect to review the process which the technology facilitates. That often leads to a slick looking application underpinned by a very long, frustrating seven-step process to do something that should only take two.

“We have a goal in which we constantly go through customer journey maps and ask: ‘Does that need to be there? Is it just because it’s always been there?’ As we optimise our websites, online banking platforms and mobile channels, we have the opportunity to challenge and improve the process. We also blend with user experience design so every word, click or tap culminates in a simple, easy to use engagement.”

What to do today: Innovate incrementally. Start with a small pain point with your product, system or process. Pull it apart and put it back together 2% at a time. Overtime, these 2% add to 20% very quickly and culminates in achieving high customer satisfaction at low cost and risk.

Mix it up

“We often find it amusing the costs that come out of delivering innovative technology or simply keeping up with customer demand. All of our banking platforms are designed and built in-house.

“This allows for very tight ‘product teams’ to form with a mix of business and IT people to take a challenge, sketch it, design it, user-test it, build it, secure it and get it out the door within a few days. We have feedback forms that are monitored and answered by product owners so every idea, complaint or comment goes straight to the person who can make a decision and execute on that idea or fix that problem.”

What to do today: Speak constantly to your team to understand roadblocks and attack them one by one to form a lean, effective team. Take the time to also listen to your customers. They should influence and be a part of your strategy and execution, not just an end user.

Look past the fancy reports

“From a design and UX perspective, again we use the same tools that a small business might to perform UI online tests, surveys and lab tests using basic video conference equipment.

“Some of these tools can cost $150 to run and the feedback and insight we get is amazing compared to a $10,000 report. We love using these ‘guerrilla tactics’. From an execution side, it allows us to try a lot of new things and if some don’t hit the mark, there isn’t a swollen budget sitting at the other end.”

What to do today: If you need insight, there’s plenty of it out there for free. Form an idea, build it out with creative and knowledgably colleagues and put it to the test. Learn fast and do it cheap. If the idea doesn’t hit the mark, gather your learnings and put it towards your next opportunity.

Persist

“Having a ‘fail fast and learn’ culture can be difficult to achieve and persist. But with the right attitude, enthusiasm and decision-making capability, we can strive to build the easiest-to-use websites and online banking platforms and see the effects through direct feedback.

“I think the biggest challenge is building the right culture and acknowledging that innovation doesn’t need to be cutting edge development. Simple touches each day accumulate to building an innovative model that customers can appreciate each time they engage us.”

What to do today: Build a safe working environment that allows your staff to thrive in generating and testing ideas. Isolate risk adversity so that it is managed but not impacting your ability to innovate and drive user experience.

Join Simon at Digital Financial Services 2014, he’ll be delivering the Case Study ‘Banking Channels at Speed through Lean Innovation’.  Visit www.digitalfinancialservices.com.au or tweet @digifinance

Do NSW have the contact centre of the future?

Over 1,231,000 online visits since launch.

More than 356,000 calls to contact centres.

731,000 customers served.

All in less than a year since launch…

Service NSW is definitely taking off. The question is; how do you cope with this exponential increase in demand whilst keeping customers ‘delighted’? Well, with a 99 per cent contact centre customer satisfaction rate – we might just have the answer.

The organisation is pretty unique, launching in July 2013 and integrating three service delivery channels – a dedicated web portal, customer contact call centres, and shop-front services. This integration delivers the benefits of internet, cloud, mobile communications and customer relationship management platforms.

I recently caught up with Jody Grima, Director, Contact Centres, Service NSW to get the insight. She explains:

“We’re growing, and our numbers are rapidly increasing. After almost 12 months’ implementation, we’re still delighting customers, which is something that’s always a risk when you’ve got a new service. Does our culture pertain? Well it is, and that’s something that’s really exciting for us.”

Employee engagement

“Our vision is to be a leader in the delivery of customer service not only within government, but also within industry. A leader in customer experience and a leader in the provision of service. That ties in with our employee engagement ambitions, to be ranked in the top quartile.

“At Service New South Wales, the two go hand in hand. In order to deliver outstanding customer experience, you also need to actively engage and have a very happy workforce. That’s a key element to our vision and culture. Invest in your people and you get the outcome of a great customer experience.

“Being a new organisation, we recruited staff afresh. Nearly 60 per cent came from other government agencies, with 40 per cent coming from outside government. We’ve got a real mix of new staff to service New South Wales.

The focus in our training is on emotional intelligence – really looking at the soft skills and complementing that with the technical training.”

Continuing to meet the needs of the customer

“Customer feedback is extremely important to us, so we’re tracking that via CSAT (customer satisfaction scores), which is by a question asked within the contact centre at the end of each call.

“Since the launch, we have continued to modify and enhance the way our service is being designed. This feedback draws on market research, and what end users expect of the service.”

Call centre staff are using Salesforce information management tools. The cloud-based CRM capability helps track and manage customer profiles and tackle the most common enquiries. It enables staff to draw on a previous history, utilise a consolidated database, anticipate questions, increase first call resolutions and respond more promptly.

“We are continuing to build our knowledge base about questions that are routinely asked, and being able to answer these at the outset.

“We have what we call self-service customer feedback zones in the service centres. There’s immediate feedback going through in our physical shop fronts. We also have a feedback mechanism on our web page as well – a significant part of whether we’re achieving our goals or not.

“The other way we’re doing that is tracking against service levels and outcomes. Service New South Wales has a mandate, the Service New South Wales DNA. We’re continually reviewing our performance against those success factors and progressing exceptionally well. As we succeed, we can then continue to grow the service.”

“At the time of writing this, the contact centre had an average answer time of just 29 seconds. The challenge now is to pre-empt the demand. Since going live, customers have embraced the service much faster than expected.”

Up to 8,000 telephone numbers are being used to access information. The NSW government seeks to cut back on these enquiry landlines whilst saving on the cost of running many telephone systems.

During the Government Contact Centre Summit 2014, Customer Service Commissioner Michael Pratt will talk through the Service New South Wales journey – from creation, success, lessons and the culture change and vision for the coming years.

9 Tips for Transitioning to Customer Self Service

Guest post from Ross Clayton for the Government Contact Centre Summit 2014

Customer self-service is the obvious solution for government contact centres looking to preserve their operating budgets.

Not only does it keep low value, high volume transactions out of the contact centre, it also improves your customer experience by offering them a simple, fast and easy way to get the information that they need.

To help you on your journey, here are nine key things to consider when moving to self-service:

  1. Decide on your channel strategy – with a new social media channel appearing every minute, you can’t be everywhere. Instead, map out your target demographics and the channels they frequent, and tailor your efforts accordingly.
  1. Bring your customers with you – spending time and money on developing a new communication channel will be a fruitless endeavour unless your customers use it. Tell them about it in person, over the phone and any other way you can.
  1. Make it simple stupid – if your self-service channel is more complicated than doing it over the phone, it will go the way of the dinosaurs. Keep the interface simple and reduce the burden of effort on behalf of your customers.
  1. Don’t reinvent the wheel – You are not the first government agency to move to self-service, and you certainly won’t be the last. Draw on the lessons learned by your peers like ServiceNSW at home and the UK’s Digital by Default strategy abroad.
  1. The left hand should know what the right hand is doing – Integrate your self-service channels with the rest of your organisation. If someone is half way through a form online, you should know about it when they call you.
  1. Sing from the same hymn sheet – Consistency of message.The information on your website should be the same as that available on the phone. If your customers consider the phone channel the source of truth, you can guarantee they will continue to use it as their first port of call.
  1. Create a feedback loop – If customers often call the contact centre due to a similar issue or error, ensure that this is fed back into self-service design. That way problems can be addressed at source, and interactions can be resolved online rather than on the phone, saving time and money for all concerned.
  1. Don’t let fear of the unknown hold you back – Often we see Contact Centre Managers shying away from newer channels, particularly social media, as they are more fearful of what might go wrong than the potential upside.
  1. Up skill your staff – Contact centres have come a long way from the call centres of yesterday. A modern customer service agent needs to be savvy across multiple channels. Ensure that you give them the tools they need to do the job.